taiwan, day #1.

holy. cow.

it is 5:30pm my time, which means it is probably about 3:30am your time.
i have serious jet lag and want to crawl into bed for the next twelve hours.  but let’s just start at the beginning, shall we?

after a tearful goodbye with my eternal companion, i stumbled drunkedly onto an airplane.  i put on a brave face, but every time i thought about how stupid i was for leaving him for four weeks, the tears would begin to come, and i would have to force them down.  i kept thinking, “why am I doing this?  what could possess me to leave the most perfect man in the world for four weeks?”  let’s just say, i was an emotional wreck.  and everything seems a little bit worse when i am tired.  and i am really, really tired.

by the time we arrived in LAX, i was feeling much better.  i had my last meal of real american food at mcdonalds, because i knew i wouldn’t taste french fries for another seven weeks.  [it’s weird, the things that go through your head when you go away for awhile.  {brother sam, beware – there may not be saracha in peru…}] then we waited for our next plane at the terminal.  this is when i became a minority.  me and twelve other girls piling onto an airplane full of chinese and taiwanese people.  suddenly i didn’t understand anything the stewardesses{who were all gorgeous} were saying and i felt too shy to ask for a drink of water{when i finally did ask, i got a glass of hot water – as i was warned would happen.}  (don’t worry, i am now drinking an ice cold coke zero from the sev.  so i’m good.)  i then took two tylenol pm and said bye bye to the world for about eight hours.  lovely.

here comes the exciting part – we arrive!  we arrived in taiwan and rode a bus to the train station.  while there, i had my first encounter with real taiwanese food.  let me tell you – walking into that seven eleven was scary!  i didn't recognize one single thing!  john has told me about many “delicious” things to eat here, but i didn’t even know where to start.  i was completely overwhelmed.  so i settled on a steamed meat bun thingy that turned out pretty good:

sadly, i can’t understand when someone tells me how much something is.  despite all of john’s hard work drilling numbers into me, i still stare at the cashier with a blank face for several seconds before i finally figure out what the real price is.  does anyone know mandarin for “slower?”  because i think if they just spoke a little bit more slowly, i wouldn’t have to look so dumb!  haha.  goodness, i am going to have to start counting my steps….

then we chilled for awhile and admired asian babies from afar.  i love asian babies.  they are all adorable without exception until they are about six.  from there, i can’t guarantee that they are quite as cute.  we smiled and played with this baby on the high-speed rail:

we admired scenery throughout the train ride.  i quickly began to love the rice fields mixed with five-story buildings, millions of mopeds, colorful signs, and tropical plants.  i am in awe with how different it is here – how different the taiwanese people’s way of life is.  but this place is so much more incredible than just that.

we were picked up by jane, who is a beautiful nurse at the hospital where we will be working.  she arranged for our ride to the apartment, showed us around, and even bought us cookies.  she is the epitome of what people here are like – incredibly and genuinely nice.  way nicer than people are in the united states.  although i think ya’ll are quite nice, the taiwanese got ya spanked.  it kind of inspires me – i want to be willing to offer up whatever complete strangers need out of the kindness of my heart.  {within reason, of course – i have yet to see any beggars here, so perhaps that makes it easier to be giving, knowing that nobody is just seeking handouts?} 

i almost got run over by a scooter.  {mom – you would fit in perfectly here!  everyone drives a scoot.  you would dig it.}  i have seen a four-person family crammed all onto one scooter, a feat that i would have thought impossible.  and there are lots of “street dogs” running around.  and we saw a dead cat.  and there are all kinds of interesting smells…. and my clothes are literally stuck to my body with sweat.  but other than all of that, i love it here.  i am exhausted – slaphappy really, and keep going through ups and downs of – “i should never have come here….” to, “i freaking love this place!”

until tomorrow.....

{the hospital where we will be doing clinicals}

{our apartment building}


some photos of our week:

1. sam's libby concert.
2&3. flower shopping with mom.
4. my draw something skeleton drawing, which i am very proud of.  i am a nursing student at heart.
5. this sight gives me butterflies.
6. alfredo pizza.  i am going to miss you while i'm abroad.
7. a drive in gas station! seriously, you pull up and give your drink order.  genius.
8. banana pancakes that sweet john made for me when i was feeling under the weather.  


in a week.

in one week i will be getting on a plane.
and i won't return for seven weeks.

i am so excited for taiwan.  i am anxious to learn about the people, the culture, the healthcare, and the food.  {i am especially anticipating the food}.  i am sure i will be shocked and confused at some points, frustrated at others, and lonely and homesick at still others.  i am sure there will be happy moments and sad.  but i know that i will learn a great number of things, and that i will be able to grow tremendously through the experience.  i am nervous and excited for the next seven weeks that are ahead.  



yesterday with the fam:
we played basketball, jumped on the tramp, and andy even introduced me to dragonvale.  john got a haircut - thanks melissa!  and we celebrated with ice cream on the way home {seriously, i can always find an excuse to get ice cream!} we finished the night off with arrested development and are pumped for the new season/movie to come out! {if it ever does....}


finals week, the weekend, and other recent happenings.

now that finals week is done, {and my cortisol levels have diminished significantly,} i am thinking much more clearly.  i probably no longer have impaired glucose control, or sleep deprivation.  {all three are things that happen when an individual is in a crisis situation, as i have learned in psychology.}  this clarity has brought along a lot of peace about everything in my life.  something i have been seeking after for quite some time.  

the weekend was fun.  although i had an icu final, after that i told john we would do nothing but play!  {it was raining outside anyway, so there was no chance of doing yardwork - for which john was grateful!}  we ate cafe rio for lunch, went shooting {one of my favorite saturday dates!}, and went to hibachi with ryan and janessa for dinner:  

i've decided that i love hibachi.  it is worth going for the fried rice alone!  and we had the "fuzzy wuzzy" sushi as well. {isn't that a funny name?} so by the time my steak came, i was already full....

other recent happenings:  

spending tuesday and wednesday with the family and spending about ten hours playing mario party with andy jack {and going on bike rides.... and having sword fights.... all things i love!}

preparing for taiwan and getting the butterflies every time i think about it

planning our last temple trip before i go abroad

drinking lots of diet coke

anything but studying


to celebrate my last day of classes...

to celebrate my last day of winter semester classes (ever!).... buffalo wild wings with the fam and a late-night treat.


sammy's famous pie shakes.

saturday date:  dinner at sammy's for a delicious pumpkin pie cheesecake shake.


happy easter!

john harman made this cool egg.  


his name is rafiki, and he's my future pet.

 say hello to rafiki, my future pet.
he's a cotton-top tamarin, and i'm in love with him.  

i went to the zoo with my family on wednesday, {yay for spring break!  boo for john working, since he couldn't come} and we had lots of fun.

and we went to five guys after for delicious burgers and fries!
{sidenote: john wonders why i have a hard time making nice faces in pictures?  observe....}
happy thursday!


to the graduated nurse me.

dear graduated nurse paige,

remember how hard it was to follow nurses around when you were in school?  you knew each day that you were slowing them down, driving them crazy with your questions, and making a fool of yourself.  no matter how much you knew, and how smart you appeared, you still had questions, insecurities, and hoped and prayed that you would successfully start the next IV.

please don't forget me!  please don't forget nursing student paige, who missed all three IVs during her ER day.  don't forget nursing-student paige, who stressed over tests, and assignments, and prayed every day that she would make it through nursing school in one piece.  don't forget how she stressed all throughout nursing school about passing that dreaded NCLEX.  don't forget her resolve to be a wonderful nurse.  don't forget her hopes that she would one day be calm, and competent, and a stellar preceptor for nursing students to follow; that she would teach well, and give opportunities to learn, and not care if a nursing student was slowing her down.

and please don't think that just because you made it through the so far greatest challenge of your life, that nursing is the most fulfilling thing you will ever do.  because, it isn't.

"no career can bring you as much fulfillment as rearing a family."
m. russel ballard