Prescription Please!

One of the biggest advantages for me as an American abroad is access to affordable healthcare. I actually get excited every time I have to go to the doctor! I’m finally able to get various medical issues looked at that were otherwise neglected in the US due to costs.
To give you an idea of the cost, I visited an ENT specialist here in Taiwan at a local hospital. He spoke perfect English which was helpful, listened to my symptoms, had some x-rays done and prescribed a month’s worth of two name brand prescriptions. The cost: approx. $14. I honestly don’t remember how much I pay monthly for the national health insurance out of my salary, but it’s not much in my opinion. To compare, I googled one of the prescriptions he gave me and in the US the same bottle would cost $38. Plus to see a specialist would cost anywhere from $25-$100 with some insurance plans. Needless to say, I greatly appreciate the presence of a national healthcare plan.
My only complaint so far is that some of the doctors here as well in Korea don’t actually examine you. They ask you questions about your symptoms and then just prescribe something based on whatever you say you have. Hypochondriacs would have a field day! There’s no one to tell you you don’t really have what you think you have. This has happened with 3-4 doctors, even when I say ‘I’m not sure, take a look,’ they don’t. Has anyone else experienced this in their host country? Seems strange to me since in my home country, doctors are reluctant to give you any diagnosis these days for fear of being sued for medical malpractice.
As always, I’m eager to hear your experiences. Happy travels!

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Am I a Bad Expat?

Subway. Starbucks. Coldstone. It’s names like these that set my heart aflutter. I walk inside and I feel instant comfort like a hug from a long lost cousin.
Hanging round an area of the city on the hunt for food, I should, as a traveler, seek out something local and exotic. Instead, I whip out my iPhone, bring up Google Maps and search for a nearby Subway sandwiches. I hideout in my little Americanized heaven for a quick lunch before heading back out to the scooter-filled chaos of Taiwan’s streets. And I am happier.
Why?! What has happened to the girl locked in the cubicle who couldn’t wait to get out and try new food and see new places, new cultures? Have I been abroad too long? Am I more homesick than I admit? I have no plan to return to the US any time soon though. I like living abroad.
OR…
Am I still more of a germophobe than I thought? The ‘Western’ franchises tend to keep their shops up to their country’s health standards unlike some of their local counterparts. So, perhaps I am merely seeking a familiar level of cleanliness.
OR…
perhaps I have not found enough local food that appeals to my taste buds. I eventually grew quite attached to Korean food while there, but cravings for Taiwanese food have yet to arise (except for the teas!)
OR…
Maybe it is that I have acclimated so much to East Asian culture that I too am accepting the Western ways as the new, young, trendy way. Haha.
I think I am finally understanding the ways of immigrants in the US and why they frequent authentic restaurants from their country and hang out in the same neighborhoods. So perhaps what I feel is normal.
Fellow expats, do you think this desire to try to live your country’s lifestyle in your foreign country is normal? Do you find yourself wanting to enjoy familiar franchises, environments and foods? If you have felt this urge before, is it merely a phase that subsides after awhile? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences.