I don’t mean to be dramatic or anything, but I think China is finally going to kill me this time.
(Okay, so maybe I do mean to be just the teensiest bit dramatic. I mean, have you met me? When am I not trying to be dramatic? Besides, I’m sick. This gives me, like, a total free pass to be as dramatic as I want, okay?)
It all started this past Sunday when I woke up with a headache and a sore throat. I wasn’t that concerned at first. I had gone out the night before with a friend, and we had ended up in a dance club that happened to be blaring Chinese pop music from the sound system and America’s Funniest Home Videos on the huge video screens above the dance floor. So, I mean, that was definitely reason enough for the headache. And the club was really smoky and, okay, maybe I saw fit to sing along a bit even though I don’t really know any Chinese pop music. So, yeah, that explained the sore throat.
But by Monday, I was a phlegmy, woozy, coughy, sneezy mess.Sure, this may just sound like the common cold to you.
But, I assure you, there is nothing common about getting a cold in China. The past two times I’ve come down with a cold, it’s resulted in a lingering lung infection — the kind of lung infection that afflicts turn of the century orphans and coal miners. You know, the kind that doesn’t go away for two months. And, even then, you suspect it’s not totally gone. It’s just lurking in your body waiting to kill you after a raucous night at the Chinese dance club.
So, yeah, if you don’t hear from me in a week or so, it’s probably because I’ve finally succumbed to Black Lung or the Plague or whatever old timey disease China has been trying to kill me off with for the past year.
In case I do die, I would like you all to remember me like this:
And not like this:I don’t understand it, really.
I’ve been doing everything I can to stay healthy this year.
I’ve been stuffing myself full of fruit everyday. Okay, so, yeah, most of that fruit has been served on top of pancakes with a side of bacon.
I’ve been working out – like at the gym and everything.
I’ve been drinking tons of fluids. So, okay, a lot of those fluids have been alcohol. But, I think we can all agree, that if your drinks are made out of ingredients you can’t pronounce and look like this, then they’re pretty much the same thing as a smoothie:
And, according to the Qingdao Wine Museum, wine is pretty much the answer to any and all health woes.
My little health kick has been working out really well so far. I’m able to run for a full hour without wheezing to death. I noticed some muscles in my upper arm the other day. I’ve been so full of positive energy that a few of my friends have threatened to slap me. And I didn’t get sick once this winter.And it was a really long, cold winter. If I was going to get sick anytime this year, it would have been this winter.
This winter was so bad that it made me do a few things I’m not entirely proud of. Like I bought a pair of Ugg-like boots. And wore them. In public. On several occasions.
Mind you, the big problem this winter was not the temperature outside but the temperature inside. You see, I live in a big, drafty concrete building, which does not have any insulation or central heating. It’s been about as cozy as a parking garage in here. Except without the nice toasty exhaust fumes to keep me warm.
It hasn’t helped that my heater has been on the fritz pretty much all winter. I resorted to carrying my own personal heater around with me all the time.
And then a month or so ago, I noticed it was giving off this weird smell like it was melting. Because, well, it was melting. At that point I probably should have stopped using it, but I was cold. Like, really, really cold. Besides, I figured that a little electrical fire in my apartment would really help warm things up nicely.
Mind you, it’s not just my delicate, central-heating-spoiled foreigner self who has suffered this winter. In January, I asked one of my students where he would travel to if he could go anywhere, and he answered Russia. When I asked him why, he responded because they have central heating there. “When you go inside, you feel warm,” he said with such wonder in his voice.
Yes, this winter was that bad.
So bad that you actually entertain the thought of moving to Russia so you can get warm.But in the past month, spring has finally sprung.
The birds have been singing.
The cherry blossoms have been blossoming and sending tiny white petals all over the sidewalks like confetti.
Everyone’s shrugged off the big, puffy, winter parkas they’ve been wearing for months to don their springtime finery – which in China means lots of lace, bows, sparkles and, of course, leopard print. Even for the men.
And it’s not just the people. The dogs are also decked out in their seasonal best.
I momentarily stopped wearing scarves all the time. Even though I love wearing scarves all the time. I feel nothing fancies up a boring outfit like a nice scarf. Plus, I like to think scarves make me look sophisticated and European-like.I can’t believe I made it through the worst of the winter without so much as a sniffle only to get sick now. I mean, I don’t think I would have minded dying so much back when I couldn’t feel my toes. But now it just seems extra mean of China to try to kill me off when the weather’s been so nice.
But, I’m not going down without a fight, China. You hear me?
I’ve been stuffing myself full of oranges and Vitamin C.
I made a pot of chicken soup the size of Kansas.
I’ve pulled out the hardcore green tea – the kind that looks like twigs. Because, you know, the more your tea looks like nature, the more antioxidants it’s got in it, I’m sure of it.
Now, just to stock up on some beer and wine. And some margaritas. Because, hey, even if it doesn’t help me kick this cold, at least I’ll die happy.What’s your secret remedy for battling the common cold?