Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shaking off the Dust

It's been awhile and I feel like my writing brain is dusty, covered with lots of rust and cobwebs. I wasn't writing because not only are all these pregnancy hormones making me feel extremely nauseous and completely lacking in energy, but they have robbed me of my once firm (if I do say so myself) grasp on reality. I used to love living in Taiwan! Then I got pregnant and all of the sudden it's a terrible place full of sooty car exhaust and oily chou dofu fumes, and they don't even have pumpkin spice lattes! I'd walk over a sewer grate, do my best not to vomit, then I'd run for cover in an alley only to come face to face with a boiling, simmering pot of duck innards. I started to think that Taiwan isn't the best place to be pregnant.

I also got depressed and sort of sank into this sick, useless feeling. Being so sick, compounded by the smells and the heat and the crowds, made me start to wonder if I now hated living in Taiwan. I was also very bored. Before I found out about our little "surprise", I was studying Chinese like mad. I went to class every day and even quit all of my English teaching gigs so I could devote all of my attention to studying Chinese. We felt this was what God wanted me to do. How could I really love and understand Taiwan's people and culture without knowing the language? Then that second line appeared on the home pregnancy test. It was faint, but clearly there and not going away. At first I didn't really feel any different and thought I would just continue my intensive Chinese studies (3 hours of class every day, about 5 hours of homework every night, and weekly character tests), maybe stop for a few weeks when I needed to have the baby, then just pick right off where I left off. I was so naive.

The vomiting started at about 6 weeks (I found out I was pregnant at about 4 weeks) and didn't stop until ... uh, actually it still hasn't stopped. I'm 15 or 16 weeks now and it has abated somewhat. I now can go about 2 days without vomiting if I concentrate real hard. When I do start throwing up again I have medicine I can take, but it puts me in a weird, psychedelic coma-like state that I don't wake up from for about 6 hours (it's just a prescription combination of B6 and an antihistamine, but it is one STRONG antihistamine). This isn't very pleasant and makes my already slipping grasp on reality more tenuous, so I try to just deal with the nausea and think fresh, good-smelling thoughts.

The useless feeling mentioned above comes from the utter boredom of being home sick all the time. Once the morning sickness made itself at home, my Chinese classes came to an abrupt end. I would like to pick them up again as soon as I'm feeling a bit more energetic, but I'll probably get a tutor. I just can't handle the stress of a class with actual academic expectations right now! There's really no sense in me looking for another English teaching job now for several reasons. First of all, I'd probably have to run out of the class to vomit a lot, which wouldn't be good. Second, they'd have to be willing to hire me knowing that in about 6 months I would be taking time off to have a baby. Third, who the heck is going to take care of the baby when he/she gets here? This last question is something that hadn't occurred to me prior to getting pregnant. Our family is in America, so we can't just drop off the baby at Grandma's house on our way to work. My husband has a good job (unusually good for English teaching in Taiwan) and he's in the middle of getting his master's degree, so it just makes sense for me to be the one that stays home for the time being. I've somehow become a SAHM without ever intending to!

Now that I'm home most of the time, I'm trying to figure out how to still have a fulfilling life. It's a bit difficult now because I'm sick and tired all the time, and I'm also pretty bored because the baby isn't here yet (I'm sure once the kid gets here I'll have more to do). I look forward to the weather getting a bit cooler and my energy returning so I can start getting things in order now. For example, I need to make sure I have things in my life that AREN'T directly related to taking care of a baby (although I will do my best in that area of course). I need to make sure I'm still learning. What I want to have as "mine" right now is learning Chinese, improving my writing, reading a lot, continuing to help out with different OMF ministries as much as I can, and friends. Friends is especially important because being home a lot has been lonely. That's a whole other post, though!

So that's where I've been and where I'm at. I'm feeling a little better, but not that great. I'm waiting for the nausea to go away and my energy to return so that I can start figuring out how to live this new life of mine. Until then I guess I'll have to try and do stuff on the days I feel good, and try not to feel guilty about doing absolutely nothing on the days I feel like crap. I have the best husband! On top of working and studying like a fiend, he still does his best to satisfy my food cravings and keep the house clean when I'm too sick to move. My dog, Mei Mei, has also been great company on my can't-get-up-off-the-couch days. I'm trying to remember that the disdain I feel for Taiwan on my bad days is not real, it's just a combination of hormones and sickness driving me nuts. Normally I love living in Taiwan for so many reasons! I think pregnancy just brings about "culture stress" in a lot of new ways. I hope to really work on my writing, so hopefully you'll be hearing from me more. Thanks for listening!


  1. no help with the nausea from me, but I can help with the language learning. have you considered hiring a native speaker to come to your house who can work with you? of course this will only work when you're feeling better. when I lived in Indonesia, I did the LAMP method (or book? can't remember). basiclly, it's learning whole phrases from a native speaker. you memorize it and then go out to find people to practice on.

    I'm glad you updated. stay well!

  2. hope you feel better soon!

    will be praying for you and especially that you will/have a group of friends there that can comfort you in the midst of your sadness/"disdain"

  3. I saw your post on High Calling and popped over to encourage you. I've lived in this part of the world for 8 years and have been pregnant/given birth over here 3 times (in 3 different countries!!) It is an experience for sure :)

    Your little one is a blessing from the Lord and you will be utterly amazed at how many doors that "foreign" baby will open to ministry. Instead of seeing how things have changed in difficult ways right now, focus on what He is doing...He is enlarging your tents for a greater work. I know it doesn't always seem that way, but it really is true.

    I pray you are encouraged and exhorted in your faith today, friend!

  4. P.S. There is a great pumpkin spice latte recipe at


  5. Stonefox, I'm so glad you popped over! It enabled me to find your blog, which has been so encouraging to me. I want to go and read through all your archives now. =) It did occur to me that having a foreign baby over here may open some doors. What I need to do now is pray for patience, as I can't help but get really annoyed when I receive extra attention for being foreign. I'm sure you understand that it makes you feel special at first, but then you just get tired of it and want to be treated like everyone else. I'm also worried my son may grow up thinking that's it's normal for everyone to be fawning over him all the time! By the way, that pumpkin spice latte recipe is a Godsend!

    Monica and Boston, I can't believe I never responded to your comments! So sorry about that. My morning sickness finally went away at 22 weeks. It felt like forever! Thanks for your prayers. =)


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