Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I just want my winter slippers back.

So while we were in Thailand, our helper came and really cleaned our apartment.  Lest you think we are living the life of luxury over here, let me assure you that we are not.  Our helper comes twice a week to help with some child care, some cleaning and some cooking.  She is a sister, speaks clear Chinese and is generally a great help to me in particular.  Our little guy likes her and she likes him.  In the West we have helpers too- we just call them things like cars, dryers, washing machines that use hot water and dishwashers.  We have none of those.  So using a helper a few days a week frees us up to do the things we need to do, including frequent hospitality.
Anway, our helper came over and cleaned.  It's late April and our government controlled heat has been off since the first day of the month.  The temperature is in the 40's and 50's and yes, it's chilly.
Apparently though, it is Spring.  How do we know this?  Well, our helper took all of our warm slippers and replaced them with Spring slippers.  Apparently, you don't wear warm slippers past a certain date.  I have looked all over our apartment for the warm slippers and can't find them.  So I am wearing warm socks with Spring slippers.  I probably agreed to this before we left.  I often understand about 2/3 of a conversation and find myself agreeing to things I didn't understand.  Tomorrow, when she comes, I am going to ask her where the warm slippers are!
We also know it's Spring because she took the mattress heater off of our bed (ironically we don't use it in winter because our apartment is warm) and all of our winter clothes were folded and put away.  I've had to dig for sweaters and flannel nightgowns.  It's pretty funny.  This is culture learning at it's best!
Our little guy came back to us with a cold.  I decided he needed to go to the doctor since he has compromised lungs and can get pretty sick pretty fast.  I didn't want to go on Monday since it was cold and rainy.  I was explaining to our helper that I would take him on Tuesday when the weather was better.  "Oh", she said.  " He probably needs an injection."  "Maybe, but probably not."  "Well, he needs IV antibiotics" (Yes, they give IV antibiotics for colds here).  "Maybe, but probably not."
So Tuesday, I headed off in the taxi for the clinic.  We love this place as it is a combo of Chinese and foreign doctors working together.  The foreign doctors are training the Chinese medical residents in family practice medicine (fairly new concept in China) and the care is really good.  Plus, because our little guy is an orphan, exams are free!  So we get there and see some of the people we know. They have known our little guy since he came out of the orphanage and they are always really interested in his growth.
 There was a new resident and she starts the exam.  We do the exam in Chinese and English and she is really nice and pretty good.  We discuss his cold and she listens to his lungs and says she thinks it's probably just upper respiratory.  She says he will probably need antibiotics and albuterol.  I say okay, because I know what is coming.
The American doctor comes in (actually Taiwanese American) and they exam him together.  Then they discuss.  I hear discussion of medicine and then the words for "salt water" and then am told no medicine, that salt water flushes are the best.
Again, culture learning.  How a culture thinks about the body and sickness is really telling.  I knew we would walk out with no medicine if it was just a cold and thankfully it was.  Our little guy fell asleep in the taxi and slept for 3.5 hours.  He woke up much better and continues to improve.
One more thing.  Being cold here is a big no.  There is a strong belief that cold makes people sick and that all people, especially babies should be kept warm at all times.  I sometimes find it exhausting to have people constantly tell me that it is too cold to have the baby out or that he isn't properly dressed.
But yesterday was a little warmer and the hospital was quite warm.  When I walked out, two ladies sweetly told me that the baby was too hot!  His cheeks were flushed.  I just started laughing and told them Chinese people always told me he was too cold and that I was afraid.  They laughed and walked away.  Again- more culture learning.  Take all things with a grain of salt!
Not to make this blog a travelogue of our Thailand trip, but here are a few pictures of the incredible beauty that we saw.

Two birds at the zoo aviary.

Birds of Paradise.  These were everywhere.  Spectacular.

I would say monkey but I think it's something else.

Cat sleeping on Buddha's lap.

See the cat?  We were really charmed by the gentle dogs and cats in Thailand.

Beautiful weavings in a really boring museum.  These more than made up for the dullness.

Sigh- all creation reveals the creativity of the Creator.  The colors, the patterns, the variety- amazing.


Sheri said...

While in Hanoi, the spring we adopted our infant daughter, we were constantly scolded by Vietnamese women. They told us to cover her head to toe, even though our poor baby was almost heat stroked. We smiled and listened, and thoroughly enjoyed Vietnam and its people.

I really enjoy following your journey. The pictures are beautiful. The birds of paradise flowers we have in Galveston are not nearly as dramatic as those in your pictures. How lovely.

Thank you for sharing your journey.

Lifting up prayers for your dear baby.

Sheri in Galveston

Tarasview said...

I'm glad sweet baby is getting better :) Cultural differences are fascinating!

Hunan Mommy said...

Thanks again for allowing the world to share your experience. We were there for 2 weeks adopting our daughter in Hunan. Not enough time to immerse in the culture. Your experience is allowing me some of what I missed. Thank you!