When I Hate Getting Sick

Becoming sick is one thing that I hate in China. You can’t just simply head to the chemist, grab some medication and go..or if you need to.. see your local doctor. It’s just not easy at all!

Nearly two weeks ago I came down with a terrible cough which hasn’t gone away. It has slowly been getting better, but I know I’m going to have it for another little while yet. I’m not sure how I got it, but I think it was when we decided to walk up to our apartment on the 11th floor instead of taking the elevator…you know… to try and get fit. I think I walked up them a bit too quickly, because since then I’ve had this cough.

I thought ‘it’ll be gone in a day or two’… wrong… a week later I still had it, waking up at night having coughing fits. By the end of the week I was literally fed up of it! So then to make matters worse.. on Sunday I got a cold. So for the past few days I really felt awful. Every time I talked I would need to cough a lot… so, I really didn’t need that cold on top of the cough too!

I’ve even missed a few days off from Uni plus one day of work I was that bad… but thankfully since Wednesday there has been a big improvement. My boyfriend went with a Chinese work colleague to a chemist and bought 3 boxes of medication… so in all I had to take 19 tablets a day!!! 19!!! I really felt that number was a little drastic… but they must have worked so that’s all I care about.

I’m really reluctant to go to a doctors here in China… unless you speak Chinese, you really need someone to take you. They are also known to hook you up to IV drips even for the simplest of ailments…

Even though there are English speaking doctors in clinics for foreigners here, they are a huge rip-off! They charge you loads of money just for the advantage that they can speak English.

Another home comfort is knowing that whatever medicine to take…you know exactly what it says on the box… here however, I had no idea what the hell I’m taking… an oral solution, 5 of the same pills, then another 2 pills… with no idea of what any of them do. Being handed 3 boxes…it’s like… ‘Well we’ll give you these 3 types… if one of them doesn’t work the other two might’ kind of attitude.

 They were pretty cheap though, about 10euro for the 3. I know it’s easy to blame the pollution here, but I’ve been here nearly 3 years already and this is the first time ever that I’ve gotten this cough. So I think it was some bacteria I picked up or something. I know I’m going to have this cough for another few weeks, but at least that’s the only thing I’ll have!

And my boyfriend is also very happy that I am getting better; he’s finished being a carer to me!



When The Heavens Poured Down

During these few weeks, the weather in Chengdu has been gearing up for the Summer, so that means unpredictable weather. This week, it certainly has been unpredictable!

A few nights ago I was woken up by a huge rumble of thunder…. In Ireland, it’s quite rather rare to have thunder and lightning….so that means I’m definitely not used to it! So when it occurs in Chengdu…let’s just say I’m just a little scared!

So when I woke up, unsurprisingly I was quite frightened. The lightening was illuminating the room… and not just one flash… this lightning happened every 5 seconds! Then all of a sudden I hear a big ‘CCRRRAACCKKK!!!’ and thats when I hid under the covers, afraid to look out my window. This was then followed by a huge roar of thunder. However this didn’t disturb my boyfriend; he just said ‘It’s only thunder and lightning’. Only???!! I’m here thinking all sorts; what if it hits my building, my window?! What if I look outside and the lightning blinds me?!

I’ve never been afraid of a bit of thunder/lightning before..when it would happen at home I would excitedly think ‘Oh wow!!’… Now…. not so much. I suppose here it’s much louder and it happens more often. I’m just not used to it.

But anyway I survived that night.

So, another day passed and we were finished work. We had just collected my boyfriends spicy potatoes and my Chinese fried jiaozis (for dinner)… when I felt a few drops of rain. We instinctively drove faster on the e-bike, eager to get home… when all of a sudden lightning and thunder occurred, and with that… a huge torrent of rain started to fall! Within 5 seconds we were drenched; us having to stop the e-bike, grab out a poncho and put that on as fast as we could. I however forgot to bring mine… and of course my boyfriends was only made for one person, so I had to resort to putting the back piece of it over my head.


An e-bike poncho

As you can imagine, my head was dry… but my legs, feet,arms and the bag on my back were soaked… although my jiaozi’s, having them tucked between myself and Rafa, were completely dry thankfully!

And being on the e-bike and not being able to see… such a weird experience! Because the poncho was over my head, I had to constantly look to the ground, so for the majority of the ride home all I saw were huge puddles of water.

Plus, on the road home we encountered an accident on the way… so we had to turn around and make a longer detour.. by this stage I had started eating my jiaozi’s. My thought was ‘Well we won’t be home for another 15 minutes at least, I may as well start eating!’

Finally, we made it home..cold and soaked…and the thing that kept nagging me…..

‘I really shouldn’t have forgotten my poncho……..’

I definitely learned my lesson!



Fed up with Sichuan food

These past few weeks both myself and my boyfriend have slowly been loosing our interest in Sichuan food. I’m not sure how it kind of started… just lately, when I think of spicy food I automatically think ‘Aw no, not today.’

Since coming to Chengdu, I’ve loved the food here; the spiciness and numbness, it’s very different from Irish food… haha the only time we would eat something spicy is if my Mum accidentally bought the wrong curry sauce! So I’ve grown up eating food which is nothing remotely like Sichuan food.

I’m guessing maybe my lack of interest is due to the weather warming up… when the temperature is in the late 20’s; the last thing you want is something like Hot Pot, which can be very spicy and hot.

Recently we’ve been moving away from the spicy dishes, and eating food which originate from other provinces. We have also ended up going to a Western restaurant more often called ‘Peter’s Tex-Mex’. A Texas/Mexican restaurant where they serve fajitas, burgers, salads… so not a hint of Chinese food! Of course this is way more expensive that Asian restaurants, but sometimes you just need a change.

So last week when we finished Uni for the day, we cycled to a Peters nearby. It was such a good/sunny day we decided a bike ride would be nice. The restaurant has ok food, not amazing… but my boyfriend has fallen in love with their salads. It’s not spicy…it’s not hot… so it’s a welcome change!

I do hope that this pickiness will change though… but I do miss my Irish food (as always),  and especially garlic chips with cheese that we used to get from our local take-away chip shop. If only Chengdu would do a take-away chip shop… the locals wouldn’t really know what to make of it, but I’m sure us Westerners would love it! Although I do know they would charge us a fortune just for a bag of chips…..

Unfortunately you have to pay the price for the comfort of home sometimes.






And Suddenly It’s May

Without a doubt, time is flying by. It is May already! Only 8 more weeks of semester 3 and then I’m finished again for the holidays. I’m beginning to dislike holiday time; many students cancel during this time, meaning no wage coming in. Also, no more Mon-Thur of Chinese lesson. I suppose I kind of like having a routine; so when summer comes you need to sort of set up a new routine!  In my opinion, holiday time is sometimes quite boring. Especially if you don’t have plans to travel.

Thankfully we seem to be busy during the summer… I just have to try and save as much money as possible now. And also try and cram as much Mandarin in as possible before I forget it all during Summer.

During our holiday breaks, I always miss studying; it’s the main reason I’m here. So when I’m not at Uni, I feel like I’m wasting my days away. For me, a classroom setting is how I learn. I know other people who are more suited to studying by myself, but I myself need classroom based learning.

We’ve been slowly moving up the levels in our Uni, but next semester I think we will move up to Level 5, instead of going to Level 4. In our Uni there are 10 levels, so I feel we are moving way to slowly. Unfortunately our school only does 1 book per semester, whereas I know other schools that teach 2 books per semester. Although I am sure If I had to study 2, I think It would be much more difficult to grasp the vocab/grammar. So although we only study 1, at least we know that we should understand the learning content.

Having been in 3 levels in the Uni, I think my favourite class was Level 2. In level 1, everything was new to me, making new friends, studying at the Uni… actually beginning to learn Chinese. Although I did meet friends that we still meet up with and hang out so!

In Level 2, we were kind of like a family; everyone joked with each other, it wasn’t such a big class, and we generally got on with one another really well.We all wanted everyone to do well in the class! We all clapped after someone had to talk for a bit in Chinese; an actually sincere clap to say ‘Well Done!’

In Level 3, I hate to say it, but there are a lot of ‘dry’ people in our class. There are not as many jokes as before, it’s more serious, and I get the feeling that people are competing more with one another. Plus, the class is way too big so that doesn’t help. Our teacher tried to split us into two groups, but unfortunately no one wanted to have class after lunch, so that went out the window. So in this class, after someone has said something and we clap, it’s kind of like ‘We don’t really care what you said, we have to clap.’

But oh well, I still enjoy the class and I’m learning a lot!