Leaving on a jet plane

January 30, 2011

Well, winter “camp” is over, and the kids had a great time talking with the American students.  And the apartment is cleaner now, than it has been in a long time, although there are still a few things I’ve left to do. Sparky is home with his mama. I am figuring out what to take, and finishing up getting gifts for everyone.

Monday evening I leave for the States. It is only for vacation, I will return.

I’m excited to see everyone, to catch up face to face.  Technology has made it easier in some ways, but it can’t give a real hug, and chat doesn’t have the same rhythm as a real conversation. Plus some of my family are even more tech unsavvy as I am.

While I travel from one safe place to another safe place, my heart goes out to those in Tunisia and Egypt. I hope they can build a safe place.

Till I come back in March, I hope you are all safe.


3 Ds

January 15, 2011

That would be doctors, dentists, and dogs.

First the fun stuff. This past week I’ve been dog sitting for a friend that is in Thailand for her vacation. She will be there till the end of the week. The dog is kind of cute, a chewawawa . I know it isn’t spelled that way, but that’s the way I think of him. He is actually a pretty good dog. He only got into the yarn once, and when I said (not yelled, just said) no, he’s left it alone.  He did pee on the towel in my bathroom, but that is because he hadn’t found his little pads. Here in Korea, they have these little pads that you put on the floor for your small dogs. It is a good thing, because it has been far too cold to take the poor thing out much.  It also took him a few days to figure out how to be here. We’ve figured out some indoor games, and he seems to like sitting by my feet when I knit or write at the computer. He still misses his mama, but we’ve been getting along quite well. He doesn’t bark much and that is a blessing.  I will be happy when he goes home, but it is kind of nice to be greeted with a wagging tail when you come home.

My New Year’s resolution this year is to get healthy. So to start I went to the doctor’s for the breast/cervical cancer screenings (they are free here if you are over 40, and the national health service nags you to go get it. Seriously, they send reminders until you go.) So I went, and there are no problems. Whew! There is a small problem with my uterus, I have some growths that are benign, and unfortunately the only treatment is a hysterectomy. The doctor said I could wait until menopause, but it is bothersome, and I need to decide what I want to do about the situation. I really liked the doctor at the women’s health clinic here in Mang-u ro.  She  was kind and gentle, and she spoke English really well. She also did something that a lot of doctor’s don’t do in the States, she listened to me and assumed I was an intelligent adult when she answered.  I am also going on Monday to get a full screening, including heart tests and blood work.  The clinic in Itaewon offers a full spectrum STD test, for every STD known to man, and I when I went to their website, I was shocked to find so many. Of course if you are going to catch and STD, Itaewon is probably where you will get one. I love some of the bars and restaurants there, but it is the seedy part of town. I will be getting an EKG, and some blood tests, and a full health screening.

Which brings me to the dentist. I went to one in Nowon, and I was surprised at how gentle they were. I usually do not like to go to the dentist because I’ve had so many cavities and other problems. Which makes for a vicious circle. I don’t go until there is some pain or other scary problem, so when I do go, it is unpleasant to say the least. But this time, I had no cavities, and only a mild case of gum disease. I will be getting treatments for it, and so far they aren’t painful. I still don’t like the smell and sounds of the place, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared.

By the end of March, I should at least be fully informed of my health situation.

I’ve been so afraid to go to the doctor’s and the dentist’s. I feel so relieved now that I’m actually taking care of everything. Oh, god, I’m now a real grown up!


On neglect

January 10, 2011

It has been a while, hasn’t it? I’d like to say I’ve been busy with daring do’s around the globe, but unfortunately that would not be true.

I am excited about going back to the States soon. Feb 1st I will fly out of Incheon, and won’t return till Feb 26. I am really looking forward to seeing family and old friends. I don’t really miss the U.S. much, at least not as much as I think I should. I can find cheese and peanut butter and hobby supplies and books and music here.  I even found some of the spices I was looking for, and although some things are more expensive, many things are cheaper so it all evens out.  Ok, the selection of TV shows isn’t so great, and both i-tunes and hulu won’t let me purchase anything ( which is kind of stupid if you ask me, I find  out about a lot of the shows/movies from the pirates on the street, but when I go to get it legally, they cite copyright infringement. Sigh, frustrating, but since I don’t LOVE TV it is ok) I like the mountains here, and the parks, I love the bicycle trails, and the fact that many drivers are amazingly good about slowing down and giving cyclists room (although they still are a bit more aggressive in most other areas compared to US drivers) I like the transportation system, and the fact that I can take a high-speed train to Pusan if I want to get away for a weekend. I love the coffee shops and areas like Insadong, Jongak, E-dae and Hongdae, and Gwanghwamun.  And most of all, I love my school and my students. I’m truly fortunate in my school.

So life here is pretty easy for me, I like Korea and Koreans, and some things here are better than what I could get back home. For example:

I just got back from the doctor’s and had to take some additional tests (I’m fine, but the cost was only 70 dollars total. The tests and the doctor’s consultation. I don’t think I could do that in the States. Next week I’ll go to the dentist, and for the most part, medical/dental care is better here than what I could afford back home.

But I do miss my friends back home.  Yes I use Skype and Facebook and messenger and e-mail, and it helps, but it isn’t really the same. I’m grateful for all the technology that lets me keep in touch with everyone, and it comforts me, but it is going to be awesome to see some friends- it has been three years for a few of them, and although I can see them on my computer, it isn’t the same as a real hug, and one of my friends has promised fried chicken. (not the KFC crap, but the real, southern pan-fried chicken. The kind you can’t buy anywhere, and my mouth is watering just thinking about it)

So right now life is good, if not particularly exciting.