New York City, particularly Manhattan, is a public transportation and walker's haven and because of this, it is probably one of the worst places to have deal with a broken ankle and crutches. Granted, the doctors and hospitals are great but the public transportation is ill-fitting for those with handicaps or disabilities related to walking. Here are some things i learned while roaming (slowly) around the city on crutches to and from work.
Not all subway stops have elevators or escalators
And even if they do have elevators or escalators, there is a high chance that they are going to be 1) out of order or 2) filthy or 3) both. I had to do my research (http://web.mta.info/accessibility/stations.htm) prior to going anywhere to determine whether it would be worthwhile for me to attempt stairs while PWB (partial weight bearing) on crutches.
Women are more likely to offer you their seat on the subway
When I get on the subway car, it's usually a 50/50 toss up of whether there will be readily available seats and these chances are especially slim when commuting to work during rush hour. I've noticed that about 80% of the time, other women are more willing to offer me their seat whereas many men tend to avoid my gaze. I definitely try not to pressure anyone or ask anyone if I could take their seat as I am getting better bearing weight on my broken foot and feel like I need to practice. But it is a nice gesture when someone does offer and I appreciate it immensely.
Service like Uber and Lyft far surpass their yellow cab competitors
Since I live on a more residential street in the city, it is not so easy to flag down a yellow cab and so I find car sharing services such as Lyft and Uber to be much more convenient as they pick me up directly in front of my building. For some reason, Lyft drivers are the most accommodating and helpful, some even going out of their way to help me into their cars when I was in the earlier stages of recovery. (You don't know how hard it is to close and open a car door when NWB (non-weight bearing) until you have to do it.) Uber drivers generally try to get you as close to your destination's door as possible as well. Yellow cab drivers could not care less about your predicament and live up their reputation of being rude and offensive. I'm constantly rushed out of yellow cabs by the cab drivers who do not care that you are handicapped even if you explain or apologize.
Seamless and food delivery apps are blessings
Having no energy to cook or strength to purchase groceries, falling back on food delivery services was an incredible option to have and one of the greatest benefits of living in a place like NYC. I'm thankful that variety in my neighborhood is pretty good, however, the healthy options could have been better. I've used more than my fair share of Seamless, UberEats, GrubHub, and my favorite Vietnamese shop.
I recently created 2 gigs on Fiverr. For those who are unaware, Fiverr is a social selling platform in which individuals can sell their services for $5 +. For example, some people sell their voice overs for $5! Or personalized drawings...or even excel formulas!
Meanwhile, I will plan your trip to Asia for $5! Just five bucks. I'm not posting this here as a shameless marketing plug but I'm posting this here because I have received actual orders! This is amazing. I posted this up for fun since I have had some free time but now, I've already planned trips for people to Thailand and Korea. You have no idea how unbelievably fun and fulfilling this has been - it has also allowed me to live vicariously through the people taking these trips. Ahhh, yes, the joy of traveling in Asia.
As a spin off of this success, I will also plan your trip to California for $5! Telling people the best things about traveling and living in California like a local has been such a dream. Born and raised here, I adore this state and love sharing all the experiences I have had with foreigners coming in to visit. From places like my favorite hole in the wall restaurant to the best non-touristy view of the Hollywood sign and Pacific ocean, I lay it all out for my fellow adventurers.
This is a tough topic for me tackle. Almost a full year after I concluded my travels in SEA, I have been plagued by increasing hair loss. Initially, it was not noticeable (to me, at least) but I've recently gotten a bit of commentary on my now very thin hair. I searched the topic and other men and women have experienced this same phenomena after travelling through very humid and tropical climates as I did. After much research and perhaps some irrational thinking during this (continuing) ordeal, here are some reasons I considered as the cause for my hair loss as well as some discussion around them.
1. Female pattern baldness
My scalp after two days without washing my hair. Apparently, the Christmas tree hair loss patterns here may be indicative of female pattern baldness. As a 21 year old, this is absolutely terrifying for myself and a massive bash to my self-image and self-confidence. I know, many people will say that I shouldn't care about how I look and contribute a plethora of sayings along the lines of "confidence is from within." Let's be real. I'm 21 and losing handfuls of hair in the shower and I'm scared out of my wits about being prematurely bald.
2. Stress from moving to another country/travelling extensively
Admittedly, my hair was always thin to begin with as you can see from this picture from 2012, long before any sort of travelling. That was the texture but not the density of the hair on my scalp. I never felt any extreme stress while abroad especially when getting used to the new environment, foods, peoples and cultures. However, my body and physicality displayed quite the contrary with my yearlong hair loss. Physical and/or emotional stress might have sent my body into rest mode in which I'd tend to notice more hair loss. Actually, I might have forgotten about my hospital episode in Cambodia wherein there was the stress of a 104 degree fever that wreaked havoc for 4 days.
"During the telogen, or resting, phase the follicle remains dormant anywhere from 1–4 months. Ten to fifteen percent of the hairs on one's head are in this phase of growth at any given time." Source
Bear in mind that I am no dermatologist and I plan to seek professional help once I am back from my internship in South Korea. All of this is done with the most minimal of research and maximum of freaking out.
3. I wore a cap/hat almost everyday while backpacking
Unless my cap was excessively tight, then this would not be a good reason and/or cause for hair loss.
Hair loss myth busters
4. I dyed my hair too goddamn much
No, that isn't my real hair colour though it might as well be now that I've exposed my hair to so much sunshine. I've dyed and used heating tools on my hair for over 6 years now and I thought that my current hair loss is extreme karma for disobeying the almighty Asian parents that I have when I dyed my hair against their wishes multiple times. However, dyes are generally only harmful to the hair strands themselves and don't necessarily lead to hair loss.
There are SO MANY reasons I thought of that could possibly explain the current state of my scalp but of course, I should seek professional attention and I will! For now, I am using OTC 2% minoxidil treatments to help revitalize my hair follicles and combat some of my unfortunately low self-esteem. If all is well, I will post a hair loss/scalp update in 6 months - 1 year.
Does this discourage me from travelling to hot and humid locations? NO. Not at all. But it does make me more aware of how I'm taking care of my body.
Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself in light of impending finals...but this girl is excited! My last day of undergrad classes will be this Friday, May 2nd! Yes, I do have exams coming up but in 5 days, it will be the next milestone of my life! Graduation is less than a month away and I'm pretty sure it hasn't struck me that I'll be leaving Berkeley so soon. Until then, I have promised myself to blog everyday of this week.
Berkeley has been the time of my life - full of innumerable ups and downs, sleepless nights, failed endeavors and unimaginable experiences.
When I first came to Cal, I was frightened and not the most optimistic about the insane competition, difficult courses, and lack of friends. I went through bouts of heartache and homesickness. I had never been "away" from "home" before but Berkeley managed to become one of my homes. I recall refusing to refer to my dorm room or apartment as "home" but not I cannot think of it as anything else. How did this all happen? What am I going to do next? What's with all of this introspection?! I call it #senioritis (Exam tomorrow? I got this....)
My first time seeing snow and guess what, my first time making a snow (wo)man! I even gave her a fancy twig necklace - I think I should enter one of those snow-building competitions and represent California appropriately.
My two week stay was definitely a short blast of icy air and warm hugs galore. Of course I had to indulge in the iconic Tim Hortons (probably too much, in fact), poutin, and some of Andrew's bachelor cooking skills. Hung out with Mama J in Toronto and had the most delicious melt-in-yo-mouth pork belly ramen. Here is an arbitrary smattering of the atrociously unhealthy food I consumed in Ontario that no one is really interested in but as you know, I love to share foodporn. On a related note, despite all of the hype, ketchup chips are pretty dang gross.
Meandered through the alleys of Toronto with Andrew and came upon graffiti row. Now, coming from East LA and downtown LA, I can't even begin to describe my appreciation for this type of art. It goes beyond capturing a beautiful landscape but embodies the thoughts, emotions and experiences of the artists - all in bright animated colours.
We went snowboarding as well and I tackled the HARDCORE bunny slopes. This is the heart of my title for this blog post. I used to imagine snow as light fluffy pillows similar to that of down feathers but this is certainly not the case when you repeatedly fall on your bum upon getting off of a chairlift. Chairlifts are dangerous and evil! But I will master them one day. Another reason why my bum was in so much pain was because they served as my braking gear. I got the hang of digging in one's heels to stop; however, I have found that simply braking by landing on my behind was a good alternative especially as I tried to avoid smashing into little kids. I promise I only cried once out of the many times I fell. Promise!
Til we meet again, Canada! Hopefully we will not have a plumbing disaster this time around.
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