Diseased but not Defeated




My second week in China was a typhoon that has shown no signs of weakening. I began the week with abnormally intense menstrual cramps paired with an upset stomach. A few days later, I caught a cold my classmates were passing to each other. I’ve had sinus issues for years, so inevitably my cold became a sinus infection. In the beginning of the week, I attempted to persevere through the pain, but conceded when I lost my voice at the end of the week. Dr. Wen gave me a piece of paper with characters and “Di Bi Jing” written on it. I visited multiple pharmacies to find this medicine, but it was well worth it; I felt immediate relief and the nasal spray was more effective than antibiotics at curing my sinus infection.

Tea ceremony on June 20


On June 18th we went to a local tea shop, and on June 20th we traveled to a tea shop at a nearby tea market. Both shop owners used traditional Chinese tea ceremony techniques to let us try a myriad of teas. The generosity of the shop owners filled me with more warmth than the tea. Despite our inability to verbally communicate, their appreciation for our presence and eagerness to share their culture was evident. We sat for hours and drank bounteous amounts of tea. Using broken Chinese and translation apps, we inquired about different types of teas.

On Tuesday June 19th, about half of us went to a market for lunch. The tanks of live fish that shocked me in Hong Kong were also present at this market in All of the students have started to find their niches as we continue to spend a lot of time in close proximity. Everyone on the program gets along well and smaller groups have started to form. Most of the subgroups are compromised of people with similar personalities.ition to fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. As we explored the market, we tried sundry foods from vendors.


A local food market in Kunming

Our classes this week focused on specific aspects of the Chinese medical system. Lectures included medicinal tea, maternal and child health, music therapy (IMG_0069) and HIV/AIDS. There are stark differences in the way America and China approach health care, but I believe each system could be improved by incorporating aspects of the other. In China, HIV tests are automatically included in any blood tests and HIV/AIDS medication is covered by insurance at no charge. American patients have more individualized care and privacy. I believe that blending the group approach taken by the Chinese and the individual approach taken by Americans would provide an optimum level of care and prevention.

Navigating class, illness and a new culture was frustrating but rewarding. From being sick, I learned to pace myself with schoolwork and strenuous activity. Furthermore, I was forced to ease my expectations of myself. At home, I pressure myself to experience my environment and placed the same pressure on myself abroad. However, being physically unable to be meet my expectations resulted in letting some of them go.