I just came back a short time ago from the local General Hospital where I had gone for the biennial “full medical” check-up so that I can once again renew my visa. Most of the check-up is done with the level of scrutiny you would expect from public doctors who see a thousand patients a day. Mine listened to my lungs through my jacket, asked if I could hear sounds in either side of my head (good hearing is essential for survival on the streets of Taiwan), and proceeded to check-off the document stating that I was healthy. The most uncomfortable part is the obligatory “samples” that you must submit – uncomfortable for me but imagine the lab technicians who sole job is analyze stool and urine samples all day long. I sat there and watched them check sample after sample after sample. Now that’s an exciting job! Nothing like putting yourself through grad school only to find yourself deep in the same stuff a pig farmer is and likely for less pay. So the next time I start complaining about the monotony of my work I’ll just think of those lab technicians at the hospital and be thankful.