Friday, February 24, 2006

Culture Shock

You've got to continue to grow, or you're just like last night's cornbread--stale and dry.
-Loretta Lynn

I have to remind myself that I must reach out eagerly and without fear for new and enriching experiences - to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt.
But it's hard.
Yesterday Anjoli and I went on a little adventure - we took a Mass Rapid Transit train to the end of the Red line to a place called Danshui. It's where Taipei's Danshui river meets the sea. (Pete Townshend's song "The Sea Refuses No River" kept looping through my head all day!). Getting to the MRT was a little tricky - we had to take a free shuttle outside of a nearby Macy's-like department store. There are a few different shuttles - and of course the signs were all in Mandarin script - so I had to use the old ask- someone-and-point-to- your- map techinque. A woman was kind enough to direct us to the right line - we got on the shuttle - then she tapped me on the shoulder when we reached the station. Good thing she did because not everyone got off, and who knows where we would have ended up!
We got to the ticket booth and were directed to the automated was a little confusing - but - again - another woman helped me out. People are SO sweet and caring here, I just can't get over it. Anyway we found the right train, and, even after getting off and changing trains after an announcement was made, we got off at Danshui (once AGAIN a couple helped us out when we had to change trains - although I was the one who told THEM that we had to get off and change).
As we exited the station we walked along a cobblestone boardwalk area - full of arcades, restaurants and colorful shops. I read about a ferry which can take you to Fisherman's Wharf - a tourist trap, but, well, that's what we are! So I found the ticket booth, and crossed my fingers that I was buying the right tickets (there were a few ferries) and luckily enough- I did! It was a 15 minute ride - it was cool riding through the waves of the sea - it was a windy day so it was pretty choppy.
Anjoli and I walked around looking for soup - we were so cold. We found a nice restaurant - had a hard time ordering though - but the manager helped us out. The food was incredibly yummy - I can still taste the salmon miso soup. I wish all of you could try it! I also ordered vegetable soup, but we got bok choy and mushrooms instead , as we later found out there was no vegetable soup. I think we were taken advantage of a bit, but oh well. The portions were so huge...we had stir fried beef as well! So much for my diet. It was an expensive lunch so we ate our leftover pizza from Pizza Hut for dinner.
We headed back to the station, did a little window shopping - I bought Anjoli a Voodoo doll keychain (!) it's cute! We got to the station and I was looking for the entrance, when I realized Anjoli was NOT with me! I SCREAMED her name - she didn't come running until the second time I yelled for her. I went ballistic! She was huddled in a group of people who were looking at toy caterpillars that looked real. My heart stopped, I swear.
We took the train back - it was rush hour. At one point an elderly Buddhist nun got on and I quickly jumped up to give her my seat, but she refused,smiling and pointing to Anjoli. Finally, a few stops later a man practically picked her up and sat her down shouting in English - "sit down!!"
We got to our stop, and I asked the man in the information booth for directions on where to catch the shuttle, but he couldn't understand me. We wandered around - bought some socks (30 cents a pop!) then hailed a taxi. I had a card for Anjoli's doctor- she's been sick - yes she's already been to a very nice, conventional English speaking doctor.
He charges $12 for an office visit - medications included! She wasn't improving so I went back to get antibiotics for a sinus infection. Poor thing -she's been sick for 2 weeks.
I asked for syrup - so the pharmacist gave me a sealed box of Augmentin and some acetaminophin that he ground up and put into individual packets (you add it to water).
Well, we get home, and I open the box and totally freak out - because it's filled with powder - he didn't mix it. AND the doctor told me to give her a dosage of 8 ccs, but the cup was in mL.
So I had to drag Anjoli back to the doctor (it's not too far of a walk, but still - she wasn't feeling well). I made her speed walk - which wasn't very nice, but I was SO upset.
I fly into the office and say "excuse me!" to the pharmacist and proceed to tell him that he made a mistake - he forgot to mix the medicine. Then he insists that I'M supposed to do it and then I broke down. I started to cry and told him in a panic stricken voice: "I'M FROM THE UNITED STATES!!! WE DON'T MIX OUR OWN MEDICINE!!!!!" So the nurse told me to wait a minute, the doctor would be right out to help me. I apologized, still crying, explaining that it's so hard - the language barrier - CULTURE SHOCK - my husband has been away (he's been gone for 4 days). She smiled and said, "you're a good mother." That helped so much - it really did. The staff bend over backwards for you - giving Anjoli little candies while we wait - finding her Snoopy stickers after the doctor saw her. I can't get over it.
(She also told me that I looked like a "fast train." Yeah - more like a train WRECK).
The doctor ended up showing me how to mix the antibiotic (I was confused by the directions, but when I read it today - it actually was pretty straightforward!). But I was also mad about the measuring cup.
I feel badly now for freaking out. I think that will be my final nervous breakdown for awhile...and the moral of the story is: before leaving the doctor's office next time, (hopefully not too soon), I will CHECK the meds and make sure everything is hunky dory!!


JackJumpedOverTheMoon said...


Oh my god, you have been having such a time! I'm so proud of you, you ARE a good mother. Not to mention a remarkable lady for being able to deal with such a culture shock. All I can say is that I'm sure for this experience you will become a saint. What strength and patience you must have! I'm envious!


Augmentin Side Effects said...

My name is Cindy Floyd and i would like to show you my personal experience with Augmentin.

I suffered from Pseudofolliculitis behind my head for years and by chance I got Augmentin from Libya without any prescription. In Europe all the doctors that I consulted could not find solution for this problem so one day I just worked into a pharmacy in Libya and showed it to the Doctor in charge of the pharmacy who adviced me to take Augmentin. I was a bit hesitant but before my returning date (after 5 days) I noticed that all the bumps are drying. and now I'm very proud of my head.

Side Effects :
None.....Miracle drug…

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Cindy Floyd

Suesjoy said...

Thanks Lucy.
Oh I have no doubt that it is a wonderful drug - I was just relaying my experience with culture shock when I first arrived in Taipei.

Thank goodness for antibiotics!