I hate being sick….

I think being sick is one of the most hardest and challenging times when your living abroad. Last Friday night, I was hit down with one of the most painful stomach cramps ever. Since that night until, well last night (Wednesday night), it had continued. Thankfully it seems to have gone now, with food poisoning being at the top of my accusation list. When I feel bad, I self-diagnose… and the symptoms that I had (vomiting and stomach cramps) where there. Living in China also added to this conclusion, as many restaurants here have completely different views on hygiene compared to Western countries.  If you’re going to  visit China, you’re gonna be shocked at the state of some of the restaurants.

I even had to call in sick to work, TWICE! And that is rare for me. I would rather go in, see how I am, then go home. With me, the pain would be there constant all night, starting from around 9pm until morning, where it would gradually ease off. At 3pm in the day, I’m totally fine, nothing wrong with me at all… until 9pm comes once more… It was a vicious circle.

The past two nights have been different though. I bought a hot water bottle from Walmart (they are totally different to the ones at home. These aren’t rubber, meaning they get cold in like 1 hour and a half) and that helped the pain, which was gradually easing. Yet during the day, there would be a mild pain in my stomach and feeling nauseous. It was so strange.

Two of the Chinese teachers from the campus brought me to a chemist and got me tablets, where I have to take 6 a day! I have just about managed 4 a day.

Two other teachers in the campus also had stomach cramps and were feeling unwell… could it be an air-born thing? I have no idea. So on Saturday, because I called in sick, my Chinese friend made a surprise visit to see me, bringing long lasting milk (the milk is actually from ASDA), bread, apples, kumquats (very small oranges), honey (it’s good for your health, he stated)  and 3 baozi buns (steamed buns). I love baozi buns, especially the ones with the red bean paste filling. He showed me how to make them… simply by steaming them over boiling water in a wok. Now I know how to make them when my visitors from Ireland come to see me. Now that’s a BIG hint to some of my readers…I’m here for a year…. come visit me!

Anyway…so yesterday, he came over again and set up the wifi for me. I have absolutely no idea how technology works, and I have bad luck with it, so I let him set it up. Oh and the lack of Chinese would make it impossible for me to set it up anyway.  After a number of phone-calls to the internet company, it was set up. It is GREAT. He also ordered bed covers for my bed, so now my life is complete. No more freezing out in the sitting room on the computer… I can now relax in my lovely bedroom with a nice quilt-cover.

Compared to starting off in my internship, that was a piece of cake. This time round, there has been more hurdles. From my Chinese visa problems even before I LEFT Ireland, my visa card getting blocked and having no money, and getting sick, it’s not been plain sailing. But, I’d rather them happen now, than when I was first on the internship. If all this happened to me the first time I came to China, I think I would have been more stressed out.

This time round, I’m more accustomed to the environment, I know what to expect and how to deal with it. And I know I have people here to help me when I need them.

But I PRAY to my angels I don’t get sick again… I have no one to bring me tea in bed. 😦

Aisling.

We’re off to see the Pandas.

With only like 4 weeks until I am finished, my PARCEL finally arrived! It has taken over one month, where it has been sent BACK to Ireland from London, it didn’t even reach China. So my Mum had to send it again, arriving on Wednesday. She has stuffed it full of sweets, Tayto crisps, Pringles, tea, coffee, tights, soups, clothes to last me forever, pyjamas (one of the best things she put in it), pasta, hair bands, pop socks, make-up remover wipes (very useful) and of course, a Christmas jumper with a reindeer on it…and a Christmas Pudding! Ha I was shocked to see a Christmas pudding of all things in it. Some of the more random things she put in it is about 20 chicken stock cubes and about 3 full tubes of tomato puree.  To my surprise, Mum made a little parcel for my room-mate too! While I wasn’t in great form during this week, my parcel really lifted my spirit. Thanks Mum! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The job I had to get it from the office to my apartment was a struggle. That day I decided to wear high heels, so after work I had to carry the HUGE box, in the dark to my apartment. My arms are still aching from carrying it! So the next night me and Charlotte decided to make pasta with our tomato sauce. We cheated a bit, where we went down the street and picked up some mushrooms, veg, chicken from a food vendor. They cook their food on their own home-made ‘cooking area’ on a sort of Tuk-Tuk bike. We usually stick to one man because we know he has nice food. We selected our food then he cooks it for us. We headed back to the apartment where we enjoyed our lovely tomato pasta  and veg dinner! It was so nice to have something different.

On Friday night, we had our weekly movie night in my Chinese friends apartment. In advance, we tell him what films are good so he can download them for us. I chose ‘Seven’ with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. I have seen this movie several times I think it’s great. Neither of the other 2 had seen it so I thought it would be a good choice. Another good film is ‘The Bone Collector’ so we might watch that another time. We plan on watching a Christmas movie at Christmas so I’m looking forward to that!

Yesterday we decided to hit the Pandas! Typical, the weather wasn’t good and it was raining, meaning the Pandas would be kept inside because of the rain. It stopped though as we arrived, meaning all them were out. They have the life! Lounging about, pretty much sleeping and eating, maybe climbing a few trees if they’re feeling adventurous.  We also saw the baby pandas, asleep inside. They are like big balls of fur. Their so cute, or as my Chinese friend said ‘they are sweet’. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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After the Pandas, we got dinner. We were all starving at this stage. We got a typical Sichuan dish called mao cai. There are shelves full of food where you pick what you want. We picked meat, veg, shrimp dumplings, tofu, lotus, mushrooms, beansprouts, potato and pumpkin. They then cook the food for you, and give it to you in a large bowl full of spices. It is similar to Hot Pot. Usually mao cai is served individually, where each person would get their own bowl with what they picked, but because we were such a large group, we got 3 large bowls of food to eat together. I love this dish and the food is really spicy.

With our belly’s full, it was then KTV time. 2 of the Belgiums decided to head back to the college, so there were 7 of us that went to it. I have never been to this one before. There was a large selection of music and the sound system was a lot better than the previous one we went to. We stayed there was about 3 hours, leaving at 10:30pm. It was too late to get the subway back because it was closed, so we had to try and flag a taxi to take 5 people back to the college, which was about 1 hour away. Although it was difficult, as they don’t usually take 5 people in a taxi, we managed to get one. I was squished in the back with the 3 Chinese fellas, but the time went fast, teaching me Chinese phrases…ha and laughing when I said it wrong.Chinese is too hard!

Another enjoyable weekend had!

Aisling

Stir-fry Anyone?

Oh yes, I forgot to mention my stir-fry experiment. My Sweet and Sour stir-fry was a complete success! Now I did end up chucking my bowl (plastic by the way)  into the extremely hot wok by accident, along with the raw chicken still IN the bowl. Instead of my instincts kicking in, which would be to quickly grab the bowl, I decided to do a hysteric dance thinking ‘oh s***t!!’ while the plastic sizzled away in the wok, the chicken casually lying in the bowl taking it easy. I literally thought it was going to go on fire… but I managed to  grab the bowl out and I just dumped my chicken in, I was far too distraught/annoyed to care anymore.  The underside of the bowl (newly  christened ‘chicken-bowl’) now has a new white hue to remind me of the incident.

In my first post I stated ‘I hope I don’t burn a hole through the wok’…. how nearly right I was. Nevertheless, it was actually lovely (after all that). I’m now content knowing that I can actually cook something when I go to  China… or I might just check out a food vendor to be safe.