Thursday, October 29, 2009

Breaking Wind

Since we arrived in Singapore, my tummy has been going crazy. I've sure it's a fun combination of jet lag, stress, culture shock and the fact that my tummy is always my Achilles heel. Nonetheless, I am in Asia and I wanted to try some alternatives to going back on any prescriptions.

A couple of my friends out here tried a Chinese Medicine doctor so I thought "why not?" His office is in Chinatown and it's right by our hotel. It was a tiny little store in the sort of 'mall' of Chinatown Pointe. I just sat next to the doctors desk and told him what I had been feeling in my stomach. Then he took my pulse for quite a few minutes, one arm at a time. During this, he only broke the silence once to say, "You are under a lot of stress," to which I replied, "YES."

After that he told me I have what the Chinese call "wind" in my stomach. I need to get the wind out. Also my kidneys are very tired. All that from taking my pulse. It was really interesting.

We went to the front desk and I was given tablets and a bottle of black liquid that I was to take 3 times a day. The medicine is hideous. Completely disgusting and I hate taking it with a passion. I call it "my yuckies." But I gotta say that in the four doses I've taken since last night, I feel better. My stomach has calmed down a lot. I ate more today then I've been able to eat the whole trip. Plus I just feel more energize in general. Plus, it was only $22! That sure beats the heck out of any medical bill I've gotten in the last year . . . or EVER.

Next fun thing to try: Acupuncture.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top 5

Heading into my fifth day here in Singapore I figured I'd let you in on the top five culture shock surprises I've experienced in this short and very jet lagged time I have been here.

5. I don't think the people of Singapore eat breakfast or know what it is. Being a HUGE breakfast enthusiast, this has been troubling. Del and I spent close to an hour walking around the shopping areas by the hotel in the 95% humidity trying to find some semblance of breakfast food with no luck. We ended up getting a box of granola bars at a drug store. Each day I think we will find somewhere for breakfast and we never do. Our hotel offers an "American Breakfast" which is a buffet for S$19.00 that includes Lo Mein noodles, seasoned potato wedges, salad, baked beans, and your choice of organge or apple juice. Yes, obviously they have a complete handle on what an American breakfast is.

4. The subway system here ROCKS. It is so unbelieveably clean, you could literally eat off of the floor. And I lived in New York, so trust me when I say I'd be completely mortified for the people of Singapore to see THAT kind of subway. The platforms are enclosed so you don't feel like some pyscho is gonna push you into the tracks. There is not a bum or random "artist" begging for money to be found. It's very easy to find the train and direction you are looking for and the escalators are lightning speed fast. It's very cool.

3. The prices of alcohol would make your jaw drop. Thank goodness we got a bottle of Belvedere and a bottle of Jim Beam at duty free! It's the only thing we'll be drinking for a year. A bottle of Jack Daniels here? Sure! That'll be $108. Absolut? Why not! That'll be $135. Yikes! And when you go out it's no better. Try $50 for a bucket of 5 beers. And that was a "special." Looks like I'll be having a very sober year.

2. Restaraunt service is bizarre. A server won't come up to you until you go and get one and then they are less then enthused. Then they bring each drink and entree randomly at different times. Plus, the other day, we were brought our check and asked to pay before we had received our food. Also, the gratuity is always included but it's usually like 7% so the waiters and waitresses won't come back with your change unless you track them down, hoping you'll forget or just get annoyed and leave.

1. The term, "No butts, no cuts, no coconuts," has definitely not been spread around the schoolyard here. I wondered on the first day why there are signs everywhere that say "Please wait in Que." I was thinking that was obvious when you are purchasing groceries, or waiting for your subway pass. I quickly learned waiting in line is not a concept that's widely respected in Singapore. It's normal to have someone completely walk in front of you while you are waiting patiently in a line and get service before you. They aren't being rude, it's just their culture. It's actually fascinating and surprises me everytime I see it.

I'm so sleepy so I will leave you with that for now :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

All Shook Up

I'm glad to say that the rest of the trip after Taiwan was much better (sorry, I wrote 'Thailand' in my last entry, but meant 'Taiwan.' I blame it on lack of sleep and SCoA.)

The flight to Singapore was nice and smooth and I popped a sleeping pill and slept the whole way. Del and I got our first passport stamps ever at Immigration and we were greeted by Gregg, Jason (both our managers) Chelsey, Seth, Bryce and an HR rep named Theresa. It was so nice to see everyone! We got to the Hotel Re! and I was delighted! It is a really cool Art Deco style boutique hotel. When we got to our room Del and I cracked up because it is lime green and white with two huge glass panels with the imprint of Elvis on it right above the bed. Awesome.

We went to the hotel cafe bar on the patio and had drinks with a bunch of other performers before hitting the hay. Now we are off to Sentosa to lay on the beach with a big group of performers. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oh Screaming Child of Asia

Del and I are in the Taipei airport in Thailand, exhausted, clinging to the only outlet we've been able to find. The past 18 hours have not been pleasant, NAY, they have been quite horrendous.

Everyone I know who has already gone to Singapore for Universal has posted things like, "Wow! That wasn't that bad! The flight was great!" I was setting myself up for that kind of experience, but that, unfortunately, seems like a myth.

Our flight from Orlando to Los Angeles wasn't that bad except that it took an extremely long time for Delta to decide whether our IPA work passes were "legitimate" or not. But when we arrived in LAX, things turned for the worst. We had to recheck-in and go through security again and the lines and crowds were incredible. Then, as we are waiting at the gate, I came face to face with the Satan-child that would soon have me thinking disgraceful things I never thought I could wish on a child. Literally the entire 2 hours of that layover were spent staring in disbelief at how a 2 year old could have that kind of energy at 1 am (4 am our time because we had gotten back on an east coast schedule.) Every person at the gate shared the look of fear that spoke, "I hope this child is not sitting by me."

Once we finally boarded, late of course, Del and I neared our row and I saw it. My greatest fear: Screaming Child of Asia. At first it was even really hard to hate him as much as I did because he honestly was really adorable at first glance. But my wish to fall into the seat on the plane and drift off to sleep was plucked from me immediately. Now, he didn't scream because he was upset, no, he just screamed, nonstop for hours, sometimes with a smile on his face. I brought earplugs: they did nothing, not when we were in such close proximity. In addition to sitting right near SCoA, the seats were smaller and closer together then a domestic flight. Del literally didn't fit. He had to put his legs out into the aisle and he looked miserable. I got maybe 3 hours sleep total between waking up to SCoA and the insane turbulence that lasted 6 hours. Oh yes, you read that correctly, 6 hours. And one hour of the turbulence was so bad that even Del looked at me like, "Oh shit." I was too busy hyperventilating with tears streaming down my face to respond.

We got to the airport in Taipei and when we found our way to the skytrain to take us to the terminal where our next flight would be, who was waiting for us but SCoA, now with no pants rolling around on the ground of the airport. Now I've been up for 24 hours, in airports and I can't help but imagine taking his lips to my sewing machine and running them through. I seriously have been imaging harming this child. What I should have been imaging was harming his parents, who literally ignored him through all of this. They let him scream, and lay on the airport floor, facedown, and didn't bat an eyelash. I know I'm a germaphobe but when you see other people with surgical masks on because they are fearing H1N1 it's hard to imagine why these two people decided to breed.

Okay, that's my rant :) Just wanted to keep this blog accurate and up to date now that we are on our journey! haha! And I promise I won't harm any children . . . but I can't help thinking about it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Silly Ang Moh

Hello gang! I'm sorry I've been M.I.A. for the past couple of weeks! It has been wonderful being home and spending time with family and friends, but it also made me kind of lose focus on any kind of "routine," as far as writing goes.

Today is the big day. Del and I will start our journey to the other side of the world! We leave Orlando at 7p, fly to Los Angeles (ironically enough.) Then we have our 15 hour flight to Taipei, Thailand. While in Taipei we have a 10 hour lay over, which I only just realized in the past few hours. I'm hoping it's a fun airport! Then we have one more 5 hour flight to Singapore. So, we arrive in Singapore at 8:45PM their time, 8:45AM eastern time and 5:45AM pacific time on Friday. I can't wait!

I got my Tylenol PM and all sorts of distractions to take with me. I'm hoping I'll be able to sleep a lot on the long flight so it goes by quickly. We also have our little Singapore travel books to read.

So far my favorite book is our "Top 10 Singapore book." It tells you the top ten restaurants, places to shop, liveliest bars, etc. It also has beautiful pictures (which seem to be lacking from a lot of other travel books.) The day I got the book I happened to flip to the page that has the "Top 10 words in 'Singlish'-The Local Patois." How fun! Yes, the 'Spores' as they call themselves speak english but they have their own local slang. I figured I'd have a headstart if I knew how to speak the lingo.

Most of the words were really interesting and made sense as far as what you think would be popular slang. They have the most popular exclamation of surprise, the word for God, the word for "idiot," etc. But my favorite is number 3 on the list: Ang moh. The book defines it as, "Ang Moh, meaning 'red hair' is the local slang for a Caucasian with that hair color. It is not usually derogatory."

Not Usually? Oh, well that's a relief. Clearly I'll be fitting right in then, huh?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hell Week

I’ve often heard “waiting is the hardest part,” and never fully appreciated it until this week. I’ve heard it mostly in the context of hearing about a role or an audition. I don’t think I will ever complain about waiting for news as seemingly trivial as that.

In preparing for Singapore I had been doing all the packing, selling and organizing one would normally do as well as catching up on all those doctor appointments you put off from week to week. A dentist appointment, eye doctor (so I don’t have to wear the dirty contacts I’ve had in for months for a year in Singapore,) a physical and a yearly “lady doctor” appointment. Because of my mother having had breast cancer in her mid-thirties, this year my “lady doc” decided to send me off to have my first mammogram. That was the last “to do” on my list. Probably out of fear, but nonetheless, I did it.

After having my girls smashed to smithorines I put it out of my mind and didn’t even think about it until 4 days later when I got a call from my doctor. I thought it was because I have a forty dollar deductible I still hadn’t been able to pay so I picked up the phone ready to explain that the check was in the mail. Instead I was informed that the radiologist needed further screenings because they found a cluster of calcifications in my left breast and a 4 cm area of questionable tissue in my right breast. I have often felt that it was just a matter of time with my vast family history of cancer, but I didn’t realize how close that “time” might be.

I was told this wasn’t unusual for a first mammogram. They don’t have other pictures to compare it to so they need to be thorough. I went back to the Breast Health Center. I had about 8 more x-rays of each breast. The technician leaves the room to see what the radiologist says. She comes back in and says, “We need a few more.” About 6 more pictures later, I felt like my funbags were completely numb at that point. Then the radiologist comes in to tell me that the good news is the right breast is fine. I just have very dense tissue and once he got more pictures he wasn’t worried about it. The bad news is that the cluster of calcifications in my left breast is questionable and possibly precancerous. I will have to get a biopsy to know whether or not everything is okay. He layed that on me, turned on his heel and headed right out the door. And, there was a total of THREE people who said the phrase, “Your breast tissue is very dense because you’ve never had children.” That didn’t make me feel old and barren at all. Not one bit.

Then, I had to wait another 5 days for the biopsy because the soonest they could fit me in was Wednesday morning, the day we were leaving for Florida. The night before we were supposed to have our going away party which is why it was cancelled. I felt bad for not explaining but, at the time, with no answers, I was having a hard time with everything and didn’t want to say it all out loud over and over again. I didn’t want to put the “sad Erin” vibes out into the universe.

The biopsy was not a fun experience. You lay on a table, face down, boob through a hole in a compression clamp, and you are about 6 feet in the air. My boob was shot up with local anesthetic, an incision is made and they put a large needle in to extract a sample of the calcifications. There’s not much more disconcerting then putting a body part through a hole and having it poked, prodded and punctured. They also leave a small clip in my breast so they know the spot where they took the biopsy in future mammograms.

I went back to my practically empty apartment and waited until our flight that night with an ice pack on my tit. Poor Del had to finish up everything to get the apartment ready for us to leave, including selling the rest of our furniture (or giving it away in some cases.) I tried to do some things (because I’m extremely stubborn) and ended up making myself bleed and causing lots of pain. We flew home that night but I have to say, from the moment my doctor called that first time, I wasn’t myself. And now that I was waiting for the biopsy results it got even worse. You always think the worst.

I was told I wouldn’t know for 2 to 3 days which meant Friday or MONDAY at the latest. This is when I realized that waiting really sucks. It may not be the hardest part, but it certainly feels like it for someone who doesn’t deal well with grey areas. I feel like I’ve always needed to know “the next step,” so I could tackle it and do all I can. When I am just waiting and have nothing to do but think about the “what ifs” I am miserable.

Tonight, a day early, my doctors office called and told me the calcifications came back benign! I was surrounded by my mom and dad and we all just cried out of joy and relief. There is something they found, called a scientific name I can’t remember (they are emailing me the paperwork) which I have to be very aware of, but I’m okay for now. Thank God.

I will say it has made me realize, if the test hadn’t been benign, it would have royally sucked, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. My friend, and a breast cancer survivor, Christy Wurzbach said to me, “Either way, it’s going to be okay.” And coming from someone who can speak from experience, I realized she was right. This time, I got the results I wanted to hear, but if I don’t next time, it will be okay.

Thank you to the few who happened to know what was going on for one reason or another. Your support and prayers made me feel so much better, you have no idea.

And FINALLY, after months of contract renegotiations, work visa stuff and health scares, I get to be excited about Singapore!!!!