It took a few days to recover from back to back trips into town as well as a few nights rough sleep aided by outboard heater units that apparently weren't designed to work covered in ice.
It's been snowing steadily for 4 days. For my Minneapolis peeps that seems like not such a big deal but it's like saying it has been snowing for 4 days in Seattle. They are neither accustom or equipped for it. Traffic (which in a normal state is complete chaos) is an e-ticket ride. No plows to speak of, and they are using spades to shovel the walks.
It's been a good time to rest and be lazy in the room. Actually fired up the TV for the first time. 30 channels of pure Chinese culture and language and one channel of state run English speaking news. Kind of a mix between CNN and BBC. Not sure how obvious it is in the states, but Chinese President Hu Jintao is visiting President Obama -- the commentary news is interesting from here. Apparently America should stop trying to "surround" China through it's allied relations with Japan, Korea and Russia and we really need to open up our markets to more Chinese exports -- as well as start selling the Blackhawk helicopter to demonstrate our true commitment to Sino partnership. We also need to stop harping on the human rights issues.
Didn't need more than about an hour of that propaganda.
I also watched a few of the movies I brought including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon -- it had been a few years. What an excellent movie. Great sword play and skilled horse riding, a beautiful soundtrack and a touching story. When I saw it in the theater it was with English subtitles. This time was English dubbed. I have to say I understood a lot more of the story this time, and was able to really enjoy the cinematography.
Caught up on laundry and made a giant pot of mutton stew with dal and a ton of veggies. Ate it over 3 days... very tasty.
I did finally manage to make it into town today, and wondered a bit farther from the mall. Still looking for a florist for some flowers for my stark white room. No luck there but I did find a pharmacy. Of course nothing was labeled in English, but the staff had a good time following me around and giggling while we pointed at things and I tried to use various Eng->Mandarin tools on my iPod to locate fish oil and calcium. I found them both as well as Spirulina and powdered goats milk. Like at the grocery store, whenever you pull something off the shelf, someone immediately hands you a different brand of the same thing -- or occasionally something that seems completely different. I'm not totally clear if they are showing me better quality, better price, or if they get a spiff for pushing certain brands.
Half of the pharmacy looked like a drug store, the other half had traditional chinese herbs including some more exotic items like dried lizard and hippocampus. I was tempted to buy both -- but couldn't picture how I'd get them back to the states in once piece. Going to have to research what the seahorses are good for.
Today was also a change in the acupuncture routine. Instead of the top of head, back of neck, jaw and right arm -- it was 5 in the stomach and one on the side of each knee. I was glad for the change, I had started to build up some scar tissue, especially behind the jaw that was getting painful when I chewed. I believe we are "stoking the fire" with the stomach work. 3 days of that and then we'll get back to concentrating on the throat and right arm.
My speech is still pretty labored, but my swallowing is completely back to normal and I can tell I have more power in the tongue when I'm eating. I also feel like my right hand has filled out a bit.
We had a new arrival today, Tracy from Seattle! She is here only for a week and is studying at the TCM school here. She's been traveling for several months through Europe and Thailand and stopped here on her way home to check things out. Her plan is to return later in the year for more training and possibly to teach ESL. It was great to talk with another American, especially someone from Seattle (Bothel).
Paula and David, the only other Americans are getting quite short -- they leave for home on Tuesday. I'm going to miss them, it has been great to get to know the two of them. We've commiserated through some of the challenges and their veteran advise has been invaluable.
Tomorrow we hit the 1/3rd mark for my planned time here. Seems like time has passed by very quickly, wonder if it will feel like that at 2/3rds?
Zhídào xià yīcì