Keeping Fit

I’ve been trying my hardest to stay active during the third trimester. It’s certainly been tough as I’ve been getting bigger and a lot more tired. I find myself dozing off at various times during the day. It’s a terrible curse that pregnant women are not advised to drink coffee!

(Here I am this week at 33 weeks:)


I always thought I would be a pregnant runner. I knew other women did it, and made it look easy, so why couldn’t I? I’ve been running fora good ten years and was keen to keep it up. I gave it a good go too, running a few times a week in the second trimester (my first trimester I was recovering from my knee surgery plus my nausea/tiredness ruled running out). But as my tummy grew running just didn’t feel right. I was obsessively thinking about how the baby felt inside there while I was bouncing around. I know doctors have come out and said there is no harm to the baby  but you still can’t help but think about it. Plus my body had changed so much that it made my form really awkward. And I just felt heavy – which made it really, really hard.

So without running I had to turn to other activities to keep active. I bought myself a new bike –  a cruiser rather than a mountain bike so my knees don’t hit my belly when I ride. I have  found it much easier to bike than walk. I’m also a lot more careful when I ride – sticking to the sidewalks and avoiding and sharp turns.


I’ve also been trying to get to the pool at least once a week. To do so I had to buy a new swimsuit as I had stretched my speedo to its limit. I was unable to find a maternity suit in Taipei and the only thing I could find to accommodate my belly was this two piece in XL. I wouldn’t be caught dead in this if I wasn’t pregnant but it does the trick for now.

IMG_4271I’ve also been doing some walking here and there when my back feels up to it. On the treadmill:

IMG_4301And at the University track.

IMG_3938But by far, the best preggo activity I have been doing is yoga. I go two times a week and always notice the difference after – it really helps to ease my aches and pains.

I’m going to try to keep up this routine as long as I can. My Doctor wants me to cease all activity apart from walking when I am full term at 37 weeks. It will be tough especially if baby comes late but I suppose I should use that time as an opportunity to rest up before baby comes.

One Month Post-Op, Inside Our Fridge, and a Birthday

It’s been one month since my knee anthroscopy. I have been amazed at how quickly I have been recovering. Aesthetically my knee looks pretty good. Just a few small holes where the scope went in.

I still don’t have full mobility and experience pain from time to time, when I attempt something I’m not ready to (like a front crawl when swimming, or a speed walk). The worst pain actually comes when I squat. A lot of the women’s toilets around Taiwan are squat-style, so if I really, really have to go I’ll squat down but then have a hard time getting up and am in agonizing pain.

But on the up-side: two weeks after surgery I was back on my bike (at a very slow pace), back in the pool (doing a very cautious one-legged frog stroke), walking pretty normally (without a cane, minor limp,  struggled with stairs and could only use my good leg to get up/down them).

Now, four weeks later, I can bike much faster (still not normal speed), swim (two-legged frog, experimented with front crawl today but still have pain), walk fine and can use both legs going down stairs but I am still struggling going up stairs.

Last night I attempted a few yoga moves but the deep knee bends were quite sore so I eased off.  Part of this might be that I have lost a lot of muscle in my left thigh. It is noticeably smaller that the right. I am going to have to work on rebuilding that strength so I don’t continue favoring my right leg.

To celebrate my one month post-op I took a trip to Costco as our fridge was in dire need of restocking.

Best Costco buy and my favorite thing in our fridge right now? Hands down, this massive jar of artichoke hearts:

My second favorite fridge item (although not from Costco) are these lychees:

Our freezer is equally stuffed full of goodies.

My favorite thing in here? Wild blueberries:

If the last three things I ate were blueberries, lychees and artichoke hearts, I’d die a happy woman.

In more exciting news today is a very special someone’s birthday, my second cousin, Josie.

Like me, Josie is a big cat lover, so I did my best to have Fern and Goose pose in a special birthday photo for Josie. This was the best I could do:

Happy Birthday Jos! We hope you have an amazing day!

Love, Mel, Luke, Fern, and Goose

Freezable Vegetarian Burritos

I knew that I wouldn’t be very mobile after my surgery and that my ability to do housework and cooking would be limited. So before my surgery I cleaned the house and put in a big effort in the kitchen – making cookies and dinners to last us a few days. For dinner, I wanted something that could be easily pulled out of the freezer and popped in the microwave. So I ended up making vegetarian burritos. There are so many different recipes on the internet. I looked at a few, then looked in my cupboards, and came up with my own variation. They turned out perfectly and are so easy to make.

Freezable Vegetarian Burritos

– 6-8 whole wheat tortillas

– 1 can vegetarian fat-free refried beans (you could also use black beans or pinto beans)

-1 cup cooked brown rice

– jalapeno peppers (optional)

– 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used monterey jack but cheddar would be good too)


1. Lay the tortillas out on a flat surface and spread equal amount of the ingredients into each tortilla in the following order: beans, rice, jalapeno peppers (1 or 2 depending on how spicy you like it), cheese.

2. Roll up each burrito by tucking in the edges and folding over tightly.

3. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place into a plastic bag. Seal and place into freezer

To  heat and eat:

Oven method

-Pre-heat oven to 350 F

-Remove plastic wrap and cook for about 15 minutes or until done.


-Remove plastic wrap and microwave for 3-5 mins

Operation Surgery Complete

My operation went great. I’m back home now resting, icing, and cuddling with the cats. I stayed at the Taipei Adventist hospital 3 days and 2 nights in total. I opted to get a single room which was very spacious and comfortable. It had a flat screen TV with quite a few American movie channels so my first night felt more like being in a hotel.

Dinner my first night was also very tasty, so unlike hospital food I have previously experienced. The hospital only serves vegetarian food but it was all very interesting and delicious.

But the hotel fantasy was ruined when on Monday at 6am a nurse woke me up, helped me into a hospital gown and then stuck a needle into my hand and hooked me up to an IV drip.

She didn’t speak any English and my Chinese wasn’t up to it so I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on. I had originally told Luke to come round about 7.30am, a half hour before I was due to be taken to the operating room. But instead I texted him frantically just after the IV was put in my saying ‘Come now quick!!!’.

So he came but nothing happened until around 8.30am when they wheeled me to surgery.

I went into the operating room around 9am and the last thing I remember was the nurse cleaning my leg and the doctor (as well as 4 other nurses) standing over me. Anesthesia kicked in and I was out. I woke up again in another room. I was drowsy and numb. I just remember being hooked up to machines monitoring my breathing. Then shortly after a nurse said I was okay and I was wheeled back to the waiting room where Luke was and we went to my room.

At this point I was starting to regain consciousness. My face was still very numb but I could move my arms okay. I looked down at my legs and saw this:

The worst part of the post-surgery part was not being able to drink (not even water) or eat for 4 hours after the operation. I had to fast from 12pm the night before and dinner was at 6pm, so I didn’t eat or drink for a good 19 hours.  It was agony. When I was finally cleared for drinking I sucked down water and Minute Maid like it was nobody’s business.

This of course led to me having to pee, really, really bad. I buzzed the nurse to ask if it was alright if I could get up. But in came four nurses and through a mix of Chinese and English I realized I was not allowed to walk for six hours after the surgery and so the only place my urine could go was into a bedpan. And so it went. I must have broken a seal too as it seemed I was buzzing them back in every half hour. The bedpan’s really not so bad once you get used to it. I just needed to block out the fact that  four nurses were standing round me waiting patiently for a little tinkle noise.

I slept a lot the rest of the day, waking up only for dinner:

and to watch a movie with Luke. Luke also brought me a welcome gift of Lattea.

Around 5am the next day the anesthesia finally wore off and I was in excruciating pain. I buzzed the nurse and she could immediately see I needed some relief so she jabbed me with a needle (assuming with some kind of morphine properties) and I experienced numbness once again. Later that morning the doctor came in to talk to me. It turns out that my knee was actually worse than what the MRI showed so he said it was a really good thing I had the operation. He fixed my tear and also removed my plica (which could also be a source of pain).

I was cleared for release around noon but quickly realized that I wold be unable to walk without assistance. I didn’t want crutches as my recovery is all about returning to normal use and strengthening so I opted instead for a Granny cane. Between Luke and the cane I was able to wobble down and into a taxi and make it home.

This next week will be all about rest and slowly rebuilding strength. I still feel very tired so I have been sleeping every few hours. As nice as the hospital was there is no place like home.

‘Twas the Weekend Before Surgery

My knee surgery is tomorrow so Luke and I decided to make the most of the weekend and get out and explore.

Friday after meeting with our Chinese tutors we checked out this place down the road called, ‘The Witch House’.

It’s well known for being a place where you can grab a drink, fried food, and play board games.

They are also very well known for having a very sexually explicit menu and for being a lesbian hang-out.

We indulged in drinks, fried foods, and a game.

Saturday was a beautiful day so after my last big pool swim, Luke and I took the car for a drive out to the Danshui. Danshui is a popular seaside town for locals to visit. It has a great carnival-like boardwalk and has great little cafes to sit and enjoy the view.

After hydrating we took a walk up to see Fort San Domingo from the 1626 to 1641 Spanish occupation. As well as the former British consular residence, located right next to the fort.

After we made our way back down to the waterfront and found a nice spot to watch the sunset.

After the sunset we walked back along the boardwalk which was packed full of families and couples.

It was a great way to spend our last evening together for the two nights. I’m off to the hospital now and will report back post-op!

Oh, and I of course I should mention that today is a very special day as Luke’s beautiful sister Abby turned 21!


Abby and her fiance, Brad

Abby and her fiance, Brad

We love you lots,

Mel and Luke