I have seen very few bugs in China - mostly a couple of mosquitoes that are slightly larger and of a different type than the mosquitoes I see in Georgia. Last night I didn't sleep very well because for whatever reason, bugs like to be around when I'm asleep.

The first time I woke up because I heard a buzzing sound and had a burning sensation on my face and arm. I went to the bathroom and I had a bug bite swelling on my eyebrow and right below my eye where my eye swelled so large the last time (but on the opposite side), and another one (the size of a tumor) on my arm. I frantically sprayed myself with bugspray all over (or so I thought), and went back to bed.

I woke up a second time to an itching/burning sensation on my middle finger knuckle, the corner of my hand, and my arm just under where my shirt sleeve barely covers the skin. Again, I went to the bathroom, and the ones around my eye are much bigger - in fact it looked much like the last day my other eye was swollen. My knuckle was swollen all the way around, my arm looked like it had a tumor, and my hand had a white swelling area too.

I thought I was going to go crazy (I still might). If there is one thing I hate, it is being in a situation where there is not much I can do as far as a solution. The one good thing about being in a foreign country with a 12 hour time zone difference though, is that at 12:30AM, your mom is on her lunch break at work so even though there is no one awake in my country, I can FaceTime her without risking waking her up.

We talked for a while and I cried because for me it is the middle of the night and I'm feeling very sorry for myself, and she told me to take some benadryl (I'm running low and they don't sell it in China), an 800mg ibuprofen, 1000mg of Vitamin C, eat any food I have (in my case, chocolate chip cookies made by Chips Ahoy. "软多多", "extremely soft"), and go back to bed. She also suggested that in the morning I look into getting acupuncture for allergies since my body seems to be so out of whack with overreacting to everything that happens here.

Well, I went to get acupuncture today. I was terrified, but all day I have been in better spirits than I have been (a few people - including my mother - who knew what was going on might have had something to do with that) so I was just ready to try something new and hope for the best. There were three girls who went with me as interpreters who asked why I didn't want to go to the hospital and get western medicine. I explained that I had tried that already and it hadn't worked for me. So they took me to the traditional Chinese medicine doctor.

It started out with acupuncture. She used 8 needles - 3 on each leg and one on each arm. I had seen her do a demonstration before so I knew the needles were sterile, but it was strange to me that she didn't use gloves, especially since there are not many sinks with soap dispensers where I've been in China. However, she did sterilize the area on my skin before poking me with the needle and she sterilized it after pulling them out. I could hardly feel it except for with two of them and it was only a strange nerve tingly feeling. Then, she pulled out the moxibustion (this stuff is pretty cool) and held the moxibustion up to each of my giant bug bites (except for my eye) for about 10 minutes.

I thought I was done after that. I was feeling very relaxed - more than I had in a while. Nothing had been painful at all. That was when she informed me (through the three Chinese girls) that the acupuncture and moxibustion wouldn't work on my eye, and she needed to do blood letting. My jaw about dropped. I felt like I was in Europe in the 17th century. I said that it scared me, and asked where she would do this. She pointed to two places on my face. I tried to remain calm and said I didn't want to do anything that could leave a scar. They explained that it would just be a needle that would stab me real quick and it wouldn't be much worse than acupuncture.

For some reason, I agreed. I didn't feel it much more than I felt the acupuncture. It's no wider of a whole than acupuncture, it is just deeper. It wasn't enough to make me bleed without squeezing the area, which is what she did and what left the bruising on my face. I guess that is why they consider it safe? They only took enough blood that they thought was appropriate which was something like 12 drops in each spot that she whiped up promptly with a Q-tip. Well, my eye is almost better anyway.

So there is my newest strange experience in China. I'm sure there will be more to come. On nights like last night, I just want to come home and I feel really inadequate. But really, this is an amazing experience. I only have two weeks left in Liaocheng, and though the conditions in Beijing I've been told will be much better, there will be a part of me I'm sure that will miss certain things about being here.

Something I noticed upon coming back from Jinan. Liaocheng is not all of China. It smells bad compared to Jinan, it is much dirtier, and the people are much poorer. I'm living in probably one of the poorer areas of modern China. It's going to be really interesting going from here to Beijing. I'm glad we came here first, though, and I'm grateful to have the experience to live here even though it is extremely uncomfortable at times. I think it is good for me. When things seem bad, I can just remember I will be back in America relatively soon. I can do anything for a short amount of time.