1. I’m thankful that health care is so affordable and accessible here. I cut my finger the other day on a piece of broken glass while I was sorting out our recycling. The wound wasn’t large or deep, but it kept bleeding for two hours. At one point, I was lying on the ground with gauze around my finger, applying pressure to the inside of my elbow, balancing my computer on my chest so I could do research for my interview and thinking that one of the good things about working from home is that none of your co-workers are around to see you on the floor surrounded by bloody gauze (then again, that’s also one of the bad things).
As I waited for my finger to hurry up and clot, I couldn’t help but think about how grateful I am for Taiwan’s National Health Insurance. If my finger hadn’t stopped bleeding, I could have walked over to an emergency room three blocks from my house and been treated for the equivalent of a few US dollars. If my injury had been worse, I could have called an ambulance without worrying about it ruining me financially. Even treatment outside of NHI is affordable. Earlier this month, I went to see one of Taiwan’s top ob/gyns. He doesn’t accept NHI, but an exam and ultrasound were only NT$950.
I am also thankful that my finger stopped bleeding before my interview. That would have been annoying.
2. I’m grateful that my mother taught me how to knit when I was five. That was actually a direct result of one of our trips to Taiwan to see my grandparents. One day, my grandfather took my brother and me to a toy store and let us pick out whatever we wanted. I chose a needlecraft kit that included an embroidery hoop, plastic crewel needles, crochet hooks, a small loom and a pair of yellow plastic knitting needles, one topped with an apple and the other topped with an orange. When we were back in the States, my Mom bought me a skein of acrylic yarn. I remember it was white and sparkly with little flecks of pastel colors in it. She showed me how to cast on and I knit a very lopsided piece of fabric, with gaping holes that I attempted to fix by cutting the yarn, pulling it together and securing it with scotch tape (I like to think my craftsmanship has improved somewhat). Fast forward two decades and knitting is one of my favorite forms of relaxation. When my ultrasound technician told me to relax during my exam (I hate it when people tell me to relax, especially when they are approaching me with a creepy looking instrument and a blase, slightly bored look on their face), I looked for my happy place in my head — and my happy place looked like merino.
My happy place