today i went out to do home hospice care with a home health nurse.  to be honest, it was a little sad.  the homes we went to were full of anticipatory grieving for the imminent death of a loved one.  all the patients had terminal cancer.  even though it was a sad experience, it was also a very touching one.  the nurse had such a great connection with the families.  she has developed a deep and caring connection with them and the patients.  

one patient passed away just yesterday.  we went to see his family and give them support.  the nurse goes to the home to give the family an opportunity to express their feelings.  i usually feel awkward in such situations, but my nurse was perfectly comfortable to cry with the family and give her condolences.  i was so impressed with her kind attitude and her expert skill in communicating with the family and showing empathy.

the dying and funeral process in taiwan is very different from death in the u.s.  here, patients rent a statue of buddha, and alter, burn incense, and keep the body in a tent in a room for seven days.  they buy fake money that they burn outside so that their loved one can take the money with them to the afterlife.  they believe that they must provide the money so that their loved one will have a comfortable life after they have passed.  

they cremate the body after seven days, and they also believe that the spirit remains in the home for 49 days.  during that time, they put food and clean clothes out for the deceased spirit each day.  it is the son's responsibility to do this, because of filial piety.

death is seen as unlucky in taiwan, so the family will be isolated from the community during this grieving time.  seeing the family, though, i was surprised by their bravery, calm manner, and strength.  the people in taiwan have such sweet spirits.  the practices surrounding death, although unfamiliar to me, show respect and reverence for life and the loved one.  i never want to forget this experience, and how impressed i was with the way my nurse comforted the family.  

and, for the evening, we did karaoke! {KTV}  it's kind of big here.  other things that are big here:
not using soap when you wash your hands after using the bathroom {aka just using water}
also, not drying your hands after you wash them
also, choosing to use squatters to relieve yourself over toilets.  {what?}
cartoons.  many people have the playboy bunny logo on their clothes {even kids and grandmas!} even in the ktv place there was a stand dedicated to hello kitty:

this is an action shot of me dancing and singing to poker face.  i am so cool.  

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