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Gap Year Abroad

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02/17/2016

Did You Miss Me?

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I can't help quoting one of my favourite television shows...please forgive me. 

So, you haven't heard from me since November. I meant to post about my trip to Sichuan, but I got sick with a lung infection which was in part due to the temperature starting to cool down and the near three weeks we spent with smog over the city and no sunlight. I had started having trouble breathing one morning, even though I was taking my asthma medication and I took my inhaler, and neither was working, so I had told my teacher I wanted to go to the hospital because I was feeling light-headed, sick, and I could hear myself wheezing slightly. The teacher's got a student intern to help me get to the hospital, where I was examined by a doctor who spoke English (and who I'm pretty sure was French). 

He checked my lungs and said he didn't hear anything wrong, and I thought he was just going to send me home, but I told him that I wouldn't have come if I didn't suspect I was getting sick and if I was actually able to breathe. So he had me go to a room for twenty minutes and do a breathalyser, which is basically where they give you medicine to help the lungs relax and open up. He wrote me prescriptions in case I got a lung infection; one was basic medicine, and one was a stronger dosage. Then the student intern helped me get back to the school so I could let the teacher's document the medicine. Everyone kept checking on me and bringing me hot water, which is basically the answer to everything. "Drink hot water" is one of the most common phrases here, or "He re shui" or "喝热水". 

Eventually I made it home and went to sleep for awhile, and when Nainai came over, she came into my room and woke me up to ask if I was okay, because usually I greet her when she comes in. I told her I was sick and had been to the hospital because I couldn't breathe, but I said this in a mix of words and gestures. She looked over my medicine and had me immediately take the regular dosage with some hot water and then told me to sleep. And when I woke up, guess who then had a sore throat and a nasty cough? I knew immediately I had a lung infection, as this wasn't the first I'd ever had in my life. Either way, I will write a separate blog post about this time, as I plan to spend the last few weeks of my winter vacation making blog posts about the past few months. But you should know I had the lung infection for about four or five days, went back to school for a week, and then the next week a second round of my lung infection came back. This was the three weeks Shanghai was shrouded in smog, rain, and cold temperatures.

So by the point I had completely recovered from what I like to call "my double lung infection," I was basically just doing my best to catch up with my classes, because there were a few points I could hardly bare to move from my bed or the living room couch because I was cold, coughing my lungs out, or purely exhausted. Thank god for understanding and loving teachers, and thank god for understanding and hardworking student tutors. I really don't know what I would have done without my wonderful, supportive community I have here in Shanghai. 

Not too long after I recovered from my lung infection I had got back on my volunteering bandwagon, teaching English to migrant children, which I came to love to do with my team, though I had to watch how loud I spoke or hurt my throat. 

Not long after that either, we had finals, and I started to review and also work on a project for my GAP class, and then planning out a skit with my group for the final group oral project. What I ultimately learned was our final was pretty much like any other test we took at the end of the week, except it covered what we'd learned throughout the whole semester rather than just the weekly topic. Basically I am no longer intimidated by midterms or finals. University is going to be a breeze!

Speaking of university, I have been accepted into a few, but I have yet to make a decision as I still await one more decision and then to see what scholarships I can also apply for. That's all I'm giving away for now. 

After I officially graduated from the first part of the program, I moved into the Chinese university's dorm with a girl who had been in my Chinese language class, as my host family is not paid to take care of me during the break, but I've been allowed to live free in the dorms. However, I have not been here all of my winter break, which started on December 19th. 

I also turned 19 on December 23, 2015, and my roommate and I celebrated by going to buy a birthday cake, which was absolutely delicious and perfect! I also left around 1:30 am the next morning to begin my month long travels. That day I flew to Singapore, where my friend Xinzhi, who I met in Taiwan that summer, picked me up with her friend and drove me to Malaysia. I will post a whole blog post about Malaysia and Singapore, and our friends, the Philippine brothers. 

I will also make a whole blog post about my week in Korea, complete with an entirely different hospital visit!

And I'll also post about the two weeks I spent with my friend Mindd from high school, and her sister in Thailand. 

I have so much to share, but I can't write about it all here, so I'm going to spend the next two weeks doing my best to catch everyone up on the exciting things that have happened! 

My winter break will officially end around February 28th, but I've not got much to do until then, so I will work my hardest on catching you all up! 

Talk to you very soon! 

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