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China is Killing Me Slowly

And I can’t determine if I mean that figuratively or literally or a little bit of both.

I just got out of the hospital that I vowed to never return to not even as a dead person. I’m ok, I’m not terminally ill or labelled with any dis-ease. My body is just continuously responding quickly and negatively to this toxic environment. As I write this to you, my ego is fighting me because as a frequent traveler and avid holistic plant-based yogi (can I call myself this now?) I feel the need to represent the epitome of good health and immunity. But the truth is, I’ve been in China for 7 months now and this is my second visit to the ER in this country; third in total. That’s more than my entire life. (All against my will, no less.)

I have $1600 worth of hospital bills to face in the US after catching the latest bought of deadly influenza the moment I breathed the air when I stepped off my plane in Detroit. But while this is upsetting because I haven’t ever fallen victim to the so-called “flu season” before, we’re talking about China now. Where I can’t go a full month without battling morning mucus and a nasty smoker’s cough as my body struggles to protect me from polluted air.

And, of course, that’s not all.

I told you guys I couldn’t fully say all that I want to about this place until I leave, but here’s a little premature snippet: it’s the most unsanitary and unhygienic place I’ve ever had the displeasure of noticing. In fact, our school was put under quarantine by the CDC for three months last semester because we had three active contagious viruses spreading around. One of which would’ve been deadly had I caught it, one of which should’ve been eliminated eons ago, and one of which was simply because of poor hygienic practises.

Surprise surprise.

The children would just randomly projectile vomit in the middle of class. We were given an entire briefing procedure that involved covering the vomit with some sort of thing I can’t even describe, clearing the whole room out and putting on a protective suit. Still, as crazy as this all sounds, quarantining schools seems to be a regular no big deal thing over here. I mean, nothing is really a big deal when you’re programmed to just do what you’re told and nothing else right? (Brush my teeth? But nobody told me to..)

Don’t even get me started on the hospital, where people spew blood everywhere and the ayi lazily mops it up off the floor with just a watery mop that’s kept in the corner of the room, leaving whatever went on the wall to dry. Still, I was taken there yesterday after I vomited in class and was told that it’s possible I have a bacteria in my stomach. I was first told I’d be kept for 3-5 days but thankfully they decided to release me after I finished my IV bags and sent me home with medication. (They actually gave me plant medicine so of course I take that willingly.)

TCM is great, I’ll admit, but if there are health standards by which to hold restaurants, hotels, hospitals and other places of service then everyone is in noncompliance. Easily.

That being said, eating out is a risk. Eating in is a risk too. Just eating in general. And breathing. Breathing is also a risk. Every day. Put those together and you have me. Vommitting for what’s now the fourth time since I’ve been here, which adds up to more than I’ve vomited in the last 25+ years. I’m breaking all kinds of personal records in this country.

I’ve also broken out in rashes. I’ve had one day stomach bugs multiple times. I can’t seem to get enough rest ever. And I’ve been devoid of any real, long-lasting emotion since I arrived. At one point I was disturbed about my hair falling out but even that didn’t last. I cut it all off the next day and kept on with life. I have a few should-be exciting adventures in the pipeline and im pretty nonchalant about those as well. I gave up an already purchased ticket to the Philippines just because I couldn’t bother to go anymore. I hardly practise unless I’m in a class or teaching one (another thing I should’ve been way more excited about). I hardly use my crystals. I stopped giving thanks before I eat. I no longer meditate. I stopped writing my moon intentions, quite literally leaving the last one unfinished. I have no real desires or motivations or lasting inspiration. I don’t smile much anymore. I push people back on the train, with pleasure, or stand my ground firmly if they forcefully try to go around me. I don’t think much about anything outside of work and sleep. This is what I have become. Just another cog in the Chinese machine, albeit with a little more common sense and know-how, but a robot nonetheless.

I’m not sure what else to even say. But something is happening to me here. And I don’t like it.

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