Friday, August 24, 2007

Allergies on a Friday afternoon...first experience with Taiwan medical facilities

Everything started off as normal today. My mood was pretty good. Its a Friday after all. I'm normally a happy person on Fridays.

For lunch, we tried a new restaurant called Caterpilla today. It serves Mexican and Western food but though the food was all right, we were the ONLY customers during lunch time. Horrors! That is really really bad in Taiwan. Competition is so tough for the food industry, I'm sure Caterpillar can't last very much longer.

The weather was really good today. (Perhaps too good?!?) The sun was shining and it was HOT HOT HOT, which I must say is a nice change from the drizzy sort of weather I've gotten accustomed too in Taipei. (I've experienced 3 typhoons in my 28 days here. So that's alot of wet weather for you :B).

Anyway, I started experiencing a slight headache in the afternoon and figuring that I need to have a clear mind when I'm reading those "old-so-boring" contracts, I asked my colleague for a pain killer. She gave me HALF a capsule of Ibuprofin. Within 45 minutes, I started getting an allergic reaction. (which i didn't know at that time!)

First, my left eye started to swell. We weren't sure what it was so they asked the driver to send me to the eye doctor. But on the way there, my right eye started to swell and my voice became scratchy and I started to feel a pressure on my chest. Oh-oh, that's not an EYE problem!!!

Okay, emergency time. Driver makes an illegal U-turn and starts heading for another hospital. At this point in time, my face is all PUFFED up, eyes start getting teary and vision starts blurring. So, we ended up at 博仁综合医院. Okay, my experience as follows:
1) Went to register
2) Went upstairs to see a doctor (realized they jumped my queue and sent me to a doctor immediately- (who is in charge of the 神经内科) (hence, no waiting :))
3) Doctor confirms its an allergy and writes me a slip for medication
4) Go downstairs to pay at the counter
5) Go to another counter to collect medicine
6) Go to the emergency ward for the jab and then....

Nurse takes a look at my medication and loudly says...."No, this medicine can't be right" and proceeds to make a couple of phone calls to clarify. OH NOOOOOO, what is going on here? (Note: By this time, I'm a little disorientated which happens to be a common allergic symptom)
For more information on common allergic symption, please refer to:

They changed my medicine and gave me a refund before giving me the jab. OUCH! IT REALLY REALLY HURT and I'm NOT being a baby about it!! It was like one of the MOST PAINFUL jabs I've had in my life

Went back to the office, took my stuff and LEFT. The anti-histemine drug was making me really tired and giddy. Anyway, my eyes were also soooo puffed up that my vision was blurry. Driver sent me home and I went to bed straight away.

Woke up feeling better and had dinner. Made arrangements to join a field trip to Yi-lan county tomorrow morning. Meeting time is 7.25am!! OH-OH. Yeah, but I'm still going. Can't miss a day with mother nature and some whale watching. :) Pretty excited.
So anyway, I'm still feeling a little oooooozzzyyyyy but I guess I will be fine tomorrow. Carpe diem yah....SEIZE THE DAY. Every minute and second counts.......

An anti-histemine cartoon. (No point not laughing about it....:) )

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rome and Carthage - Lessons to learn

I'm reading a book on the history of mankind. In one of the chapters, it covered the clash between Rome and Carthage. Based on what I read, it was no surprise how Rome became an empire in those early days. I found it very inspiring and feel it is a lesson to learn from as the fundamentals can also be applied to our daily lives.
Let me summarize it as follows:

In the early times Rome had been the only strongly fortified city in central Italy, but it had always offered a hospitable refuge to other Latin tribes who happened to be in danger of attack. The Latin neighbours had recognised the advantages of a close union with such a powerful friend and they had tried to find a basis for some sort of defensive and offensive alliance. Other nations, Egyptians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, even Greeks, would have insisted upon a treaty of submission on the part of the "barbarians". The Romans did nothing of the sort. They gave the "outsider" a chance to become partners in a common "res publica" or common wealth. The "outsider" appreciated this generosity and he showed his gratitude by his unswervering loyalty.

Whenever a Greek city had been attacked, the foreign residents had moved out as quickly as they could. But when the enemy was before the gates of Rome, all the Latins rushed to her defence. It was their true "home" even if they lived a hundred miles away and had never seen the walls of the sacred Hills.

Fall of the year 218 before the birth of Christ, Hannibal, a Carthaginian general defeated the roman armies battle after battle. He marched from one end of the peninsula to the other, proclaiming himself the "deliverer from the yoke of Rome" and asking the different provinces to join him in warfare upon the mother city. Then once more the wisdom of Rome bore noble fruit. With the exceptions of Capua and Syracuse, all Roman cities remained loyal.

Hannibal, the deliverer, found himself opposed by the people whose friend he pretended to be. And after many years of uninterrupted victories, as the Italian peasants held aloof from this self-appointed "deliverer, Hannibal found himself besiged in the country which he had just conqureed.

In the year 190 BC, Hannibal driven from one city to another, a fugitive without a home, his beloved city of Carthage in ruin by war and condemned to pay the Romans millions of dollars for endless years to come, Hannibal took poison and killed himself.

Without speaking the obvious, I hope you found it as meaningful as I found it.

Vera in a box...Vera in an organic grocery bag

My sister and her husband are very fond of putting their koochi-ku daughter in all sorts of prove my point......

Vera in a Bag on the way to shopping

Vera in a box as they were shifting house
No babies were hurt during this photoshoot.
Hell, apparently that crazy kid liked it so much! SHE'S OUTTA THIS WORLD!!!

Vulgarness - if you are 14 and below, please don't read this.

* Disclaimer - The content below can be rather crude depending on which planet you are from. Please proceed at your own risk *

I received an sms from my friend *who requested not to be named* 2 minutes ago.

The SMS went like this:

F.U.C.K stands for " Friends U Can Keep"
So promise me, you'll F.U.C.K me 4ever!
Of cos I'll F.U.C.K u 4ever 2. Ha.ha.ha.ha.
Send to all ur frends, & see who F.U.C.Ks you back.

So I'm on MSN with this same friend *who requested not be be named*

And the both of us proceeded F.U.C.K-ing back and forth ending friend saying
Promise me...You'll F.U.C.K me forever.
And my response was...
Yah..yah..I'm F.U.C.K ing I'm F.U.C.K ing !!!

MessageBox.Show("Hello World. Jamie from Taipei")

All right...........I haven't blogged for eons so I am kinda lost for words at the moment. How shall I start?
*jamie thinks real hard*
Well, so many things have happened over the past few weeks that I have kinda lost momentum on what to blog about - yup! finding it hard to find a place to start recapping.

Okay, let's start with: I'm sitting here in my little apartment in Taipei and I've been here for several weeks now. Actually, I arrived in Taipei on July 28th. That would be 27 days ago. Wow! Its almost a MONTH! OOOhhhh-hooooo. That was FAST!!!

Life is not bad here and I didn't have much difficulty fitting in although I have to admit that the traditional chinese bit was mind boggling in the first few days that I was here. But after the 2nd week, I started getting used to it and am learnin new words everyday.

The company put me in a pretty cool place with swimming pool, gym and what not. My home in Taipei is just 15 mins away from my work place, 10 mins away from 101 building (and all the shopping), 5 mins away from Carrefour, 10 mins away from Living Mall (which is another fab shopping mall with a nice cinema). I've been to the movies 3 times already since I've been here because its just SOOO convenient. Hell, I sure ain't complaining! Ok, ok, I'm just counting my blessings MAN but yup, I'll stop raving!

Tan Moon Cake said this afternoon to me: "Sis, your blog is SO boring...there are no updates!"

Well..yeah....the update is...I've been really busy with work and in the evenings I'm also pretty engaged with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Visual Basics - my latest craze. ...
I've progressed from coding MessageBox.Show("Hello World") to now writing a program that input and output data from an sql server using visual basics. My little employee database. (I'm an aspiring owner of a company. :) )

Okay, my colleague was really puzzled when she asked me what I did in the evenings at home. She must be thinking OH POOR JAMIE....ALL ALONE IN TAIPEI and yup, I had to prove her right by telling her my amusement is coding. She replies: "And why are you doing this in the evening when you should be relaxing after a hard day's work? Like shopping!" And at this point in time, her eyes light up at the mere mention of shopping. (even window shopping, her eyes light me!)

WHAT!!! @#$%@#$%, well firstly, I DO find it rather relaxing -- except when I start getting a stupid compilation error that won't go away. At that point in time, I want to smash my computer in -- but Shopping?!?!? I think I would end up more stressed up than I would be BEFORE I start this so called "theurapeutic" treament. Erm..thanks but no thanks.

So any way....CHAK Bro!!!! here is my blog update. YES, I insist on having the last word especially when it comes to YOU. Anyway, you know I adore you .....guy with the ugly hair. But I must win, I MUST I MUST. I'm such a fighter cock.

Okay, zip zip zip. Back to reality and back to my life in Taipei....on the weekends and evenings...I have recently started putting more effort into cooking. I'm a damn lousy cook...but the good news is...I'm NOT a fussy eater I don't waste too much food.

Okay, here is a picture of the first dish I cooked since I came here: - (Very simple but it was fun). And after weeks of practice...I'm starting to be able to whip up quick 15 min meals. :) I affectionately call my meals.....commando training for the stomach. :)))))