Friday, October 22, 2010

"Teacher, Are You Sick?" and other random tidbits

Why yes, Taiwanese people, the doctor's mask over my face and the tissues falling out of my pockets indicate that in fact, I am sick.

I tend to get pity stares like, Oh dear, the foreign teacher went and took a bath in viral germs, so I have to justify the origin of my illness. "It's P1." I say. "The babies don't know how to cover their mouths and cough in my face."

It's true. They are disgusting little germ monkeys. The poor things shouldn't be in school, they should be in isolation. A week ago, I developed this lovely flem-y hacking cough a-la-students and went to see a doctor: Bronchitis, he said.

Now, I don't know what they learn in Taiwanese medical school, and I don't mean to discredit anyone with a P.H.D., but they tend to think they everything is very bad and curable with several types of medication. I'm pretty sure I don't/didn't have bronchitis. I'm pretty sure, because I am a doctor, that I have the flu. Nevertheless, Dr. Best gave me several types of medication, and I am still sick.

Speaking of medication, I ran out of oral contraceptives this past week and thought it would be easy as pie to buy some more. Remember what your teachers tell you about ass-uming?

It just so happens that oral contraceptives are one of the few types of medications that are not covered by the national health plan. This means that I can get a walk-in appointment and medication for tonsilitis for 50NT ($1.50) but a box of birth control costs me a whopping $500NT (about $15) - non-negotiable. For a country that manufactures much of the world's pills, I find this utterly ridiculous. And expensive. I speculate that the Taiwanese government wants women to have more Taiwanese babies (birthrate is below replacement), and therefore they don't want to encourage women to be smart. I am smart, but I'm paying out the rear for it.

Speaking of rears, I had one of my P1 students (the 2-3 year olds) pee on my hand last week. Speaking of P1, not only do they cough in my face but I have to also wipe their streaming snot. My solution: the doctor's mask. Teaching with a doctor's mask makes me feel safe and smart simultaneously. Except that if the students can't see my mouth moving, sometimes they don't understand what I'm saying. At that point, I pull the mask to my chin. There's nothing sexier than a chin mask.

Have I mentioned the rain? There's a little something called Typhoon Megi swirling around over here, causing incredible amounts of damage in the Philippines and soon to be China. Taiwan is out of the main path of destruction but we are incurring a tremendous amount of annoying, wind-driven rain. This is the rain that flies sideways and gets your legs nice and wet.

Rain + scooter = abnormally wet.

The rain comes up and down and sideways. We had a fabulous 15 minute scooter ride home on Thursday involving a downpour and at least three 90 second red lights. What can you do at a red light on a scooter? Sit there and take it like a man, that's what you do. Even with a rain jacket, the water still manages to trickle down your sleeves and under the face shield of your helmet. My shoes ended up so full of water I nearly had to tip them out to drain them.

I love the rain. It's still warm enough to wear shorts.

PS. Made pizza from scratch on Sunday. It was amazing. Except that there was not an anchovy in the entire city of TaoYuan. Trust me, I looked. I went to two different stores at opposite ends of the city...with my hacking "bronchitis." In the end, we ate cheese, olive, sardine and lime pizza. It was amazing.

1 comment:

  1. Caitlin, I've enjoyed catching up on your blogs...sounds like the scooter is working careful since "scooter reigns" in Taiwan (as we learned)..what is it about those Halloween stores we kept seeing all over the place(is it Christmas now)and I did wonder how waterproof the raincoats forward to future postings.