The First of MANY MANY MANY Firsts

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FYI: Mao xian stands for Adventure in Chinese

Hello FEA community! With the help of this God sent organization, I have been enabled to take a past vacation experience in Taiwan and turn it into a current life goal. The adventure that lies only one more gangway away from my current THIRTEEN HOUR flight will be nothing shy of marvelous. As a student of University of Alabama’s New College, I am able to take my preexisting love for this wonder of the world and obtain college credit for both Mandarin studies and independent research on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). I would have never thought that I would be so blessed to receive this opportunity, especially at the time that I did. I just seemed to have been in a gloomy place in my college career. I easily found myself caught up in the routine of going to school, going to work, and eventually becoming bogged down by a constant game of catch-up. So, this experience has enabled me to break away from traditional studying and surround myself with a hands on approach to obtaining my learning objectives. Only this time, I will be released of all those inconvenient obligations; thus, being enabled to fully keep my eyes on the prize.

In about 6 more hours, I will be breaking away from my American ways and will become a resident of a spectacularly vivacious and friendly country, more specifically the city of Taichung! I had once before slightly explored these borders, but never had the intent of serious engagement as I do now. This incredibly efficient and productive island somehow still remains to be a fun and happening place, especially in the realm of healthcare. Taiwan stays true to its aboriginal background while also incorporating the modern shifts of the corporate world.  During my first stay in 2009, the incident of a misplaced crown most definitely changed my career track for the better. After experiencing the cleanest and most affordable dental work ever, I knew I was on to something. I just knew that I was going to become a pharmacist for Walgreens or something and follow that path; however, after experiencing what it is that other countries have to offer, that dream slowly transformed. Now, as a senior, I find myself infatuated with global medicine—more specifically, traditional Chinese medicine. After spending a couple more years in college and filtering out the liked courses and the disliked courses, I have come to the conclusion that Asian culture and holistic healthcare is my calling. If I and the world (or more realistically, my immediate community) could recognize this special alternative mode of medicine, I can at least say that I’ve STARTED to make a difference.

While enrolled in three back-to-back semesters of Mandarin Chinese, I predict an amazing learning experience full of many levels of communication; therefore, many chances to grow as a person. As an unbiased resident of such a more marginalized community, I feel that I’m more than prepared to acclimate myself with a more diverse community. With this adaptation will come a reawakening of traits that I have either been unaware of, or sadly ashamed of. As a resident of Alabama and a proud homosexual, day-to-day life doesn’t come so easy. Ostracism is a good word to sum up the ways that I felt while living in a community that seems to have hardly developed worldliness. So, on that note, that segment of my home life will not be missed whatsoever. Now, if I get stared at for looking the least bit different, I can at least think, “Well, you are a 6’2 Middle Eastern man walking around Asia!”

On the other hand, I will dearly miss the short but very sweet family I have. Nine months may seem daunting in the regard that I won’t physically be able to see my mother, brother, sister, or niece; however, Skype and Face time can always come to the rescue. In addition, over my college career, I have formed a small family of my own that has a set place in my heart. My partner (of 4 years in January!!) has served as excellent and immediate moral support for all of my highs and lows, including this endeavor especially. Calvin and our cat named after us, Salvin, will also be my followers during this journey. The presence of all these individuals will absolutely be missed; yet, their love and support will be converted into the drive I might need during any depressing and homesick moments that can arise. So, my ties to home are stronger than they have ever been, so excess Facebook visits won’t be necessary, especially now that I can make Skype calls from my cell phone. At the end of it all, I still plan on engaging in as many Mandarin-based interactions as possible to become further and further enlightened in this culture that I’m halfway oblivious to. All in all, I hope you enjoy my journey just as much as I will J

** In addition to my weekly updates, I will be keeping you all updated on the (amateur) documentary that I will be creating while staying in Taiwan. This second half of my blog could potentially contain photos, interviews, discoveries, treatments, etc. Please maintain interest if possible J 

DOCUMENTARY UPDATE

August 27th, 2013- I would like to investigate the concept of holistic medicine. My investigation should begin with immediate interactions with Taiwanese townspeople and fellow peers for the sake of a general understanding of the belief in this alternative mode of medicine. Later on, I will introduce the viewpoints of practitioners of both Chinese traditional medicine and general, or allopathic medicine.  

As of now, I plan to pose questions such as:

·         If you were to wake up one day feeling the slightest bit under the weather, what actions would you take?

·         Would you be more likely to visit the emergency room or an elder in order to seek guidance?

·         If you choose to take the holistic route, to what extent do you follow the remedies? (Soups, acupuncture, tai chi, etc.)

·         If you follow the traditional or allopathic routine, are you assigned preset regimes that seem almost defaulted OR does it seem that the doctor prescribes based on your lifestyle? (Physical, emotional, diet, etc.)

I, with the assistant of my lovely friend Coco, will seek my very own traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctor and lay out my ailments on the table for my own personal treatment. As a first hand participant, I would like to seek assistance for my ridiculous case of acid reflux, in which is masked with a daily 40 milligram dosage of Nexium. Thus far, I feel that I’ve entrusted in a system that is really centered on other motives aside from the acidity levels in my stomach. So, why shouldn’t I take a break from this 2+ yearlong madness of regulating symptoms of heartburn and stomach ache? Why not end the continual renewal of my prescription and lack of direction in having my situation examined? I believe now’s the time more than ever to seek guidance from someone who might consider my body as a whole unit and treat it accordingly; thus, treating the problem and NOT the symptom.

In addition, as a dancer, I’ve encountered quite a few problems that have required the use of expensive, yet redundant chiropractic routines. However, traditionally, there are routines such as acupuncture, scraping, and manipulation that allege recovery of similar body aches. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to note that a stop by a Taiwanese street side masseuse would be a nice and therapeutic solution to sitting stationary for nearly a day.

Furthermore, I would like to explore the physical aspects of Taiwanese/Chinese culture. Within the first week, I hope to be enrolled in a tai chi course, as well as actively participating in a gym membership to maintain my already-slim physique (Taiwanese food is good, really good J).  Another projection for this first week is an overall civic involvement. I want to meet locals of all sorts of demographics and understand the general premise of their lifestyle. It’s also ideal to obtain the optimal amount of testimonies in order to increase the margin of interested viewers that will feast his or her eyes of this insightful production.