This morning I again woke up at 5 and I again woke up with a headache. I didn't dare take anything for my headache, though, because I knew we were going to hospital for blood/drug tests, and I didn't know exactly what they would consider acceptable here and what they wouldn't consider acceptable. Luckily it wasn't too bad.
After breakfast, Kiri (a departing teacher that is helping to train us before she goes home) took us by bicycle to Morning Market. We rode through the Tunnel of Death and everything and all of us arrived unscathed (although, on the way back we did lose some people. It's OK, though. they found us again!).
Morning Market has crazy traffic. I would never ever want to drive through it or even ride my bike through there!
I bought this adorable basket at Morning Market for 250 kuai, which is about $7 USD. They don't just give you bags at grocery stores here; you either have to take your own or pay for them (they are only like 6 cents, but that adds up after a while!), so I wanted something I can take to the store with me that is sturdy. It is a handmade basket; Christina and I saw the lady making a black one about the same size as the ones we bought. The little bobbles were added after we told her we wanted to buy them. She was so cute! I kind of wanted a picture with her, but I didn't want to freak her out. I also purchased two shelled pineapples for 90 kuai ($1.80 USD). I haven't eaten them yet, but Christina got one and said it was so good! I will probably eat one tomorrow or maybe tonight if I get hungry enough. It is so hot/humid here that I haven't had too much of an appetite. I have done will though at at least making sure I get protein into my diet and I have also been taking my iron supplement every day. So far I have not found myself lacking any energy.
When we got back home from Market, it was time to go to hospital! Luckily by this point my headache was gone. I won't lie, I sort of started freaking out because I knew they would be taking my blood there. Destiny (the other departing teacher that is staying just long enough to help train us) said she would hold my hand and talk to me while they took my blood. She and Peggy (one of the secretaries) were trying to reassure me the whole time I was waiting, telling me they are super fast and that it's "like mosquito; barely feel it!" The doctors at the blood counter also speak English, so Destiny told my doctor that I might faint. He started telling me I would be fine, he was the "old bird" there and had been drawing blood for 20 years (he did not look that old). Destiny, true to her word, held my hand and tried to get me to talk to her. I was having a hard time concentrating on breathing, responding to Destiny, and trying to ignore the needle all at once, so Doctor kept actually having to tell me to breathe. I closed my eyes (I always do!), but I guess I was loosing too much color in my face, because Doctor told me to open my eyes and look at him. "You have beautiful eyes!" he said. "Remember to breathe! You OK!" Good news, Mom. I didn't faint. I actually decided that I prefer the way they draw blood here in Taiwan to the method in America. The blood counter is kind of like a teller counter at a bank. You sit down, the put a strap around your arm (instead of a rubber band), and have you clench your fist. Then they use a syringe and it takes about 1/3 as much time as it does back in the States when they draw my blood. Peggy was right, too. I actually could hardly even feel the needle, which is a HUGE deal for me because, at home, even the butterfly needles hurt like the dickens. I am not sure why it was so different here. I think it was an answer to a very fervent prayer, though. We also had chest x-rays, an eye exam, were weighed and measured, and briefly talked to another doctor (by briefly I mean he asked me if I had any medical problems, I said no, and he sent me away).
After Hospital we were able to take a break for lunch. Christina and I elected to stay home to eat while the other teachers went to A-Bao, which is where we had breakfast yesterday. I am trying to be conservative and not eat out a whole bunch, but I also just really needed time to calm my nerves down after the needle induced adrenaline rush, so I just ate a bowl of cereal and some beef jerky for lunch. We then had more training, which has all been good so far.
After training, we all came back upstairs and just relaxed for about an hour or so. Most of the teachers went to take a bike ride up near the mountain (I think), but Christina and I decided to ride our bikes only as far as A-Mart (it's kind of like a Super Walmart) so that we could get some laundry detergent. I wanted another pillow, too, because I have been missing my fortress of pillows! It is hard for me to sleep with only the one. I am going to see how I do with just two and go get a third if I absolutely need to.
While we were at A-Mart, though, I saw shoes and wanted to look at them. I only actually brought one pair of sandals, and they are more for when I shower (something about feet absorbing nasty things that I don't want to make me sick), so I've really been wanting another pair. So I'm looking at the sandals, and one of the sales associates came over. I asked her if I could try the shoes on (I'm already getting pretty good at charades), and she actually knew some English! She looked at the box (to see what size) I had and grabbed me two other different sandals to try on. I ended up getting these ones, but the first one I put on she said "too big!" and got me the next size down. I didn't realize they were too big, actually, but the next size down was still comfortable, so I told her I wanted them. She was so happy! "You American?" she asked. I told her we were and she was just all smiles. "Very beautiful! Beautiful skin! So pretty! Beautiful! Thank you!" I thanked her for her help and for the compliment, and we went to look at other things. Christina wanted nail polish remover, so we again acted out what we were looking for. This one we had to be a little more creative about, though. We figured polish remover would be by the nail polish, so we just asked for that instead by pretending to paint our nails. It took a few tries and two employees to figure out what we were trying to say. First we got offered some kind of ointment for our hands, and then band-aids. Finally, though, the pharmacist (I'm guessing that's what she was) said "Color?" yes! "Red?" "Any color!" She took us over to an area that we had actually already looked at, and suddenly I spotted the words, in English, "enamel remover." We pointed to it, she said something in Chinese, and then we again thanked the two employees for their help. One more fun shopping story from A-Mart. We were walking past an aisle and at the end of it were a bunch of earrings and cell phone charms. They were all sparkly and really pretty! Out of nowhere this lady (another employee) suddenly appears by my side and just starts watching us. She started talking to us, too; I think she was trying to explain the purpose of cell phone charms because she held her hand up to her head kind of like she was holding a phone. Anyway, super fun shopping experience!
When we got home, Cami, the cleaning lady, gave us these treats. I don't know what they are (Felix?), but I tried it and it is delicious! It's some sort of doughy thing with a filling inside that tastes sort of like peanut butter, except it is more dry than creamy. I don't really know how else to explain it other than to say that I want more.
Tomorrow is pretty much up to us. Destiny and Kiri want to take us to Taichung so we can see where church is held. I don't know what else they have planned there, but I think we are also going to go to a night market. Monday we will get our teaching assignments and the "real" training will start.
P.S. Here is an update on my beautiful bruise. I took this picture about 2 hours ago.