Friday, January 22, 2010

Hello Everyone!!
I finally get a chance to blog for myself. We are in HongKong for a few days to get a work visa. That went pretty smoothly. That is about the only thing that did. China Southern flight CZ3452: Your Chicken is poison!!!
I had food poisoning the first full day here and could barely function. Frank finally had pity on me when I fell asleep in the Starbucks and took me back to the friend's house. A friend of a friend lovingly opened her apartment and more importantly for me, her one bathroom. I am deeply grateful. We have our visas and will probably head home tomorrow. I went crazy and ate steak for lunch after not being able to hold water yesterday. Before you yell at me, it was OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE steak, ok? What would YOU have done, uh huh, that's what I thought! I am sitting in the Mcdonalds waiting to see if I made a serious error and watching a lady eat a big mac and fries with chopsticks. We both tried to get pics without her noticing which meant not using flash so the pics are a little blurry but we will post them anyway when we get the chance. This wifi will not let me upload anything. Hope everyone is doing well and thank you so much for keeping up with us. Love you all!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010


In order to get a work visa or a spouse visa you are required to have a physical. It does not matter that you spent good money in your home country to have one done, it must be performed by a certain clinic in the city you are applying to work in. So, Monday, I set off to find this clinic. A 40Y taxi ride later, I discovered the bus that could have saved me 39Y and only added a few extra minutes. How did I find it? The taxi driver kindly told me at the end of the ride, as I was paying, that there was no need to spend 40Y when there was a bus station nearby. Thank You! The building was practically empty. I registered with a copy of my passport, then went to the other side of the room and paid, then back to the first side. Basically, I had a list of tests and they were each in a separate room or on the second floor. I went room to room very quickly and in less than an hour I was out. Here are some of the tests they ran:

ECG: shoes off, expose your ankles, shirt up to expose your heart, lay back and relax. Two sets of what looked very much like jumper cables are clipped on both ankles and both wrists. Little metal suction cups with rubber balls on the top,(sort of like the ones Prince Humperdink had stuck to Wesley to suck his life away, only smaller) are stuck around the heart. I just knew I had been tricked and was about to receive shock therapy. I waited for the jolt that never came and it was all over. Jumper cables hung back on the nail in the wall. A stamp on my paper and next door please.

X-Ray: Fully clothed minus jacket. No shield. The doctor grunted and pointed to a little room. I walked in, put my feet on the footprints, click, done. Another grunt and a stamp. Next door please.

Ultrasound: Yep, ultrasound. A lot of jelly and trouble finding something, my lungs? I promise, they are in there. “Gut in, Gut out, roll over, don’t put your shoes on the bed!” “Stick out your stomach, I can’t find your liver” My liver? She said it had fat on it. Thanks, great self-esteem booster. Even your liver is fat! Clean up with fake paper towels that fall apart in your hand, another stamp. Next door. No please.

Eye test: Hold the wooden spoon over your eye and read the line. How do you read it if you don’t know the character? They use one symbol, basically a large E, turned four directions and you just say up, down, left or right. I passed with flying colors.

Blood test: Pretty basic. Put your arm through the little window in the wall, they stick you, draw what they need then put a q-tip on it and say, “hold it”. What, you couldn’t spring for a band-aid?

Urine Test: They hand you a very small, very flimsy plastic cup with no handle and no lid and point you down the hall to a dirty, wet, Chinese bathroom with three stalls. No toilet paper of course. You know how hard it is to pee in a cup on a western toilet with a seat cover and toilet paper in reach? Imagine squatting four inches from a pure filth hole balancing with one less hand because you have to hold the tiny cup, and somehow reaching the toilet paper in your pocket, all without falling. Yeah, it was like that. Then you just walk the open cup back to the counter and hand it over, then run back and wash your hands. Surprisingly, there was soap.

All in all, it was much better than I was expecting. I had heard horror stories about being forced to walk around in tiny gowns that don’t fit and being poked and prodded while all the other patients looked on. I was so relieved. The results came back yesterday and all is well. I am normal. The whole thing cost me 326Y, about $47. American doctors need to lighten up. Who needs all those clean rooms and lidded urine cups?



As I write this, it has just turned 2010 in America. I was on Skype earlier in a back to the future episode. 2009 there, 2010 here. Strange. Anyway, a new year with new goals and I haven’t even caught you up on the past month. Frank’s health is better, thank goodness. I have been dealing with congestion lately, probably from the increase in pollution in our city due to road and building construction. It is as if the entire city is being torn down and rebuilt before our eyes. One day a building is there, the next day gone and the next day a new one in its place! There is a new apartment complex going up around the corner from us, 40 stories high! The best thing about it is on the ground floor, a large supermarket, Carrefour, which should open sometime this year. There aren’t any very close by except Beelzebub’s Walmart which is only 10min by bike but I hate it, so I am really looking forward to the grand opening. I saved up my money and now I have a real bike!!! Yeah!!! Did I mention I hate riding bikes? MY BUTT HURTS! Frank just rolls his eyes at me because I complained so long about not having a reliable ride and how long it is on the buses and now that I have my bike, I complain about how much it hurts and that I hate it. He hates walking, I can walk anywhere any time. I hate bike riding, he can go all day. We are perfect for each other! I went for a girls day out last week and for the first time, got my nails painted, not like a solid color, I mean painted. Check out the pics. For 10Y or a little over a dollar, they will hand paint flowers on your nails. Mine had nine different layers of color and took almost an hour. So far it has lasted too. I told her, whatever you do, please don’t make it pink, I want dark colors, red or purple. I ended up with big pink flowers with some purple streaks, and GLITTER!!!. What have you done to me????!!! The first few days, I didn’t recognize my own hands! I don’t plan on it becoming a habit but it was nice to be with the girls and spoil myself just a little.