Week 5 in Taiwan was rich in experimental and cultural exploration. We have begun collecting data on our healthy subject cohort. After we complete the experiment on healthy people, we wiill be able to conduct it on CKD patients. Hopefully, we will get an adequate number of CKD patients so that we can complete our exercise intervention with them.
Aside from my experiment, I have been helping some of the other lab members with their experiment. While Melissa and I are using the Biodex to test the quadriceps strength of our participants, two of the others who are in Dr. Guo’s lab are using the Biodex machine as a part of their physical tests.
This week has been refreshing because we are moving around and using the equipment for our data collection. On Friday, we were invited to spend the day with one of the graduate students in Dr. Li’s lab. She took us to a pond nearby her house and we were able to buy food at a fresh food market, and later, we got to prepare a family style meal at her house. Brendon ended up cooking most of the food. As I walked back and forth in the small, galley kitchen, I began to miss home. I started to wonder what I would have been cooking for dinner had I been back in Oklahoma. Then, I remember how amazing and indescribable this experience has been thus far and I felt grateful to be exactly where I was, in that tiny Taiwanese kitchen hearing the laughter of my newfound friends.
On Saturday, we made a trip to Tainan, a nearby city. In Tainan, we got to explore the Chimei Museum, which was full of fine art, historical musical instruments, and an animal museum. After the museum, we walked around the town in search of traditional food. I loved that I got to see this part of Taiwan because every city is unique. After we ate, we got to visit the Anping District, which included the Old Anping Fort—an establishment of the Portuguese invasion, Anping Old Street, and the Anping treehouse. When all the walking and exploring was over, I finally got to sit down and enjoy my favorite dessert in Taiwan: red bean, brown bean, Boba, taro, and shaved ice.
For week 6, we started the exercise intervention part of our experiment. We have created a schedule so that on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we will do the exercise program, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we will work on writing our paper and preparing our presentations for weekly progress reports. On Wednesday, I presented my first progress report. In my presentation, I talked about background info on CKD and why we are conducting the study. I also included the methods used and the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the exercise intervention.
We were told to have the Introduction and Methods done by Friday, however, I didn’t realize how challenging writing the Intro would be until I started writing. After thinking about how our experiment was going; we decided it would be best to work on the Intro continuously throughout the coming weeks and finish most of it after we complete the experiment.
This weekend was very eventful. One of our lab mates from Dr. Guo’s lab invited us to her apartment and we got to watch an episode of a Korean drama TV show. Even though couldn’t understand any of the dubbed Mandarin, it was a surprisingly entertaining show! On Saturday, we made a trip to Northern Taipei. The plan was to go to the Shifen Waterfall in Pingxi, but when we tried to buy tickets from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang, we ended up getting the wrong tickets. Luckily, a Malaysian family at the main station was kind enough to exchange our tickets for the correct ones and guided us to the local train platform. We finally made it to the Shifen Waterfall—the first and only waterfall that I’ve ever seen—and it was absolutely beautiful.
Sunday was a day full of hiking, hill climbing, and a lot of sweat. We purchased a tour of the Alishan Tea plantation. The tour guide drove us to the plantation site, where we got to see Thousand Island Lake, the tea plantation grounds, and the Pinglin Tea Museum. My favorite part of the tour was our visit to an authentic tea house. An elderly tea farmer did a tea tasting demonstration for the tour group and we got to try traditional Boa Jong tea, black tea, and oolong tea. I loved it so much that I bought a batch of Boa Jong and the sweet little Peanut Sugar cookies to go along with it. We ended the day by walking around the Taipei 101 mall and hiking up Elephant Mountain to get an expansive and breathtaking view of all of Taipei.