Yesterday I discovered that I have scabies on my face and a viral infection on my leg. Not a big deal, but very hard for me to get treatment here without lots and lots of help. My friend and translator, we’ll call her B, was there with me through the entire process of meeting with the doctor at the massive Chinese hospital, describing my symptoms over and over again to numerous nurses, doctors, and “professors”, taking me from one end of the hospital to the next and back again, and helping me navigate my way through all these places. Hard work translating for someone who is a little bit frustrated, sick, and confused, but I must say B handled it with grace, patience, and more patience.
After the whole debacle of dealing with disinfecting my apartment and taking six different medications, I received a message from B that said “Tomorrow I want to buy some material to (bring) to your apartment and show you how to cook delicious porridge. The doctor said it is better to eat something that tastes light. Is it ok?” So B came over today with her rice, her pork, her mussels, and her lettuce, showed me how to whip of rice porridge, a recipe from her hometown. She was cheerful, concerned with my face and my well being, and incredibly excited to show me how to cook porridge. We ate, we chatted, and we swapped pictures of our family and hometowns. It was absolutely delightful. This is why I love China. B used her morning off to come and see me even though she had spent several hours of her last few mornings off to help me through this viral and parasitic mess. And she did it all with a smile. So far, this has been my impression of many people here in China– selfless, patient, and caring. Despite the mess of my current skin problems, I feel very lucky to be here with the people that I have met.