First off, I rarely get sick at all. If I do get “sick” it is a 24 hour case that fails to slow me down. Minnesota weather can tend to be very unpredictable; meaning the body needs to improvise with the changing surroundings. I brush off illness as easily as my home state brushes off snow days. With that being said, I underestimated my initial sick symptoms.


I woke up with a very sore throat, and quite an unusual amount of nose sniffles. My first remedy to curing my sickness is to eat a shit-ton of oranges. My diet is quite different in China (and not necessarily for the better) and my lack of vitamin-C is problematic. Anyways, after eating some oranges I continued on my usual Thursday, which includes  3x 2hour English classes and my own 2 hour Mandarin class. I finished the day with completing a decent amount of homework (my master’s semester was coming to a end) and went to bed feeling fine.


The same sore throat and nose sniffles are back with a vengeance. Fridays I don’t teach so I usually sleep in until 9 A.M, but I was having a bad case of the cold shakes and frequent throat difficulties that I rarely slept. I still had Mandarin class at 1:00PM and I made sure to get there on time. Ironically, my lesson that I had just started was labeled Going to the doctor. Needless to say, I was not amused yet all the teachers at my learning center thought it was hilarious. I quickly decided this was not going to work and cancelled the day’s lesson, but not without learning one Chinese word: 讽刺  (irony). I was meeting with a friend that evening and decided to catch up on some work beforehand. I went to bed semi-early, but not before drinking heavy amounts of water and eating oranges.


Felt like a million bucks. Casually think to myself, yes, just another normal quick sickness for Sam. Again, I finished work all day and that night went out to dinner with some friends to celebrate the end of the semester. I even made it to the bar afterwards; I was feeling that good. I went home somewhat early, but again made sure to drink lots of water before falling asleep


This day will long live in infamy for me. To start, I could not talk. I simply had no voice. My throat felt terrible, I was having cold shakes all day, my head was pounding, everything was terrible. No I was not hungover mind you, it was the sickness coming back for revenge. It was mad at me for not taking it seriously while it was dormant for a day, and decided to make me pay for my mistakes. I ended Sunday night with the shakes, trying to figure out exactly how I was going to teach tomorrow with no voice.


I only had two classes Monday, and the last class was student presentations, so it was not so bad. Luckily I was not sick on Monday, but I still had no voice. Students were making fun of me all day when they heard my voice. It kept cracking and would just stop working at some points. After teaching, I went to my Mandarin class. I could only last a hour before I just had to give up. Chinese is a tonal language, meaning you say the same “word” in different tones to mean different things, and with my voice that was just going to be impossible. One of my teacher’s grandfather is a Chinese doctor herbalist and she offered to take me to go see him. I figured I am in China so I might as well. I mean, it has only worked for them for 7,000 years….

So we get to her house and her grandfather takes me to his room. He is clearly very old, but moves with purpose; I was quite impressed. It was obvious that he was quite healthy, so I was optimistic. We sit down and he tells my teacher to leave the room. Things started to get a little weird from there. He lit a bunch of candles and was touching/pinching my face, stomach, and arms. It was very odd because he kept speaking softly in Chinese and I clearly couldn’t understand him. I am not sure if he was praying or talking to himself, either way it was quite different. It was done in three minutes and he turns around and starts pulling what seems like random herbs into little bags. My teacher (his granddaughter) told me how much to put in my drink each time. Here are some pictures. ~sick sick 002sick 006

Yes very interesting stuff. It looks just as good as it tastes.


I started to feel somewhat better, but my voice is still lost. The worst part about this is that I cannot take a sick day. It makes zero sense because I can’t even talk. Like how can I teach if the students cannot hear me? My students felt so bad for me that they brought some thick cough syrup like stuff to class. sick sick 007

This has worked even better.

Today I am slowly improving. I have come to learn that

A: You cannot always just shrug off illness

B: Sometimes herbal/tradition remedies actually work


C: My students actually do care about me !

I hope you enjoyed the post! I am going very very north for Christmas to a city called Harbin. It is famous for it’s ice festival and skiing. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday. As always, miss you guys. I will post pictures of my trip. I hope to see from you all soon.