Being sick sucks. Halloweekend exhausted me. Little sleep and poor nutrition compromised my body’s ability to deal with the germs that are constantly in contact with it. Thus, I got sick. It started on Tuesday with a sore throat. Then made the end of the workday Wednesday unbearable. I stayed home sick on Thursday and got much needed rest (I barely left my bed, it was awesome). Friday, I felt alright, just coughing a lot, with a runny nose and mildly exhaustion. And then Saturday and Sunday I had several commitments I was able to keep despite still experiencing these symptoms. So I’m on the mend, but still not 100%.

At one point last week, I woke up thinking I was in my childhood bed. And then realizing I was in my apartment in Keelung made me momentarily sad. If I were really sick (i.e. needing hospitalization and medicine), being in Taiwan would actually be better than being in the U.S. It’s MUCH cheaper to be really sick here.

But I just have a bad cold, and so what I want is comfort and convenience. Like a kitchen where I could make some Mrs. Grass Chicken Noodle Soup. (I guess I could have a kitchen if I had made that a priority when searching for an apartment. But they don’t sell Mrs. Grass Chicken Noodle Soup here.). Beef noodle soup is pretty good, but still… it’s not home.

The one thing I really dreaded was wearing a face mask. It’s a thing here when you’re sick to wear a face mask so as to contain the spread of whatever viral or bacteria particles are spewing out of your mouth and nose. I understand why people do it, but since it’s not a thing in the U.S., it’s still a little weird to me. I feel like you put a target on your back, like “I’m sick, WATCH OUT!” And with the whole ebola outbreak last year, and seeing people’s fears of ebola here in Taiwan, I have anxieties about walking around as a black person who’s sick. After spending a day trying to just not cough and thereby disguise the fact that I was sick, I gave up. And you know what, it’s awesome.

I wouldn’t walk around with one if I weren’t sick, but I definitely have no qualms about it now if I’m ever sick again. The only detractors I’ve experienced so far are that it kind of irritates the skin on my lower chin and also it causes my glasses to fog up or fall off my face if not put on snuggly. But there are also many advantages:

1) You look kind of mysterious because no one can see your face.

2) Since no one can see your face, you can mouth the words to your favorite Nirvana song as you walk down the street without people looking at your like you’re crazy.

3) It keeps your face warm.

4) It doubles as a protection against soot in the air, which was a big problem this whole weekend.

5) When you cough, you don’t have to cover your mouth.

6) When you cough, people might look at you and be like “who’s sick?” but then they see you have a face mask, and they’re chill about it.

Embrace the face mask people.