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  • Day61

    Yangmingshan park & Betiou hot springs

    November 9, 2019 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Morning hike to the top of Mt Quxing. Great hike although probably took longer to get to the start, as missed the bus stop. The hike up is concrete steps which is hard on the legs but it's an interesting route through tall grasses on the mountain side and then a bamboo forest with the path carved through it. I had to wear all my layers and I was still cold - no views from the top due to swirling fog! I head back down and caught the bus to Betiou hot springs. The town has a large turquoise thermal pond and more hotels than you can count but we took the local option and headed the public thermal baths. They were hot (I didn't make it into the 45C pool) and freezing and the locals made sure we totally submerged ourselves in the cold pools!Read more

  • Day57

    Happy early Qingming festival (清明節)

    March 26, 2019 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Qingmingjie is an important Chinese festival for paying respect to deceased ancestors. It is a time to come together to visit and clean清 the old family tombs. We were very lucky with the sabbatical (and side-trip) timing to have the chance to be in Taipei just a week before the actual festival (which is on the 4th of April) to visit the final resting place of Nai-nai and Yeh-yeh in Yangmingshan.

    Fortunately, Nai-nai and Yeh-yeh's urns are located such that we could knock politely on their little doors to say hi. Neither of them had met Davy or Meg yet - Yeh-yeh had barely even met Mommy! We hope that they were happy to meet the next generation and are satisfied with how we all turned out. After chatting a bit about death and cremation, whether the people buried in the big tombs outside were all there with their skin and bones intact, etc., we spoke briefly of what Mommy and Poppy wanted to do after dying, aside from give them all our money to buy Teslas.

    Meg then became rather fascinated by the fact that she was named after Nai-nai and shares both her family name Su蘇 and middle name Yu玉. She may actually turn out to have a lot in common with her great grandma when she grows up - both are stubborn queens and of course never wrong! Hopefully Nai-nai will be able to look in on Meg from time to time and keep her on the right track. Davy was a bit sad about not being named after a family member. Thankfully, he then found out that he was named after a great Chinese engineering master who designed and built the first railways. He was pensive for a moment after that - perhaps even suitably pleased.
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  • Day12

    Day 12 - cupping in practice

    July 13, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    Hey travel journal,
    Not much to write about today because I slept for most of the arvo.
    This morning we got up and jumped on the bus and headed towards a therapy clinic that was about an hour away. They have a doctor, three physiotherapist, two occupational therapists and two speech therapists. First we had a talk on occupational therapy and the five areas they work in including mental illness, physical disability, children rehabilitation, re-training and employment and community work. Then we had a talk about physical therapy. Their physical therapy includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. All of which they offer in this clinic. First he showed us a type slacking gun therapy. Which just vibrates and they use to push into tight muscles. He did my shoulders, and lats as a demonstration. It really helped to get ride of the tension. They use a type of electro therapy where the therapist holds a little machine and then touches the patient and the conduction runs through them and into the patient at points where the therapist touches. We all stood in a circle and held hands and the current ran through the whole group. Then one at a time he touched out faces around our eyes and asked what colour we see. White is normal but if you see a rainbow it can indicate something is wrong neurologically. Interesting.. It also induced muscle twitches. As he did each person they left the circle so but he end I was the last one, my hands where tingly with the current and my facial twitching was pretty epic. It felt so weird. Then we started cupping. First he demonstrated (on me again) and put the cup on my trap. It kinda hurt while he was doing it. He put the cup on and then I had to push my shoulder up against resistance and then relax down, 10 times. Then we all practiced on each other. We did cupping on our traps, deltoid muscles and lumber spine. Then to finish off the session we had a competition to see who could put 12 cups on someone's back the fastest. I came second by 2 seconds! If only I hadn't dropped one of the cups. Oh well, it was still fun and I didn't mind loosing to Sophie. She won an air cupping set. Which is soo cool. Then we jumped on the bus and headed back to the dorm. At the dorm I ate my left over typhoon food (apple and two minute noodles) and had a sleep. I had a pretty epic head ache. So every one else went out on a bike ride and watched the sunset at a river and went to the night markets but I had a really quite night in. I just slept, watched Netflix, kind of started my essay, and read. I went out for dinner and got my self sorted and then had a shower and an early night. A quite arvo/evening is just what I needed.
    Night xo
    Read more

  • Day19

    Day 19 - Day for the buddies

    July 20, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Hey travel journal,
    With classes officially over we were free to do what ever we wanted today. So in true Aussie fashion we started with no plan and a sleep in. Then Sam and just being the only people up, headed out and went across to the traditional Taiwanese breaky place and got rice rolls for breaky. Then got back and walked up all the stairs because the power to the building had been turned off due to maintenance. Then after a couple of hours, lots of conversation and a couple of hiccups - we had a plan. First we got everyone up, even the party girls who had a big night last night and met downstairs at 10.30am. Wesley had made everyone individualised postcards. They are so cute. After he handed them out the group headed off to the MRT. We had the whole group minus 3, and like 7 buddies. It was such a good day. After a MRT transfer and a short walk we ended up at some cultural gardens. The gardens where really pretty and there were hit springs, a national library, and cultural centre. All free to explore. First we walked around the edge of the gardens and along the hot spring river, stopping at one point to test the temperature of the water, and went to the hot Springs. It was one little Lake that was bubbling it was so hot, you could see the steam and feel the heat radiating off the water. What was kinda cool was that at the far end on the other side of the walk way was a water fall, that you could feel the cold spray coming off. Totally not what I expected. It also had up on a little ledge a little prayer house and outdoor wood fire. That was well maintained and had incense burning. So clearly in use. Then we made a pit stop at the hot spring suvanier shop and then headed to lunch. On the way we passed the library which has a Lillie pond out the back and what beautiful architecture. Everyone had different ideas but most of us ended up at sushi express. I just followed the main group because I felt that would be easier. Then we headed to the cultural centre. It wasn't very big. But it showed that there are indigenous individuals and a little history to the country. Honestly, there really isn't much. For the most part it's like they never really existed before China took over and now they just exist the way they do. It was kinda nice to read that some people have close contact with the land and their beliefs and that there is that indigenous community. Then we headed back on the MRT. Most people got off at the uni stop but Sam, toni, Sara and sahama and I kept going and went to the supermarket. Sam, toni and I did an epic shop for our buddies goodbye party. We got doritoes and salsa, Tim Tam's, made fairy bread, got soft drink and got plates and cups. Then we headed back to the dorm. Sophie and toni made the fairy bread and ran out to get some fruit for the fruit platter. A bunch of the girls set up a picnic area on the grass out the front of the dorm and Sam and I ran around food street like headless chickens organising food, shocking vender with how much we were ordering. It was hectic and epic fun. First we stopped at the dumpling place and ordered $300 worth (they ate $6 each), then we found a vendor that does sweet potato chips (meant we didn't have to walk 15 mins to kfc so we could make chip buddies) that were amazing, then we went to the meat meal place and ordered two meals (with the help of a bilingual amazing bystander) and went to our regular fried rice place and go 6 fried rices and 2 noodles. I headed back with everything while Sam was waiting at the fried rice place and she arrived about 5-10mins after me. Everyone was outside, the girls had stolen the wooden seating boxes from the lounge rooms and taken them outside and two tables from by the front of the dorms and set up an awesome seating area with food in the middle. And everyone just ate, drank, listened to music, danced, chatted, played cards and had an amazing time. All of the food was gone except for the bread, and one and a bit rices. Everything else was demolished. And all of the buddies were laughing and having an amazing time and Wesley ran over and ate quickly on his lunch break from work. We taught them the nut bush and the macarina. All around we had the best night and everyone enjoyed it. When the bin man arrived we just collected everything and dumped it in the bin and the boys took all the boxes back up stairs and the tables back to the dorms for us which was awesome and we just sat around chatting and listening to music for ages. It was so good. A while bunch of them are upstairs atm, drinking and playing cards but I tapped out. It's midnight and I'm stuffed. I showered and now I'm hiding in bed, ready to crash. We fly home tomorrow night (11pm) I wonder what the day will bring? Night xoRead more

  • Day2

    Day 2 - hospital observations begin

    July 3, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Hey travel journal,
    So it's day two and it was just as busy as day one. Omg I'm so tired and my feet are so sore.
    The day started with a group of us heading to a local store that sells traditional Taiwanese breakfasts. We spent a good 15 with a translation app and a list of foods a buddy gave us and we think we figured out some of the menu and all decided to have rice and vegis but then somehow got to ordering and ended up with egg in pastry and an iced tea (which was probably a bit on the sweet side for me) but both were very nice. Then back to the dorms and got ready and headed off to the bus which took us to a private hospital - shin King Wu ho-su memorial hospital, where we are doing our observations. We were ushered into a meeting room and given a weekly itinerary, a pen and a Chinese newspaper. We had a welcome and learnt a little bit about the hospital and their values. I have learnt that they are very people orientated and have many staff to ensure that people are followed throughout their hospital experience and that as an 800 bed hospital they are considered small (I know right.. What!?). I also learnt that they don't have a level four because that is the number for death, so the levels skip the number four. everything in the hospital is a combination of Chinese and English, especially the patient diagnosis on the charts as they hand over diagnosis in English. It's so bilingual, I love it. After our quick intro and tour of the bottom floor. We broke up into two groups and had a tour of either the surgical ward or medical ward and then swapped. We started in the general surgical ward were they look after patients who have had abdominal, breast or thyroid surgeries. They explained that they have stretchers they put out next to each of the patients beds, where they have a family member stay with the patient and help them with everything they need like eating or getting up to go to the toilet. And each room only has a suction and oxygen port. They use portable monitoring equipment if the patient requires observations to be completed. They showed us the store room where they keep all of their drugs and equipment, and the new cloud computer system. Everything is barcode controlled. The patients IDs the staff IDs, even monitoring the monitors are scanned and then the cloud attaches the results to the patients file. They have an electronic whiteboard at the nurses station that had each of the beds on the screen with icons that say of they are contagious, gender, condition, if they have a DNR etc. And you just have to click the bed on the map and everything about the patient comes up and on their computer the entire patients file and all test results can be accessed. After the surgical ward we headed over to medicine where the ward structure is the same. Interesting they apparently don't have a specific in patient cancer care ward, so patients who are on cancer medications get put onto a general ward and their meds get put in a locked cupboard and the general ward nurses dispense them. After our ward tours we went to lunch. We walked down a side street near the hospital and we all stopped at different vendors to get some lunch. I had a scallion which is pretty much naan bread which an egg layer and corn. It was so tasty. Then we headed back to the hospital and had a tour of the Osce centre where students take their practical assessments. The rooms are proper examination rooms and a resus room but they have one way windows on one side so that the professor can stand on the outside and see and hear everything without the students being able to see them. They have twelve hurdle assessments they need to pass in this section. Then we had a tour of the cancer treatment prevention centre which is pretty much just an office and a consultation room. This is where cancer screening is undertaken and then if diagnosed the patient gets a case manager who looks after them for a minimum of 5 years regardless of if they go into remission or not. And they are provided with an oncologist. The support team just provides them with any assistance and provides regular assessments and check ups. After that we were done for the day and half the group headed back to the dorm while all of us parameds caught the train into the city and had an explore. We stopped at a few shops and spent some time in a winnie the pooh store where Nikki brought something for her sister and then we went to a 511 store where they boys brought some pants, a top and torches between them. It was mostly cloths and bags, which I was hoping for a little more gadgets and stuff but that's ok. And then we wandered and looked around on the way back to the train where we headed to some night markets to meet up with the rest of the group. The night markets were pretty cool. Absolutely huge and very similar to all Asian markets really. We all just wandered for ages and brought different foods and shared them around. Fried stinky tofu is ok but weird, pig blood cake is just like chewy weird texture grossness, vegetable dumplings are soo good, and spicy mushroom chunks are also super tasty. While there we came across a temple which was nice and traditional with people praying which I loved because it shows its functional in the community. And we all pulled a fortune stick but the fortunes are all in Chinese so I have no idea what mine says lol. Then we headed back to the dorms, showered and now I'm soo ready to sleep the screen is blurry. Night xoRead more

  • Day18

    Day 18 - last day of classes

    July 19, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    Hey travel journal,
    Today was the last uni day. We got up and met outside to head over to the classroom to about traumatology lecture. Once I got down stairs one of the boys asked if I had any electrolytes because Andy was pretty sick. So Jim and I headed up to the room to get some and then down to give them to Andy. He looked like shit. He was sweaty, tachyapneic, tachycardic and barely with it. He couldn't sit up on his own so I got Jim to make up the electrolytes and I sat Andy up and got him to drink and then we put a wet towel around the back of his neck and turned the fan on. He said that it has happened before, he just pushed himself too hard and hasn't had a rest day since we got here. He has been doing a lot of exercise. He said electrolytes and sleep and he was good last time. I gave him his phone and we headed to class. He traumatology class was not what I expected. The teacher spoke about the national insurance, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture basics. Then I headed back to the dorm and checked on Andy. He was asleep but heaps better and vitals had all gone back to normal, so we left him where he was and headed over to the conference room. In the conference room we all had lunch provided. There was pizza, chicken nuggets, chips, pork wraps, onion rings, red bean pastry and drinks. We all ate way too much. After we finished eating toni and I headed up to the room and finished off our gifts for the buddies. We made up a little gift bag for each person. Then we went into final presentations. First the Koreans and Singapore students talked about nursing in their respective countries and then we spoke about health care as a whole and followed a patient through the hospital system, through each of our departments. Then the buddies spoke about the uni, health care and nursing education in taipai. Then they showed a video that had loads of pictures of everyone from our trip. And then we did gift exchange with our buddies. They loved their gift bags. And they gave each of us a little coin purse each. Then we headed downstairs with all three schools and the buddies and took a massive group photo. Then the Koreans gave everyone from every school a little gift bag with some lollies. It was super cute. After we were done we headed back to the dorms. I first swung by the boys room just to check on Andy. He sat up and had a coherent conversation. Made him drink more electrolytes and he had a fruit juice. So I headed back up to the dorm and hung out in the lounge with some of the girls and we organised a picnic dinner for all the buddies for tomorrow night. Then after chilling for a bit Sam, Sophie, Sara and sahama and I headed out for some dinner. We just wandered around until we found a little local restaurant and sat down to order. The nice waiter helped up to order. The food was pretty tasty. Then we went to the bakery for sahama and the juice shop for me and the 7-eleven for the girls to get some alcohol. Then we headed back and all sat in the girls room chatting, listening to music and watching you tube videos. Then after a non-productive chat about what's happening tomorrow we all decided to just crash and take it as it comes. So we shall see what tomorrow brings :) night xoRead more

  • Day9

    Day 8 -last day at the memorial hospital

    July 10, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    Hey travel journal,
    Today was a nice chilled day which was awesome. We got up and I had breaky (from my food draw which was so nice) and then headed down stairs and onto the bus to head over to the memorial hospital for the last time. We started the day with presentations on the birthing suits and hospice centre before heading out into the wards. Then we headed up into the paediatric ICU were there were lot of tiny little sick babies and so many of them intubated or on nasal oxygen, a couple in humidifiers and on intubated bubbles was on a vibration machine that apparently helps to stimulate the respiratory system and diaphragm function. First they showed us an empty room set up ready with a humidifier just in case something happens and they need it. Then from the neonatal wards we went into paediatric ICU where they only have two beds. Both had girls around the age of 5 years, intubated and under intensive care with meningitis / encephalitis. Things can change so quickly Sharni was telling me tonight that when her group went into this ward the second girl was blocked off because her family had had a meeting with the doc and they had been informed that she was brain dead and would never survive off life support, so they were saying their goodbyes as they had opted to turn off the ventilator. She was is a semi sit position when I saw her with the back of the bed elevated and her legs propped up with a blanket under the knees. I remember thinking how clever it was that they had blown up a glove and used two of the middle fingers tied together to hold the ET tube and the body of the glove to keep it elevated from the girls chest. So clever. But a reminder of just how fragile life is and how fast a patients condition can change. After that we went into neonate ICU ward that had four babies in cribes and one in a humidifier. This room was for premature babies (anyone under 2kg). With two of the babies having growing to over 2kg, one having just been weaned of nasal oxygen and one still on Nasal but he was looking around and blowing bubbles despite the Nasal pronges taped to his face. And two tiny tiny babies, doing amazing and breathing on their own but just so tiny. Then we went into the breastfeeding room, where a special chair is set up for mums with a big curtain that can provide them with privacy and three other babies in this room in bassinets on monitoring equipment. The littlest bubble in this room was sucking on what looked like a cue tip, and although his ecg was ok, his heart was over 180 (which isn't actually too bad for a bub his size) but his resp rate was nearly 60. We told the doctor and he said that it has actually improved and he is not requiring oxygen at the moment but he does have lung disease. Then we headed over to the hospice centre. They have 8 palliative care beds in this area, a lounge room, a bath room and a death room (as they call it, and is exactly what it sounds like). People who qualify for this room are those who require high levels of care and have less then 6 months to live. The lounge is a multi function room with a TV, couches, table and a fish tank. And is used for family visits, to get patients out of their room for a bit (there are oxygen ports and suction on the walls for those who need it), weddings, graduation photos with families, meetings etc. The patients have activities such as crafts they can do, and can get massage and aromatherapy. The bathroom is amazing. The views from the one way glass windows are amazing of the hills and the bath has a removable bed that they patient lays on and the bed. And bath tub can be moved to help immerse the patient, who can then have a shower, bath or spa. It's pretty fancy. The room is also used for hair cuts and has a. Radio in the corner so they can chill out and listen to music. Then we went into what they call the death room. When a patient is just about to pass away they move them into this room and can change the wall to being neutral clouds, Buddhist or Christian images. They can change the lighting and covering on the windows. Play any music, sounds or chanting they want. And the family can spend up to 8hrs in with the patient and do any family rituals or prey or just sit with the family member. The temp in the room is also 16 degrees so that once the patient has passed the body doesn't smell. Lovely, thoughtful idea, weird room to be in. And it started a conversation about if ghosts are real... After hospice we headed down to the delivery room. After looking at the three bus born today in the baby. Room through the window we gowned up and headed into the birthing suits. The first part of the ward is single rooms that mums in labour hangout in until they are fully dilated. There is a bed, a chair and a bathroom,.as well as monitoring equipment for both mum and feral heart rate, etc. After mum is fully dilated she is taken into the delivery room where a doctor will deliver her baby. The delivery room is a massive chair with strip's. It was so funny Andy jumped up on the chair and Jimmy pretended to be the catcher and I played 'dad' while people took pictures. After the delivery rooms we headed back to the conference room where they gave us all lunch and bubble tea, a popper, jasmine tea, a muffin and a biscuit. Seriously I brought a bunch of it back to the dorm. In full Andy fashion he ate all of it, had two bubble teas and finished off like three other meals apart from his own. Damn that kid can eat. Then we took a final group photo and said our goodbyes before heading out. We all went to the stationary store. Unfortunately the back pack Sophie wanted wasn't there but between us we still managed to spend a lot of money. I brought some note books which I really don't need but that we're very cool and a few book marks. I found awesome bookmarks in Chinese characters but when I asked someone to translate they had weird meanings so I decided not to go there. Jim tried to help me with an app the best he could but in the end we gave up. Then we all jumped on the MRT and went to the supermarket to get final typhoon prep. The supermarket was hectic. There were people everywhere and shelves were empty everywhere. Once we were all done we headed back to the dorms. I checked my emails and applied for a QAS PTS job and took photos of my knee for babs to show to Peter of all my bruising and soreness. Then a bunch of us headed out down to food street for dinner. I got curry fried rice with vegetables. And we all headed back to the dorm to eat. The girls joined a bunch of the others on level 5 to play cards and I decided to be antisocial and headed back to the room and ate while watching Netflix. Getting out of the elevator was a shock I was hit with a sea of Korean students. This program has three schools Qut, Korea and Singapore and officially starts tomorrow. Because of our holiday dates are different to Asia we come a week earlier and get to spend time at the memorial hospital, which the other schools don't get. So they have all arrived. And they have taken over. I had to wait soo long to get into the shower because everytime I attempted they were just everywhere. Then after a shower, it was time for bed. Keen for the lectures to start tomorrow. Night xo.Read more

  • Day11

    Day 10 - acupuncture and mindfulness

    July 12, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Hey travel journal,
    So the typhoon was super anticlimactic. It was pretty much a regular brissy summer storm. Some strong winds and a heavy rain. Apart from the branches around the grounds of uni, you wouldn't even know it happened. Except for the poor girls on the other side of our dorm. Because there is no external glass on the windows of our dorm at either end (I'm assuming to allow for wind passage to reduce damage in typhoon season) the rain came straight through and hit that side of the buidling. When I got up and looked down the other end of the hall I saw water everywhere, which for sure would have gone under the doors and into the rooms. Our end of the building was completely uneffected. Actually, I slept through the whole thing. But good thing was, it passed really quickly so no classes where cancelled :) so, up early, got ready and headed over to a class room. It was like a normal lecture room with desks and chairs and a screen and projector at the front. Except the back and side of the room were lined with made hospital beds - clearly a nursing training room. We took our seats and settled in for our first 3 hr lecture (which I was honestly worried I wouldn't struggle through. 3 hrs is a long time). The lecturer is was a doctor who is an acupuncturist. She talked about what chi is, and how the body is made up of Maridions that run the length of the body and how everything is connected. The importance of the yin and yang balance and how the natural cycles of the body should be listened to. She spent time going through a few of the points - what they are, what they do, their anatomical location, and got us to find them on ourselves. She also came around and showed us, which was painful when you find a point with your fingers because of the amount of pressure that needs to be applied but super cool. Then she gave us all an alcohol swab and an acupuncture needle and we put it in our hands on the webbing between the thumb and forefinger)(position L14) to help with headaches and cold & flu symptoms. Which is quite fitting because the flu seems to be making the rounds through the Aussies. She was impressed with my positioning and I got the needle in first go, but she took over and twisted it further in for me, which is good because she put it deeper then I probably would have but it was definitely in the right place. Then I just sat and chatted for 25 mins with the needle in my hand. Then after what felt like 10mins of the class starting it had been over 3 hrs and we had an hr to organise some lunch. Sharni wasn't feeling the best so she headed back to the dorm while the rest of us went to what we have now effectionately named eat street or food street. Which is the local markets where all the food vendors are. We had originally planned on going to a dumpling restaurant for lunch but after walking over there we found it was closed. There are definitely more options on food street at night, but we still had loads to choose from. We ended up stopping at this place that did these meals that had rice, beef in gravey with onion and garlic, cabbage, sprouts, vegetables and a fried egg on top. It was super peppery, but super tasty. We got our food and I got a juice from the juice shop (wanted pineapple but think I got guava?? Meh still cold and refreshing - it was hit and muggy as shit today). We headed back to the classroom, picking up Sharni on the way and sat on the front porch (no food allowed in the rooms) and ate. Then we headed back in and the desks had been moved to line the room in a u shape. The afternoon lecture was on meditation and mindfulness. The lecturer was amazing. She is a oncologist at the local hospital (well on of the local hospitals), a Chinese medicine specialist and a monk. She was calm and realistic and tried to involve everyone and encouraged participation. She talked about what mindfullness is and how it integrates with today's modern society (not just completely bagging smartphones, etc). She also talked about acceptance and how life is a cycle and how once we learn that things and people never end they just change shape (for example, a cloud doesnt stop existing when you can't see it, it becomes rain, which becomes water, which can be used in tea or to grow crops, etc) then we can stop being afraid of the what if, and start living in the present. At various points throughout her presentation she got us to stop and meditate for 1 minute at a time. She talked about how meditation is different for everyone and it can be as simple as being completely present in yourself at that point in time. Whether you have your eyes closed or open, or sitting watching a river or what ever it may be. That personalising it is ok, but deep breathing and mindfulness should be incorporated. Her presentation was a lot longer then she actually presented which we should hopefully get a copy of from the buddies. She wanted to focus more on what she called games or exercises. One that we did was that we stood in teams, two lines of 6 across from each other. The person at the front held a bowl that was filled to the brim with water. They then had to stand on one foot and jump 5 times, while spilling as little water as possible. Then pass it to the next person who did the same and repeat. At the end of the first line, they had to fill a slightly smaller bowl with the water that was left over from the bigger bowl (ours still completely filled the little bowl) and the process started again. I was the 12th person in our group. We were the second group to finish. And when comparing the three groups final bowls to decide who had the most water left, we totally won - team 'compassion' for the win :) (at the beginning of class we all had to give ourselves team names, we had things like trust, tranquillity, Zen, etc). The second game was on a piece of paper we had to individually draw a labrenth. Mine was a circle and had four sections but was kinda like a yin yang. It had two exits and I named them faith and honesty. I made my start point right in the centre with Honesty being easier to get to then faith. I was meant to put myself on the labrenth somewhere but I couldn't quite decide on a spot. Everyone had such different shapes and mazes and names for the exits. It was really interesting. Then right at the end of class we did half an hr of Tai chi. Which was very cool. It's kind of like yoga, but you never really stop moving, it's like constant flowing motion. The time went so quick I can't believe how fast the 3hrs went. After class Sam was talking to her about learning natural medicine here in Taipei and she gave her the name of the institution I think she runs or is very involved with and her contact details and said once she has graduated back home, if she is still keen to contact her. Very cool. Then we headed back to the dorm, where I read for a bit and then hung out in Sam, Sara and Sharni"s room with the girls and Sophie. Sara isn't very well and had fallen asleep while we were chatting and then the rest of us headed out to dinner with salami, Andy, Toni and Jim. We went down to the sushi express and Sharni ate her. Weight in sushi. It was pretty fun. After dinner the group wanted to head into town to go to the night markets and I knew the party girls had headed out to girls night at a club somewhere, but I decided to have a night in. So they headed to the train station and I headed back to the dorm. When I got back I just sat outside and enjoyed the breeze and quite for a bit and then headed up to the dorm. I just hung around, watch Netflix, tidied, took the rubbish out, physio exercises, showered - you know typical, boring, night in - have the dorm to your self type stuff and climbed into bed. All and all it was an awesome day and I am glad it didn't get cancelled. Tomorrow is cupping and a Chinese pharmacy visit. So it should be another exciting one :) night xoRead more

  • Day16

    Day 16 - integrated public hospital

    July 17, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ 🌬 28 °C

    Hey travel journal,
    This morning we were up early and jumped on a bus and headed over to a public hospital for a tour. The Taipei city public hospital has 8 branches, each of which have a different focus. For example oncology, neurological deficit, aged care etc. The branch we went to today were the Chinese medicine specialist. The hospital is primarily an out patient facility and integrates Western medicine with traditional Chinese medicine. There are floors in the hospital for things such as blood testing and HIV management, while others are dedicated to acupuncture, manual manipulation (chiropractic) and a massive Chinese medicine pharmacy. The prescribed compounded powders are covered by their national insurance, which other herbs, plants etc are all charged to the patient. First we watched a video on the public health system and the 8 branches, as well as one on the focus of the integrated branch. All of the doctors and pharmacist are trained both in Western and Chinese medicine, and can practice both types of medicine. Then after a group photo we had a tour of the acupuncture clinic and they showed us all the different needles they use, including these tiny ones that look like splinters stuck to a sticky pad, which they can apparently place on the patient and leave on for a few days to help provide prolonged pain relief. Then we went to the manual manipulation area which was a big room with lots of massage tables. They asked for volunteers to be part of the demonstration and Andy put his hand up and said that he had a sore back. The doc said his spine was a bit out of alignment and used a little pillow that he put on Andy's back where it is out and then used his body weight and pressure pushed up against the pillow to help crack his back. He said it felt so much better. Then everyone volunteered me for the second demonstration, which I didn't really want to do in front on everyone but I have been thinking about making a chiro appointment for next week, so figured why not. I told him about my knee pain and he said that most of the times knees are sore because the patients back and pelvis are out. So hey lay me on my side and cracked my back, and did both sides. The crack was pretty epic and then did my pelvis. I have never had a pelvic realignment before so the was new. He put the hard pillow in the small of my back while I was laying on my back and then I bent my knees and opened them putting my feet together. And then I don't know what he did but I slide my feet down the bed and he did some kind of resistance and it cracked well. My knee still hurts, but my back feels so much better. The sharp pain I have been getting in my lower back is gone which is amazing. Then we had a tour of the pharmacy. It was pretty decent in size with lots of little cubicles where pharmacists were compounding powered prescriptions for patients and in the back they had a traditional pharmacy set up with all the shelves and things in pots on the wall. I wonder if the set up and the order that things are stored have some kind of meaning?... Then after trying some things (or I should say, eating goji berries), we went downstairs to see the vats where they make all of the liquid mixes. Then it was time to head off. A small group stayed at the hospital and headed off to indoor rock climbing (which was a 3m climbing wall with no harnesses), while the rest of us headed back to campus. On the way back to the dorm we headed to food street and got some food. Sara, Sophie and I first went to my new juice shop and got a drink. I tried the dragon fruit one today, it was pretty good. They also had samples of this raspberry crush thingy that was also pretty tasty. I then got the rice, beef, egg and vegetables thingy from the other day but curry instead of black pepper flavour. The girls decided to just eat some stuff that they had back at the dorms, so then we headed back. Unfortunately Sharni missed the day as she stayed at the dorm with vomiting and diarrhoea. Sophie was also pretty sick, Danny was nauseated and I also had the runs. We all ate the same thing for lunch yesterday, so we are thinking it's food poisoning from that. I felt pretty shit house in the arvo so I just watched Netflix, went to the toilet (I don't even know how many times) and slept for a bit. When I woke up I was so sweaty and foggy, it was like I had just gotten out of the shower. Despite my upset tummy, I have still been hungry all afternoon (maybe I have worms...). Apparently a bunch of people played volleyball in the afternoon and then one group of people were heading to hotpot for dinner and another group were going on a bit of a walk/did the mountain behind campus. Sophie and I decided to head out and go to the juice place and get soda and cranberry drinks and vegetable fried rice and headed back to the dorms and retreated back into our respective rooms to hide from the world. After a while I did my physio stretches and convinced my self that I had energy for a shower. Now, I am laying in bed wide awake a midnight because I slept all arvo. Whoops. Oh well, at least my tummy has settled and tomorrow should be a better day. Night xoRead more

  • Day9

    Day 9 - the official program begins

    July 10, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ 🌧 27 °C

    Hey travel journal,
    It was a late start today with the lecture not starting until 10am. After getting ready and heading downstairs we headed over to the main building. We had a big introduction and got booklets that outlines the two week program. And went over our timetable for the two weeks. Then we passed the microphone around and everyone introduced themselves by name, uni and major. The other two schools are all nursing students. Last year so was qut so they get so confused that we are all completely different majors. We have the same group number as the other two groups put them together. But makes it fun. Then we headed out onto the main steps and got a big group photo and then headed out for a campus tour with our individual buddies. Except we didn't really do it, we just went to the library. It's pretty cool. There was circle stair case in the middle that went up to the third floor. Its a big circle and on the bottom floor were swinging love seats and couches and computers and stuff. It's pretty cool. Then we headed back to the conference room and ate sooo much food at the epic buffet they put on for us. There was rice, chicken, port, fish, dumplings, salad, fruit, cake and fruit juice. It was insane. So much food. And there were three buddies with birthdays this month so they had a birthday cake and after singing happy birthday it got cut up and spread around. After we all ate way to much we headed back to the dorms. We were meant to go to the Australian embassy tonight but there has been a government 4pm lock down for the typhoon. So we put our stuff down and Sophie, Sam, Sara and I headed out to food street to get some fruit. Once we got back and put what we had in the fridge we headed up stairs and I was antisocial for most of the afternoon. To be honest its a pretty good day to be in the dorm because I have had the worst upset stomach this arvo. So I just sat and watched Netflix and iced my knee. Around dinner time I went down stairs and got my welcome lunch left overs (dumplings) and fruit and had that as dinner. Then when I got the urge to start studying for my essay I went out to the lounge room and joined the other girls. They played cards and watched tennis and we all just chatted and waited for the storm to blow in. After a bit I went and had a shower and crawled into bed. After doing my Peter prescribed exercises and watched more Netflix and now I'm gonna crash. Hoping the storm passes quickly so that classes tomorrow aren't cancelled because I really want to do acupuncture and mindfulness. Crossing my fingers and toes. Night xoRead more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Beitou District, Beitou, 北投區