It sure has been a long time since i've touched base here on the community and I apologize for the delay since my last blog; I could bombard everyone with excuses but we all know that's all they are - excuses. Regardless, i've been home for roughly 6 weeks and I must say it was an incredibile experience to be in Asia. I'm sure many of you have heard stories of people engaging with travels and experiencing new opportunites around the world and all i can say is each experience is unique to its own. The one thing I can guarantee to anyone willing or able to emark on such a journey - regardless of how long - is that they will bring back a new perspective on how they may view things. When I say 'things' i realize it is a very broad term - the interesting 'thing' is that this will be different for everyone and it truly will be unique.
Due to my lack of internet skills, I was unable to upload the videos to the site directly - instead, the hospital videos can be seen on youtube at the following link : http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC4CEE3F24635B1E6
As for the experience overall and for those interested in seeking a direction of "what to do" or "how long should I go" if you do decide this is an experience you'd be interested in, i'd make the following recommendations:
1. Spend a short amount of time (2 weeks) observing and helping out in the hospitals. If you are looking to get a general overview of interest without an exact focus, i'd go for only a couple weeks - you will be very busy and there will be lots to see. Ask lots of questions during the 2 weeks of observation, and maybe spend another week or two to visit different cities or areas other than where you stay. A month would be an excellent amount of time to do all of this (at least in my opinion). It would be an excellent idea to do 2 weeks of study and then go travelling in the area or even nearby countires. Explore a little and have fun!
2. Spend a large amount of time to get more travelling in between cities and to even work in a certain area of interest in a hospital. By working in one hospital department for a long period of time, you can focus on a certain area of specialization or interest that you would like to focus on. The wonderful thing is that you see so many cases of variation between the patients; and by spending more time in a department, the doctors will get more used to you being there and are willing for you to participate in actual treatment. It will be a lot of work, but if you are looking for a completely different perspective and love living in the area, then this could be an option.
Ultimately, I just winged it. I booked to go for a month, studied and observed for 4 weeks, and went to South Korea for 2 weeks afterwards. As much as I loved the experience in China, South Korea was the most fun i've had. It was the perspective of both countres though that really opened my eyes, as both were extremely different. I would definitely spend more time in China if I were to go back and i'd be sure to go see other cities. I was in Beijing the enitire time so i got to do most of things and see the popular attractions there, but i would have liked to see other things as well - being unable to speak the language sure was a challenge, but everything still worked out! It was unnerving at times but now that I look back on it i sure do miss it - i felt so alive!
If anyone has any further questions about the hospital experiences or my experiences in general, please don't hesitate to ask. We learned much in the hospital other than I posted so there is plenty to talk about.
If I was to say anything about the trip in general, it is that the culture shock hit me the most when i came home. After getting to meditate, living with monks, drinking beer on a beach all day, and eating more variations of food than i even thought would exist (to name a few), i feel that my mind has become much more calm and less busy. To spend time away from a routine or just what one is used to truly brings a new vision of a way to view or approach life. It brings this reflection that everyone talks about, even if you don't reflect. It's a weird thing, but it sure is incredible - and like i said, i can guarantee each and everyone's experience will be unique.