Monday, October 25, 2010

Seasonal Sickness.. all around!

Top: Me at the hair place... this thing they had on my head is a steamer- never seen anything like it (didn't get my hair colored in America so I wouldn't know). This smile didn't last long.
Bottom: View from the top of Mudo Mountain

Sorry that I am just now blogging… i've been pretty sick and I haven't had the energy to type (pathetic I know).

When I got to Korea, everyone kept telling me… "Emilie, you just wait, everyone who moves here gets sick within the first month"! Ha.. I sure showed them, I waited almost 2 1/2 months. I try really hard to eat well, drink lots of water, exercise and take vitamins. I would say I take pretty good care of myself (you taught me well momma). The sickness floating all over the teachers' room and all over school in general just couldn't wait to infect me. Dammit.. let me tell you… this makes me so angry: everyone here, I mean EVERYONE doesn't cover their freaking mouth. They don't even try to hold back the germs, they just open their mouth as wide as possible and let it fly. As angry as this makes me, I've noticed it everywhere i've gone. Maybe i'll start wearing a sars mask like a lot of Koreans do. Not only this but people here don't take sick days when they are sick…. mostly because people aren't given sick days. For example, I have 2 sick days (these include personal days) for an entire year. Now, you might be thinking it's not that bad because you know, teachers have tonssssss of days off including a summer vacation… OH NO.. not us. We have a 5 day summer vacation, 3 days off for the Korean Thanksgiving, 5 days off for Christmas and 1 day off for a holiday called Children's Day (when I come back to America and start teaching again, it will be like heaven). I have students come to my class with raging fevers… when I tell them they need to go home, their moms always say to just wait it out… that's unheard of in America. I told my Kindergarten parents back in America… "DO NOT send your child to school if he or she is sick.. especially with a fever!!!!!!" It makes sense, the aren't very cautions when it comes to fighting germs and you and I both know when one kid is sick… eventually they all are! Luckily the worst thing I had all year during my internship was ring worm (which, of course I got from the kids… sounds gross but it's not really a big deal). They really don't teach kids about cleanliness and germs. It's so different because when I taught in America, we couldn't reiterate enough about the importance of covering your mouth, using hot water and soap to wash hands, use germ X constantly and of course wash your hands constantly. I mean, come on.. they don't even have soap in our bathrooms at school. Anyway… I'm still sick, as well as about 4 other teachers. It's lovely ya know, we all sit around in the teacher's room coughing and snotting on one another. The funny part is, no tissues so everyone walks around with a roll of toilet paper (unlike the guys who don't care about the softness of their toilet paper, I don't have an irritated, red nose haha)!

People in Korea don't just wait out their sickness like us Americans.. they are hypochondriacs, they rush to the doctor/hospital at the sight of a snotty nose or a little cough. This is probably because they can't afford to ever take a sick day… they don't have any. After feeling like complete SHIT Saturday night, all day and night Sunday and Monday morning (off and on fever, aching body, sore throat, cough.. bla bla) I thought it would be a good idea to head to the doctor. My liaison took me there (ENT doctor) this morning before work. We walked in and waited in this strange waiting room. The waiting room was connected to the visible doctor's office so I could see everyone being checked by the doc. The doctor stuck a long metal camera down my throat, in my nose and in my ears. A visual showed up on a large screen right in front of me.. not only could I see it but so could everyone sitting in the waiting room (weird, right!). After being checked I went into a little room where I was going to receive a shot (basically, a vitamin shot). The nurse pulled down my pants, smacked my butt really hard and quickly stuck me with the needle then sent me on my way. It was interesting but the good thing was, it didn't hurt and as the day has progressed… I feel 100 times better. I was shocked at the cost of my visit… 3,000 won (about 3 bucks). Then I went downstairs to get a number of different perscriptions.. no ideas why I needed this much crap (antibiotics that consist of 4 pills 3 times a day for 4 days.. pain killers and caught syrup). All this was 3,000 won as well… gotta love these prices!

So, other than being sick and the awful hair color I have, (don't get me wrong, I love red heads but this color of mine isn't even red, it's turning into a lime green/ baby poop orange… AWFUL) the week has been okay. Let me tell you about the hair real quick…for a minute, I thought they might fire me because I don't have the blonde hair they hired me with.. you know, that was a big reason why they hired me. I went hiking with my boss and his family on Saturday and they gave me such a hard time about it. I'm sick of them, it's not like I wanted this… at least I have hair… it could be sooooo much worse. It's just freaking hair, get over it.. good god! I'm rocking this color and it's awesome.. I guess it's all about my attitude now! I will eventually change it… somehow fix it but i'm giving it a good month to breath- I don't want it to fall out! I'll tell ya one thing, i'm going to ROCK my halloween costume haha! I can't wait!!!!! I forgot to mention this in my previous blog.. I was probably too angry to go into detail.. but, the atmosphere at the most recent stylist that I went to was very interesting. First of all, it stays open till 4 am.. it really got crowded around 11 (yes, I was still there at this point). Out of the 30 some people who were in/came in to this place, about 28 of them were men. Well, thats an understatement... I certainly wouldn't say men. These guys came in and outr of this place the whole time I was there. Apparently they work for some kind of escort service/company... they all came in, made themselves comfortable and paid 10,000 won for a hair-do/style (wash, dry, cut/trim, straighten, curl, hair spray... you name it). These guys certainly were a sight to see. Some of them just stood in the mirror admiring themselves for 10 minutes at a time. A good majority of them even had on make up. It was quite an experience. When they saw the orange hair, they also cringed! ;)

Like I mentioned, I went on a hike with my bosses family on Saturday. It was so much fun!! It was perfect timing because all the leaves are starting to change. We went to a really pretty area (Mudo Mountain) where there are gorgeous,intense trails, and fantastic views! I surely got my workout.. my legs and butt are still pretty sore! It cracked me up because the Koreans all wear the exact same thing… honestly I was sooooo out of place. They all wear nice name brand hiking gear that all looks the same just different colors and they all carry hiking sticks- personally, a good stick from the woods is just a good! After the hike we went to a traditional mountain cafe and had lunch. One of the hiking traditions is to drink rice wine with your meal. This isn't just a little glass of rice wine that you sip on throughout the meal… this is a bowl of thick, white yogurt like milk that your elder serves you (I got reprimanded because I wasn't holding the bowl the correct way when receiving wine from my elder.. woops). Once you get your bowl of wine, you chug (it's rude not to finish your drink)…. the light weight that I am was pretty drunk at the end of the meal- I played it off pretty well in front of the boss and his entire family (aunts, uncles, kids, nieces, nephews, wives, siblings, and gradma).

So after the hike on Saturday, I came home and took a long nap. This is when I started feelin crappy. I still went out for a few hours (hung with the sexy German as well as lots of friends) then came home early. It's funny because I say early like it's 10 or something but when bars don't close till 6 or 7 am.. 2 am is early in my mind. I'll sure be a trooper for the weekend fun when I come back to America! Here, your lame if you go in before 4 am… in America that's a pretty late night!

Even though i'm not getting paid for the extra decoration hours i'm putting in Wednesday night, Friday night and the 5 hour Halloween party on Saturday… i'm still pretty excited. It's all about the experience. I think I would still willingly go even if it wasn't required! I can't wait to see all the kiddies in their outfits and of course see Iian teach thriller haha (Iian is one of the teachers… he's a trip). I'll be filling you in next week. Have a good one! :)

Korean Facts/Randomness:

-It's cold here and the mosquitos are still horrendous.. I have welts from these tiny little ass holes.
-I love this… we should definitely get this started in America: at every restaurant and bar, each table has a "call" button. You press it and the waitress comes right away. They never bother you unless you press the bottom.. it's great. The weird part is… no tipping. I always feel so awkward not tipping but like i've said before, it's rude to tip.
-At the grocery store, you can't just get a cart… you have to insert 100 won (10 cents) into an opening in the cart to get it loose. After your done shopping you put your cart back and get your 100 won back as well. (I'm sure they do this in some places in America, I just don't know about it).
- A friend of mine had a cat who recently died… I kept thinking, what the hell do you do with a dead cat (it's not like anyone has backyards to burry them in). He said that he took the kitty to a park and buried him there- thank god because… a lot of people I have talked to said that typically, you just throw them in the trash.
-I know I told you about the trash here but let me remind you how gross it is: there are no such thing as dumpsters or big trash cans. When you throw your trash away you just put it right on the street. In America, you can buy bags that help prevent smell or/and ones that close up with a draw string… no such thing here. Their trash bags aren't even dark colored, they are all clear so all the nasty trash is visible. So the trash on the street is just awful. Most of the time it's over flowing all over the place because other people passing by put their crap on top. I can't imagine walking past some trash and seeing a dead cat on top. Two days out of the week before the trash people come, the trash sinks up the streets. Like i've said before.. they don't have wild life so raccoons don't bother the trash. I guess they can get away with it??… EWW!

xox- EM

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