Wednesday, August 20, 2008 ;
4:42 PM
Misc post-

1. Reply to Phebe:

Sea salt vs refined table salt:

Sea salt is obtained from the evaporation of sea water, while refined table salt is normally kiln-dried salt with anti-caking agents added to it. Trace minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium are removed in the processing.

These minerals are useful in keeping the body's electrolytes in balance, in addition to other nutritional benefits.

Ok this other part I am not that sure, because some sea salts have been blamed for not being true sea salts too. But kiln-drying supposedly involves scorching salt at high heat to remove moisture, but ends up with an unnatural product that is harsh to the body, being the main culprit of hypertension, kidney disease, heart problems and eczema.

Apparently, salt in the sea water forms as a complex and is absorbed in a beneficial way by the body. Just like how breast milk is better absorbed by babies than formula, and how vitamin C in citrus fruits are better absorbed than the supplement pills you find in the pharmacy.

Other than that, a lot of refined table salt here, I noticed, are iodized. I don't like more iodine in my diet because I feel, our normal diet contains a lot of iodine already. Besides, my kids are both very thin, and somehow I think, the more iodine we consume, the higher their metabolic rate, which I don't need.

finally, the taste is better, and this is the subjective part. So I just like it. :-) Like how I prefer coke to pepsi.

2. Reply to Jess and all those who asked about ds2.

Thankfully, he has recovered. The past few days were terrible for him and us. He'd be having fitful sleep and waking many times in the night, scratching and crying.

It actually spread from arms and legs to torso, bum, scalp, face, everywhere, even earlobes and the folds of the butt!

The rashes also varied greatly from little red bumps, flat big red patches, raised big patches (like insect bites) and those bulls-eye kind (raised red border on the outside, central white clearing, and punctum in the middle). The raised ones gave him most grief. They itched like mad and we couldn't find calamine lotion at all the pharmacies we went to.

On Sat, he had many worm-like and squiggly kind of raised rashes too. And on Sun, his tongue and roof of mouth had those bulls-eye kind of rash! it looked so scary, so we brought him to see doc on Mon.

We were advised not to bring him to the local hospitals (they don't have clinics here, only hospitals) because of the long wait, and language barrier. It would be hard for us to explain to them the symptoms, to ask Qs and to understand the diagnosis or prescriptions. Also, they might not be familiar with kids being unused to their environment.

So we went to the International SOS clinic. They hire expat docs, english-speaking pharmacist and nurses. But they charge US$200 consultation fees. No choice, we just need to know if ds2 was just allergic or having something more serious.

It was worth it. Service was good, there was no wait, and Dh managed to get a free coffee from the complimentary beverage machine there. And we got a 30min consultation, the doc's email address and phone number.

To cut long story short, ds2 was diagnosed with allergic dermatitis, and some kind of glandular fever possibly caused by a virus, cos his lymph nodes and tonsils were also swollen.

We were given oral anti-histamines and a cryptoheptidine cream for allergic and contact dermatitis.

Monday night, I applied the cream for him as he itched badly, and that night he slept so soundly! The next morning, his rashes had subsided greatly. His tongue was the latest area to be affected so those on the tongue were still present. By today (Wed) most were gone.

So thankful for that. The doc just called to ask us about his condition.

3. Other updates

Dh's salary got in already, so we are going to get kids' schooling registered, pay up school fees (over here, both local and international schools collect fees by the year, or at most, half-yearly); get more essential household stuff, and I've hired an ayi!

Domestic helpers are called ayis here, as in a-yi (chinese for auntie). Their fees are very very reasonable and since I do need the extra help, we decided to go for it. The amount of help you get from them can vary a lot, from having them come early in the morning till night, every day of the week, to just a couple of hours a week.

We decided that we needed help with the things I either like to put off, or are too time-consuming. So some of those chores include ironing, cleaning toilets, scrubbing stove etc.
I thought once a week would be sufficient, but our housing agent said that'd be tough to find, so I agreed to 2 afternoons a week. She said it'd be around 400 rmb (S$80) a month.

After sourcing for more than a week, she called back to say most people found our place too far off from the city center (most of them cycle) and she could only find one lady in her 40s who is 朝鲜族 (north korean). She asked if it was ok with me. I thought, that doesn't sound negative at all, why the hesitancy in her tone of voice. I said fine.

On Sat, the ayi came over to meet me. She took a look at the whole house and wanted to see my whole family. When she saw ds2, and then ds1, she remarked, wow, 2 kids, hmm. Then we discussed her fees. She said my family size is large (compared to those in spore, no way! or those in Utah!) and my house is too big. Furthermore, her schedule now has 3 afternoons empty (mon wed fri) and if I engage her for only 2 afternoons, it is very difficult for her to fill up the last afternoon. She asked if she can come 3x a week instead.

The soft-hearted me agreed. Then she said she has to charge 800 rmb in this case. I expressed surprise but she said the rate is like that. Later, H told me her Korean friend engaged an ayi to come all full 5 days of the week, and she charged her 1100 rmb 2 years ago. Every year, they are supposed to get a raise too.

I also found out later still, that the more experienced (those in 40s), and the 朝鲜族 command higher pay. Ahh, no wonder.

So now I got a top-notch ayi huh!

She's very nice though, today's her first day here. Will update more.

Now going to bring kids out with Dh to get their haircut. This will be ds1's 1st paid haircut in 3+ years, and only his 2nd in his whole life. And this will be ds2's very 1st haircut at the barber's.

The silver lining about living here? Probably the price of haircuts. haha. Each of them will pay only 15 rmb (S$3) for their haircuts. So why should I need to trouble myself to cut their hair ever again? haha.


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