Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Deja Vu -- not again!?!

Being pregnant is an interesting ride. A couple weeks ago, Sam and I were siting in church when I started to feel a little dizzy. I told Sam, but we thought we would just wait until the sacrament was over before getting up to go lay down. Bad idea. Right after the bread was passed, I passed out! Poor Sam had to try to figure out what to do and try to hold me up while I slid off the chair. Sam and another brother carried me upstairs to a bed. Church is held in a house and our congregation is not large, so pretty much everyone saw the pregnant woman get carried out of sacrament meeting. After I came to, we went to a doctor and everything was fine. Probably just a momentary fit of low blood pressure or something.
However, last Sunday, during the sacrament (of course, when else?!), I started to feel dizzy again! I was so mad despite the wooziness because it was exactly like last time! I could not believe it was happening again at exactly the same time and exactly the same place! This time we decided not to wait for me to pass out, but to try to get up stairs first. However, standing up wasn't a good idea either, I just fainted walking instead of sitting. Once again, everyone watched while the pregnant lady was carried out of sacrament meeting and up the stairs! At least this time we got both the bread and the water first...

Can Opener

Sam and I were thrilled to find some tomato sauce at the store. However, upon returning home we realized we did not own a can opener. "No problem," we mused, "we will just ask a neighbor to borrow their can opener." So Sam went out to ask while I started dinner. When Sam returned, our can was open; however, I think our neighbor's idea of a can opener and our idea of a can opener was a little different. Oh well, a 10-inch butcher knife jammed through the lid works too...

(P.S. I am listening to my other neighbor wail in the hall at the top of his lungs as I write this entry. Just thought you might want to know =)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Some of the more... pleasant... parts of living in China

So, I hope everyone who reads this blog doesn't think that I hate it here. We actually are really having a blast! Its just that I usually blog about the funny/unusual things about living abroad, so just laugh with me as I laugh my way through the oddities of China! =)

So spitting seems to be a universally uniting commonality among the Chinese. Having someone hawk up a big one and spit right in front of you is like saying "Good morning! How are you today?" I know people in the States spit too -- its just that it is usually quietly done into a Kleenex or toilet in the privacy of the bathroom. Here, spiting is a very public thing that REQUIRES a loud, guttural hawking to take place prior to discharge. If its not loud, it surly cannot be effective. Sam and I are privileged every morning during breakfast to hear our neighbor walk down the hall, hack a big one, and spit it in the hallway. It always makes my breakfast more appetizing. Everyday we pause, listen, grimace, and then laugh, shaking our heads at the life we have chosen to live!

Wake up and smell the...
Another daily morning occurrence is walking out from our apartment, looking at the beautiful day, and inhaling a big fresh breath of... STENCH! I'm not sure why is must REEK to high heaven, but China is just a stinky place! It is second nature to me now to hold my breath anywhere near any and all grates in the ground. But even with this precaution, I am often out, minding my own business, when I am suddenly sucker-punched with a whiff of something from who knows where that makes me want to throw up the baby! China smells really bad!!

So for a very long time we thought we had a mentally disabled neighbor who would come out and pace the hallway wailing, barking, whining, and otherwise making VERY strange sounds. Of course, we were understanding of anyone with a disability. However, after a few months of listening to our "handicapped" neighbor, I decided I just HAD to take a peek at who he was. Upon slipping my head out the door, I was surprised to learn that this man was not disabled, but was just an old grandpa walking the halls with his baby grandchild in arms. What?! A "normal" person makes noises like that!? And at top volume in an apartment complex with very sound-permeable walls?! On top of that, I had never before heard the baby make a noise - so his howling hardly seemed necessary to "calm" the kid. It is as though the man wails so that the child cannot think about wailing itself. I wish I had a recording so you could hear for yourself how VERY odd these sounds are...

When all should be asleep
Last night Sam and I were all snuggled in bed ready to let sleep take us, when we heard a drum begin to beat above us. Keep in mind, its pretty late. Okay, so we try to ignore whoever is drumming upstairs. Then another sound, this time in the hall, greets our ears -- Hammering. Hammering?! Who decides to start hammering something in the hall at after 11 at night?! So after listening the the alternating bangs of the hammer and drum for a few minutes, Sam and I just looked at each other and laughed!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Amy D. Curtis, R.N.

So I am thrilled to report that I FINALLY took my NCLEX (nursing registration) exam. I stayed overnight in Hong Kong on Tuesday last week with a total stranger who was kind enough to let me stay the night (You gotta love the Mormon network. I emailed one person who emailed others, and I had a place to stay within two hours of sending the first email!) I woke up at 4:30 am Wednesday, April 8th (the morning of my test) and could not go back to sleep -- nerves, gotta love em. I got to the testing center with plenty of time to spare (try two hours early! The last thing I wanted was to be lost in Hong Kong when I should be testing. Maybe I over did it a little...).

The testing center felt like death row:
-I had to finger print and take a picture every time I went in and out of the testing room; audio and video recording was taken the whole time.
-I had to raise my hand to go to the bathroom, and then be escorted out.
-They would only allow me to take unwrapped cough drops in (they wouldn't even let me take naked tums in -- come on people! I'm pregnant and I NEED those tums!!)
-They checked my mouth to make sure I wasn't eating anything upon entry.
-They even removed my visas from my passport because they were "loose paper" and I could not have them with me - oh please!

Anyway, this test has anywhere from 75 to 265 questions. It just shuts off when it is 95% sure you either passed or failed. My test shut off at 75 questions and I almost cried I was so happy! I had already taken 2 hours and 40 minutes on 75 questions -- I would definitely have run out of time if I had to do 265 questions (maximum time is 6 hours). Besides, by then my pregnant body was already screaming to get out of there! So I feel so, so, SO blessed to have finished that early. So even though I still did not know if I had passed or not, I was thrilled just to be done! Anyway, I checked Friday night before I went to bed to see if my results were up, and they were not. However, Sam got up to go to the bathroom at 1 am and decided to check if the results were in. Sure enough, I passed!!! Sam refrained from waking me right then, but he did wake me in the morning with breakfast in bed. My breakfast plate had a name tag saying "Amy D. Curtis, R.N."!!!