Dentist experience number 2

Hi everyone! So, I’ve got a new story for you all. Yup, it’s all about the dentist. And guess what?! I get to go back, again, next week!

So, I had done well with the temporary filling. It was starting to disintegrate, but that wasn’t a problem. I went back to the office today at 1:30pm. I had a couple of people come along for the experience as well. Janelle came so I wouldn’t be going by myself. Then, Daniel decided to join us. Tim was only going to show us the way there, but since it now “seem[ed] like a party”, he decided to stay. I am so glad that they all came. I would’ve been freaking out otherwise. And having Tim there as the voice of reason (as well as the person that could speak Mandarin) was super helpful and comforting.

Alrighty, so, we got there and sat down at a table in the waiting area. One of the receptionists brought us all some steaming, hot water to drink. Don’t bash it, it’s good and it keeps you warm. I got called into the back room with a bunch of people. One of the assistants spoke some English. She explained to me that since the hole in my tooth was so large, they were going to have to do an inlay. Don’t know what that is? Google is a wonderful thing. I had three options – a 6,000 yuan option, 5,500 yuan option, and a 5,000 yuan option. I definitely only had 2,000 yuan with me. So, I got up and walked out of the room to go talk with Tim, Janelle, and Daniel. Tim ended up coming back to the room with me to ask if I could pay the 2,000 now and bring 3,000 yuan later. That was fine. So, he left to go back and hang out with Janelle and Daniel, while I got to sit back and have 2 to 5 people hovering over my mouth at different points in time.

They gave me a numbing shot (which is still in effect, btw), and then proceeded to drill away at my tooth. Once they finished that, I rinsed out my mouth and they took several different molds of my teeth. Both the top and bottom sets on the left side of my mouth. Then, more putty was stuck into the hole of my tooth. Once that dried, they covered it with some sort of other paste. Another temporary. Great. So, I currently have a new temporary filling in my mouth.

I go back in exactly 1 week for the inlay. So, next Sunday at 1:30pm, I will be back at the dentist office for (hopefully) the last step in fixing this tooth of mine. I have a week to exchange and get the rest of the money that I need.

Just so you can all have a guesstimate of how much this costs.. 5,000 yuan equals about $790 US dollars. Sounds like fun, yeah? No, not really. But hey, as long as this tooth gets fixed.. That’s all I really care about at this point. No more pain. Just pray that this temporary doesn’t pop out before my next visit, yeah? If it comes out before next Sunday, then that’ll be another trip to the dentist for another temporary filling.

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Year of the Dragon

Gung Hay Fat Choy! (I know I know…It’s Cantonese when I am learning Mandarin. Oh well, it’s the one I know how to say.) Happy New Year everyone! Last night, we attended a banquet that was for the international students of Xiamen University. We got to toast to the new year with the president of the university. He came around to our tables. The food was so good! It was a 14 course meal. We had crab, shrimp, soup, duck, pot stickers, fish…the list just goes on.

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Toasting to the new year

Toasting to the new year

After dinner, at about 7 or 8pm, we tuned into one of the main tv channels in the guys’ suite and we watched this tv program that they put together for this. SO much more entertaining than watching the ball drop at midnight. There were comedy skits, music, dancers, etc. It was really cool. Think Beijing 2008 but with less people and at a smaller scale. I think that all of sixteen of us were in that little room at one point. We didn’t understand basically all of it, but some of the group was coming up with commentary for it. Some was way out there, but some of it actually wasn’t that far out of the ballpark. One we got pretty close to figuring out. I stayed up watching it till midnight with some of the guys.

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Tonight, all of us walked towards the convention center. We didn’t make it all the way before the fireworks started. So, we found a raised hill on the side of the street to go up on, and we watched the show from there. The fireworks were cool. There was a ton. The show went for about 40 minutes straight. However, as we were walking back, I saw some more going off behind us. Spring Festival has begun. Classes resume in the morning for those of us in CSP, however, the rest of the campus won’t be coming back until sometime in February when their classes start back up again. Well, I need to do my reading for tomorrow’s afternoon class. The year of the Dragon has started. Happy New Year! 🙂

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The Dentist

Unlike everyone else, I had a very different orientation experience. While everyone else was getting acquainted with the campus and the immediate surrounding area, I got a totally unique experience of my own. I got to take a trip to the DENTIST. Story time!

Ok, our last night in Hong Kong, right before dinner, Janelle, one of the girls, offered me a Hi Chew, which is a pretty soft candy. After two bites, there was a pain in my third tooth in from the back on the bottom left side, and I bit something hard in my candy. “Oh no..” I took the candy out, and sure enough, there was a pretty good sized chunk of my tooth that had come off. This is the night before we fly to Xiamen. Great. I experimented to see how I would react to drinking water. Lots of pain. Great. Just great. I handled the night by eating small amounts and funneling water to the other side of my mouth.

A piece of my tooth fell out!

A piece of my tooth fell out!

The hole in my tooth

The hole in my tooth

(For those of you who don’t know, almost the exact thing happened to me about a week before I was supposed to leave on a tooth on the bottom right side…)

The next day, we packed up, went to the airport and flew to Xiamen. After setting all our stuff down in our rooms at Xiamen University, we headed down to meet Tim downstairs for our instructions. Everyone was divided into groups with instructions to visit different places on campus and off campus. While they did that, Tim took me to meet Yili at the bus stop so she could take me to the dentist. I got to ride in a taxi. One of the scariest things of my life. Maybe I’ll get used to it. I don’t know. It is just craziness and thinking you are going to die because it seems like you come close to crashing every few minutes or seconds even.

At the dentist, we waited for a while and eventually, I was called into the back where they checked out my tooth. Turns out, I have a large cavity near the nerve of my tooth, which is why it broke and why it hurt. The dentist decided to put a temporary filling on it to see how I do. If there is any pain within the week, I’m supposed to call and come in right away for a root canal. Yuck! But, if I am fine until my appointment date (January 29th), then I will be getting just a filling. Going back for my appointment will be interesting…I’ll need to either take the bus, or a taxi. Probably by myself. *inward cringe* I’ll be fine. It is just unsettling to not be able to understand or be understood. They speak a little English at the dentist office, which is really helpful and calming. Especially since I know little to no Chinese.

My temporary filling

My temporary filling

So far, the temporary filling seems to be fine. So, it is looking like I will only have to deal with getting a filling. A root canal is not on my list of to-do while here…. The temp filling cost me about 220 Yuan. In US, that’s more or less $35.

We are here!

So, a lot has happened since I last updated you all. The biggest, being that I am in CHINA. We arrived at Xiamen University on the 18th of January. I had a very special trip that I got to make after getting all my stuff into my dorm room. That story will be in the next post because it deserves its own title.

Now, back to China. Oh my goodness. I know that we haven’t been here very long, but I love it here. There are plenty of things that are different. And, yeah, the language barrier can be difficult at times. However, I really enjoy our group and I am really looking forward to the rest of this semester.

While we were at the YMCA in Hong Kong, it really felt like we were at camp. Here in Xiamen, it really hasn’t hit us that we are in school yet. It doesn’t feel like it. We have had classes. Heck, we had our first quiz on Thursday morning in Chinese. (Side note- so many rules and characters and tones to memorize!) Homework has started as well. Even so, it doesn’t feel like we are at school. Even with classes.

We have had a lot to do the past couple of days. We had papers to fill out, things to do, errands to run, and a quiz to study for. The internet was an adventure to get set up in our room. We’re still getting it figured out…by the time I post this, I’ll either have internet set up in my dorm room OR I will have made a trip to the library to use the internet. (I ended up on Kristen’s laptop) Another adventure that most of us have embarked on is going about getting a cell phone. The beauty of cell phones is that Tim can get a hold of us or we can get a hold of him fairly easily, and we can get in touch with each other. I hadn’t bought mine yet, but I have one now. A lot of us got bus cards, and I just purchased a cell phone (Friday).

Not knowing Chinese can be a pretty large barrier. As soon as we step off campus, all we hear is Mandarin. So, until we manage to learn some more useful phrases and such, we’re pretty much limited to “duo shao qian” (how much does it cost), “qing gei wo nei ge” (Please give me that), and “xie xie” (thank you). For me and Daniel, the other Chinese American in the group, the most used phrase is “I don’t understand” or “I don’t speak Chinese.” The forms for internet and a phone are all in Chinese characters. Many of which Tim doesn’t even know. He has been able to give us the general gist of what the papers say though.

Another thing that has been a fairly big adjustment is crossing the street. You just cross. And make sure that you don’t get hit.

English Corner is in about an hour. The students get together to practice their English. We go, they get to practice on us and we get to make friends. I’m excited to go.

The Group

Since I spend basically all of my time with these people, I figure that I’ll introduce you to the CSP Spring 2012 group.

Dr. Jay is our program director. He is great.

Yili (pronounced E lee) is Dr. Jay’s wife. She is so great. Any question any of us have, she will try to answer it for us the best she can.

Tim Jones (currently called “China Tim” by the majority of the group) is the program assistant. The students before us described him as a mixture of a TA and RA. Seriously, this guy is great. He answers our questions if he knows the answers, and if not, he will try to find out. Or he’ll shrug just like the rest of us.

The Girls: Aubrey, Kristen (my roommate!), Stephanie, Sebastiana (“Tiana”), Janelle, Kayli

The Boys: Chase, Tim, Quin, Jesse, Kevin, Will, Daniel, and Colin

Still in Hong Kong

Saturday was our free day. All of us and Tim (the program assistant) took the ferry over to Macau for the day. The way Macau was described to us before we left was that Macau is the Las Vegas of China. So many people. And a lot of casinos.

All of us went to an international church in Hong Kong yesterday. After that, a group of us went to the Botanical Gardens. They were beautiful, but there was so much rain!

Class has been moving super fast. It is a lot to absorb, but I really like it. I like getting to learn Chinese. There is a lot to memorize. But that is true with any language. We have our first quiz for Chinese on Thursday. There is a lot of information to take in. We leave on Wednesday, January 18th for Xiamen.

I’m really enjoying it here and the group I’m here with is great. I’m the baby of the group, which is kind of strange. I’m not used to being the youngest. But it’s kind of fun. I’m not the one that has to make the decisions on where we go or what we do. I let all of them figure it out and I’ll go with them.

Today we had class starting at 8:30am and we ended around 11:30am. Lunch was at 12pm. And I’m am done for the day. Class-wise anyway. I need to get a few hours of studying in, though, so I think I’m going to go do that right now.

Next time I make an update, I’ll be in Xiamen!

Hong Kong

Annnnd we are in Hong Kong! It is Thursday at 4:30pm. And it is barely morning for those of you in the States, weird. I am really excited about everything here. Yesterday we got a welcome class and then we went around downtown Hong Kong after riding the MTR (it’s a metro/transportation system). We walked around a mall. Went through a market and also a wet market. Really interesting to see. And sooo excited about the food here. I bought a green tea roll filled with cream and red bean paste at one of the bakeries last night, which I had for breakfast this morning. YUM!

We had our first Chinese class this morning. And this afternoon was a lot of getting to know each other better. We are “done for the day”. As of right now, most of us are sitting outside of the cafeteria on the wifi typing away. I got to teach two people in the group a little bit about Tumblr email posting. After this, we’re going to take the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui, watch the laser show that takes place from the harbor and go to the night market. It’s Janelle’s birthday today. She just turned 21, and so tonight is going to be a birthday celebration!

We have a few more days of introductory classes for Chinese and Intercultural Communication here at the YMCA camp here in Hong Kong. Fun fact: in Hong Kong and China, the YMCA is associated with and is used by Christians.

I am loving it here so far. It’s really busy and fast paced. It really feels like camp at this point. Or even like freshman orientation, which felt like camp. It is a lot to take in and I am looking forward to everything that we are going to learn and see. I’ll try to keep you all updated as often as I can! 🙂