Just my luck~

I’m not a religious person. I do respect other religions and understand the need for them. I merely wish they didn’t drive people to do hateful things to each other.
But when I was growing up, I was quite fascinated with Asian religions and mysticism. I love mythology and all the ideas people came up with to explain how the Earth was made, how humans came to be, and how the world works. The Zodiacs are also fun to believe in as well. That different signs match and others conflict. And when you look at the Zodiacs, sometimes they really do make sense. And when I look at Chinese astrology, although it’s a different culture, sometimes I feel like it applies to me as well.

But at the end of the day, it isn’t real. Though we really want to believe it’s real. Though sometimes I really wonder how real it is.
My father was also interested in Chinese zodiacs and would look it up online to see what his sign was and what his fortune was like. My father even bought a charm and a jade tiger to reinforce his luck. I remember him telling me that it said he was born on an extremely lucky day and that he was supposed to be a very lucky person. But he wondered why he had lead such a miserable life and felt that the reading might be a mistake about his luck. My poor daddy… He has lead such a miserable life.

Last spring, I had the chance to go see a Taro card reader near my house with a fellow instructor at the institute. I went with little expectations because the last fortune teller I went to wasn’t very good. It was a $5 palm reading in Washington D.C. when I went to go visit my friends Lily and Mariana, and the woman told me I would be conflicted between two loves and to pick the newer love. There was no two men ever and I thought the woman was a bunch of crock afterwards.

So my coworker and I got two readings (also $5) and this time was for Love AND Work. The woman said for love, that I was in a relationship but the person I was with was more in love with me than I was with him (True). She told me it wouldn’t get any better and that I should just break up.
As for work, she said that it looks bright and that I should change my job in the fall. I was surprised by this response because everyone’s contract starts in a different month, but mine is in the fall, in October. I asked her about the Summer or Winter and she told me the cards say Fall and only Fall.
I had this reading and didn’t think too much of it. But then during the summer, an opportunity presented itself and I was able to start as soon as my other contract ended in the Fall. And that is what happened, just as she said.
It could be luck, it could be timing, but the way it worked out couldn’t have been any better.

Also at the time, I was looking for a way to break up with my ex and had finally found a way. At the same time, a friend of mine offered the services of a Shaman. You see, in Korea, they used to practice Shamanism, and the priests were very often women. Those charms you often see in Japanese animes at the shrines, well, Koreans have a form of them as well. You can buy cheap Japanese charms from these shrines for yourself. I bought one for my dad in Japan when I studied abroad there in hopes that it will improve his luck. He keeps it in his car and drives around with it. Sometimes I think it keeps him safe because he has gotten into accidents that could have killed him but he came out perfectly fine, just needing a new car. So maybe it is working? I can hope, anyway.

Anyway- my friend said she could get a charm for me from this old woman who could help get rid of my ex-boyfriend and improve my life. I was interested until she told me about the price. $300. Yes, you heard that right. It’s quite expensive. But the difference, I was told, is that these are personalized, rather than just a general one written for anybody. Those are less effective. So many laugh at me for having one and then spending so much. But the old woman prayed day and night for 3 days straight to make this charm.

And was it effective you might ask? Yes. Very.

I am a lucky person. It sounds odd but I can feel my luck. I know I was born lucky. I can’t describe it but good things (as well as bad) happen to me but the usually in a very good way. The bad is just momentary. And the bad only happens when I am around negative people. There are really negative people who just suck your luck and energy away. My mother and ex were those kinds of people. Once I got away, life improved drastically. Once I got away from my ex, I felt better, I got better housing, and I ended up with a nice bit of extra money in the bank almost immediately after receiving this charm. It has paid itself back many fold.

When I met my friend this weekend during Chuseok, she told me that the old Shaman woman said that I was a very lucky person, that she felt it too. But she also said that this year, I won’t meet anyone for love. It’s too soon yet. And it makes sense with the charm. They usually last for a year. So she told my friend to tell me to hold off and just wait until next year. Next year will be a better year.

And it sounds really strange but it is really comforting to hear that. I always think I’m doing something wrong but it’s not me, it’s just timing. It’s just not the right time. Later. Now is the time for learning. Learning how to be me again. Learning what me is. And it’s nice to know I don’t have to focus on that right now and can focus on other things. And although it’s odd to say I believe, I kinda do. It’s that reassurance I needed right now. The push to focus on things that need more immediate attention. I’m so worried now about some people in my life but it’s like life telling me, if they’re there next year, they’re worth it. If not, they’re not. Don’t bother yourself with those who don’t stick around. But I think everything will turn out just fine.

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Marriage

I see this word and I immediately have the image of the priest from the Little Mermaid standing on the crate speaking “Mawwege~”, yes, like the priest from the Princess Bride. I’m not sure why this comes into my head but it does. And it makes me giggle on this inside. And think how absurd it all can be.

This past weekend, I had to attend two weddings, one each day. One was for a coworker and one was for a member of the swim club. In Korea, getting married is a big deal. People will constantly ask you, “When are you getting married?” even if you don’t have a boyfriend and they know it. It’s a constant question. I’ve heard of people dating for 3-4 weeks and then decide to get married. We see it in our movies sometimes where people fall in love at first site and then elope. But we think of those as just silly movies with no basis on reality. I think my friend getting engaged within a year of dating was the quickest anyone I know had gotten engaged. But Korea has changed that idea completely for me.

But yet I was just overwhelmed with sadness at each wedding. For a couple reasons, actually. One, I realized just how alone I really am and how far away that wedding feels. It didn’t help that a guy I am/was kinda interested in was there and kinda just avoided me for most of the ceremony. So that just made me even more tired and frustrated.

But, the other reason was the guests of the wedding and how insanely rude they can be. I was sitting at my coworker’s wedding and these two old women were just talking loudly the entire ceremony. And they weren’t the only ones, tons of people were just talking through the whole ceremony. And a bunch of people just completely ignored the wedding and played on their cell phone. And once the 20-30 minutes ceremony was over, people ran quickly to the buffet hall for the food (it’s not a sit-down meal, it’s a buffet line. And then the bride and groom will walk around and greet everyone, introducing the group to their new spouse). A whole Korean wedding doesn’t take longer than an hour and a half. But the wedding is so short, and people can’t pay attention for 20 minutes? Especially your friend’s wedding? That’s a shame. And disappointing. And childish.

How is it that the thing everyone asks you about, the thing you worry about and stress about is something you don’t even pay attention to? It’s like asking a question but then listening to something else while they give you a response. I admire Korean weddings for their speed, no frills, and a great buffet(I gotta get me one at my wedding). But the lack of courtesy exhibited by guests and attendees is appalling.

And another thing. In America, we have a dress rehearsal the day before to run through how to do everything and then you can go do it the day of the wedding? Well in Korea, that doesn’t happen. What they do is have “convention center staff”, or wedding hall staff, whoever they are, basically move you around to the right spots and help guide you through it. They do some ridiculous stuff like shoot streamers at you, hold up arches for you, etc. The guests don’t take part in the ceremony, nothing. No rice or anything. I know I’ve been to one before but this just really reinforced my dislike for Korean style weddings. Koreans will really hate my wedding because I might just have a no-cell phone rule during the wedding. And ushers. Wouldn’t that suck?

So overall, I think I don’t want to go to another wedding unless I absolutely have to, like for work. Otherwise, count me out of the rudeness. But the one good thing about this? I saw a Korean celebrity- the giant comedian Choi Hong Min. That’s always a plus.

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The Fuck Yes Ideology

While roaming through Facebook, I came across this posting called the “Fuck Yes or No” law. You can read more about it here: http://markmanson.net/fuck-yes/

 

I apologize for the vulgarity of the title but you’ll come to understand it and how much it needs that title.

Anyway, I was reading this and it really struck me. I’ve been having those problems where I wonder, “Does A like me? He is nice to me but he doesn’t message much.” And when I look at this article, it makes complete and utter sense. Why am I wasting my time wondering? If they want me, they’ll come. People will make effort to come into your life. If they don’t, they don’t belong. And if people aren’t saying “Fuck Yes” to you, ask yourself why. Improve yourself. Improving yourself is the best thing anyone can do for themselves. Motivation is also a problem with that but once you get that, it gets easier.

And I know this is true because I’ve seen people make the effort if they really want something. But this goes for you too. Ask yourself “Do you really want this? Fuck yes? Then go for it!” But remember there is a difference between showing someone who you are after you’ve made that decision and trying to get someone to change their mind after they’ve made a decision. That’s different. Just remember to always be you, the best you. You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone but yourself. That can sometimes be a hard thing to remember. 

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The Picky Eater’s Support Group

As most of my friends and family know, I’m a picky eater. Heaven forbid I eat some vegetables or seafood. The world truly might end. At least, some days it feels that way. And while I’m still a picky eater, I have relaxed my pickiness a lot more these days. I have to in order to survive here in Korea.

Some people deny the existence of picky eating as a mental illness similar to bulemia or anorexia. They feel we are just overgrown children who have not yet learned to “suck it up and eat what you’re given”. But it’s more than just being picky, there’s a whole other level to it. These psychological issues with food are the worst. With alcohol or drugs, you put the person through rehab and therapy for them to give it up. People can stay away from it for years and years. But food? Not the same. You need this to survive. If you don’t eat, you do. Some picky eaters are so frustrated with the problem that they pray for just pills or IVs to be invented so they can avoid the food problem all together. They even pray that they wish they never had to eat again. So it’s a lot more work to try and cope with this problem since you can’t avoid it but are absolutely frustrated and angry with yourself, others, and the food itself. It’s like the whole depression problem. Just smile and be happy! Life isn’t that bad! Right? No, you asshole, it’s not that simple. If only it were.

Anyway, for picky eater’s there is a Facebook community as a support group. People can discuss research studies, news articles they’ve found, let off steam about episodes that annoy them or frustrated them, etc. And they need this outlet as no one else will listen to them. Many of their family and friends don’t understand. So it’s a good thing. But sometimes, I feel like the group is filled with too much negativity. And some of the reactions are just too extreme. I, for example, don’t care if my friends say “Let’s go to the sushi place!” because I don’t mind. The point of the meeting is to just speak with them, not really eat. So I’m happy just being there with them. But some people in this group go nuts. It’s a bit crazy. It’s getting to the point that I don’t feel like it helps me. The medical articles are very interesting and help bring awareness to the foods I eat and how I should try to find healthier alternatives. But sometimes I think these group just feed the negativity. I know it’s a release for the ever-present negativity in their lives but it’s counterproductive at times.

So sometimes I feel like I don’t belong in this group. And I consider leaving the group. But sometimes I’m grateful for the articles, the words of encouragement, the advice. But I just wish people would relax a bit more. But a hungry woman can get very scary. That is a known fact. So I understand. But negativity is negativity. I’m trying to eliminate as much as I can from my life. It gets harder and harder these days. I hope it gets easier soon.

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Beauty Haul: DCL AHA Oily Skin Solution 8

If you’ve known me, you’ve also known I’ve been struggling with acne since I first hit puberty. Although it was not as bad as some of those you’ve seen on Youtube, I found it to be quite embarrassing. Always some sort of pimple on my cheek or forehead, etc. I would always have a bunch simultaneously popping out and it would drive me crazy. It also doesn’t help that if you are tired or malnourished, you will break out even more. I was quite tired during the last few years of my life, always running off of 5 hours of sleep or so a night. You think you can survive and you do. But you don’t realize how bad you become or home much of an affect sleep really has on you until you actually sleep. Well, since I’ve been sleeping much more lately, weight is down AND acne is down. 

And as any of my close friends know, I’ve taken to higher-end face products for my skincare routine. And that does help. But I have found one product that truly gave me the real difference I needed. Although I used higher end products, they helped but I still broke up. But after using this puppy, breakouts were almost completely eliminated.

My life saver

My life saver

So somewhere on the internet I was reading about acne care and someone mentioned the use of AHA as an acne treatment. AHA is a chemical-type exfoliator for the skin. There’s AHA and BHA (Salicylic Acid, actually). So most acne-sufferers are used to BHA, or SA, in their products. However, you will most likely see it written as BHA in wrinkle treatment products. AHA is also used in these products too, however, these days, people are noticing that it is also a good acne treatment as well.

 

I’ve used Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid, but they say that if you use BP for too long, it becomes harder and harder for the zit to go away. That’s not good. So I’ve moved to Tea Tree Oil, a more holistic alternative but still, sometimes, it isn’t enough. So I needed something else. When I was out one day in Gangnam for work, I ran across this line at Boons, a 신세계-owned company that sells foreign brands of facial products that other stores don’t usually carry. I saw this, as well as their Skin Refreshener, and I decided to look into it online. There is a whole step system, similar to murad and other brands, but you increase your level of AHA from 8 to 15 to 20, since your skin can get used to it. And then they have a whole range of other products. So I decided to go back and buy it. I will never regret that decision. My skin cleared up so well within the first few weeks (less than a month) and I rarely break out now. I have one or two, especially since it’s the summer and I am greasing up like a pig. But it’s wonderful. After 6-8 (one bottle, basically), you’re supposed to move up to the next level, AHA Revitalizing Gel 15. I tried this for 2 weeks and started breaking out again. I think it’s a bit too strong for my skin. So I bought the AHA Solution 8 again and it worked just fine. 

So for anyone who is oily skinned and wants to try a product to get rid of their acne, I highly recommend this series. Now if you are dry skinned, I recommend the La Roche Posay. It’s a French brand and I hear positive things about it. But I can’t vouch for it since I’m as greasy as a bacon pan. 

 

Oh! Quick tip! Do you find yourself breaking out around your mouth, even though you wash like crazy? Have you ever tried checking out your lip balms/lipsticks? These babies harbor lots of bacteria and I tend to breakout quite a bit around my mouth if I don’t clean them frequently. Remember, they are moist and so they are great places for bacteria to grow. Even concealer pots, such as MAC’s concealer pot. So go to the pharmacy and pick up some alcohol swabs and then use one swab per product. Clean them every week to every month, depending on usage. It really makes a difference! 

 

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International Marriage in Korea News

If you ever read English-language Korean news sites, you will often see stories like “Forcing Korean norms puts pregnant immigrants at risk” and other articles about immigrant-spouse treatment is in this country.

 

If you were unaware, in Korea, many men, especially those with no college education, farmers, skilled workers, construction, etc, often have difficulty finding wives due to their rank being so low in the marriage food chain. Women only want men with a college education , a car, a good job, and some other requirements. So these men have been “forced” to find wives outside the country. There are marriage agencies in Korea that will pair one of these men up with a wife of a foreign nationality, almost always Vietnamese, Thai, Philippino, or another Southeast Asian country. These countries are usually economically less off than Korea and the people feel as though their lives will be better if they come to Korea and marry one of these men. Does this sound reminiscent of the Russian mail-order brides? It’s almost exactly the same, except with Southeast Asians instead.

Men go to an agency, look through their database, pick someone that looks nice, go to that country to meet her, get married after that meeting, then bring her home to live with him and his family. 

 

It has been in the news that the rate of divorce and the rate of reports of abuse and such has been on the rise due to a lack of understanding of culture, and among other things. Many women are abused by their Korean husbands, or the women are unhappy in their marriage and run away. I knew someone that this has happened to. She left behind two children with the Korean man and went back to her native country because she was unhappy. 

Anyway, the Korean government is very frustrated with this situation. In an already xenophobic country, this ordeal exacerbates many beliefs about foreigners. So the government has tried to solve this issue by forcing immigrant wives into Korean cultural programs, where they learn about Korean culture, learn some of the Korean language, and other important information on life in Korea.

This is necessary for the woman and I understand this. But there isn’t anything about the husband getting training or anything about the wife’s culture and language. Marriage is a 2-way street and it seems they expect these women to give up there culture and be good Korean wives. And they wonder why the divorce rate, especially among international marriages, is rising. I doubt it will ever truly go down until both parties learn about each other’s culture and are mindful and respectful of them. 

Perhaps this is just the American in me speaking. But if Korea is going to model themselves after America, as they claim to love us so much, they have a long way to go if they are going to be pushy about it. America is not a saint either, but at least we allow each person to practice their culture freely without imposition. Retaining a cultural identity is important, whether it’s your home country or host country. But in all cases, respect is always of the utmost importance. 

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State of Affairs

Hey all,

I know it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been posting. I’ve wanted to update but I haven’t really been inspired by a specific topic. Sorry for that. So I shall give you all just a general update.

July has come and gone quite quickly. Monsoon season seemed to have come just as quickly with barely a hint of rain. And as soon as monsoon season was over, a typhoon came and has been clobbering us with rain this week and some of last week. I miss the sun. But rain is much needed around the farm lands so I can’t complain. And there was no flooding this year so I’m thankful for that as well.

These past couple weeks I’ve been in a bit of a rut. I think it started around the time of a friend’s family event. I attended the event and I was the 3rd (or in this case 5th) wheel. I just sat there and felt so uncomfortable. Some might think, “it’s because you’re jealous of the girlfriend!”. And that could be in there a bit. But it was a lot of remembering how I was flaunted to all my ex’s family as his future wife when we hadn’t discussed marriage or didn’t want it, how uncomfortable that was, and the idea of just being left behind. What do I have to show for myself? I felt like I was tagging along to something that wasn’t my own. I was angry at myself for letting this happen. And then afterwards, my friend told me before that we’d be going out after that but instead, I was dismissed since it became a family only affair. I should’ve expected it. But I just felt abandoned.

So since then I’ve been examining my life. And how unhappy I am with it. I feel as though I’m coasting. I feel like I haven’t reached my true potential. That I’m capable of much more. This isn’t what I want to do. But I don’t know a better option. So I’ve been trying to figure out what I need to do in order to fix this situation. I’ve come up with a couple:

1. Lose weight (quite obvious but I’ll get to that in a minute)
2. Pass Korean Test at Advanced level (level 5 or 6, but mostly 6)
3. Perhaps go back to school

In detail:
1. Yes, I’m fat. I’m learning to accept this. I’m learning to own it. But I’m learning to own up to it. I don’t want to just love my fat. That’s settling. I’m not a settler. And I understand this whole “love your body” and “be comfortable with who you are” sort of gimmick. And there is some truth to that. Love yourself, yes. But comfortable being you. But know that you can improve, be better. Settling for obesity isn’t OK. We need to lose weight. We need to take responsibility for ourselves instead placing the blame on the economy, Obama, my bad knee, etc. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It can be done.

2. I’m not happy with my career. So, Mary, just change careers. Simple as pie, right? Well, what would I rather do instead? Something with Korean? Maybe translation? Oh well, you have nothing to show for it. And my Korean skills are not that good. So I need to get on that. So studying it is until I have that diploma in my hand saying I’m good enough.

3. I’ve been thinking about this since I left university. I’ve always wanted to get my masters but in what? I tried for an MBA program but didn’t make it. Stupid me. Sometimes I think about Korean language so I could become a translator or Korean teacher. Except there aren’t many jobs in that realm and they don’t pay very well. So one day an old colleague of mine mentioned the major “Forensic Linguistics”. This sounds promising. It’s the study of language used in Judicial settings, like law and such. And how to tell if people are lying, holding stuff back, maybe the police wrote a confession instead of the suspect, this would all tell you. And this has the possibility to be rewarding. I could get a job in the states with not just law but perhaps even business in marketing and other areas. So it could be useful. And there is one university that specializes in foreign language application of this topic. And it would be only a one year Master’s program since it’s in England. But, it would mean giving up everything I have in Korea right now to go. With no job guarantee after that and no money to keep myself going during it. Now, there is an online program that’s about 3 years but it’s not in the foreign language specialization I would like. So I’m considering what to do.

I have all this running through my head lately. It’s quite taxing, I must say. Somedays I get little glimmers of hope. But other days I want to lock myself in my apartment and eat fried chicken. Which doesn’t sound too much like a bad idea. But that isn’t too beneficial. Regardless, it’s little things that make me happy. My one good friend just got a job at a large international hotel. He asks me for help frequently with his emails and messages to make sure they are concise and clear and grammatically correct. I don’t mind helping him since that is my job for other things anyway. And he is a good friend whom I’m always willing to help. And we seem to work well together. Think of it like Pepper and Stark from Iron Man. So sometimes he says that eventually I’ll work with him. I’d like that. I think it would be interesting. I don’t know in what capacity it would be but sometimes it’s nice to dream. Realistically, I can’t see it but, I do hope it works out. You never know what the future holds.

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말복…. And other Korean traditions

Tradition~

In Korea, there are two summer traditions that I truly enjoy, perhaps more religiously than most Koreans. One of them is the 복날 (boknal or, luck day) tradition.

Now, there’s three of these luck days, Early, Mid, and Late luck days. And these usually designate the hottest times of the year. This is all based on the lunar calendar. And they just are spread out through the middle and end of summer. And on this day, since it’s so hot, you need something to fill you with energy and nutrients since the heat has obviously depleted you of them. So you eat a special chicken soup called 삼계탕 (samgyetang) which is just a whole chicken stewed in chicken broth with some specific seasoning. I forget which ones. But they’re the boring ones. I know two of them are jujube and ginger.

However, maybe you’re just not in the mood for this dish. So Koreans typically eat any kind of chicken dish on these days. Fried chicken, other chicken soups and stews. As an extreme lover of chicken, I endorse this holiday fully. I am known amongst my swimming mates as the “Chicken Killer”. Chickens, beware, I’m coming for you on these days. Today is the Late Luck Day so I am going to skip swimming class and get myself a chicken!

The other tradition I enjoy is one on rainy days.
In America, rainy days are quite gloomy as so we stay inside, drink some warm beverage, pop in a movie, and chill. This is fine in America because it’s hard to get to your friends in the rain since we all have to drive. But in Korea, we live near each other and so we often meet up and eat something special. We eat 전 (jun, Korean pancakes) and 막걸리 (makkeolli, a rice wine/beer) with friends. It’s kinda fun to call a friend up and ask to go out for this. They like it too. I wanna adapt this to America, if I ever go back, and maybe make normal pancakes or potato latkes or something for my children or me instead. It sounds fun.

Anyway, since it’s a bit of the rainy season, go out, get your beer and pancakes on! Or maybe some fried chicken. On this rainy 말복 (late luck day), I’m in need of one of these!

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A Home-cooked Meal

When you speak with a lot of people who move away from home, you hear about how they miss “mom’s home cooking” or “the way grandma used to make it” quite frequently. Mom and grandma always made it best. Restaurants couldn’t quite replicate that taste of home, no matter how hard they tried. But going out to a restaurant was still a treat.

Home-cooked meals are such an important part of any culture. So it pains me to say that I hate my mother’s cooking. If you go to any of my siblings and ask them about mom’s food, they will all probably come up with the same answer- bland. We always joked that it was the English side of my mother. Except my mom’s family was Canadian. Do they even cook like that in Canada? I doubt it…

But my mother has an extreme aversion to garlic, onions, curry, anything with a strong taste. My mother has thrown out whole General Tso’s Chicken meals freshly ordered because they were made with scallions after being strictly told not to make it with scallions and thus having the family starve has happened once or twice. Screaming on the phone and threatening the local pizza store while throwing away a whole salad because there were two slices of onions sitting on top has happened as well. Not being allowed in the house because I put garlic powder on my pizza at a friend’s house during a sleepover is quite normal (with my father stopping at the 7-11 to buy gum to try and hide it for us is also normal- thanks, dad! You tried!). I think this is where some of my picky eating has come from, wouldn’t you agree?

It’s possible. But because you have two people with two different styles of picky eating, it’s going to be a war-zone, no matter where you are. I constantly felt like home was a hostile environment, especially with food. Now, my mother did her best to cook. But it was in her style. I just didn’t like it. So when my parents separated in high school, the family started eating out more. No more fighting about food. I could choose my meal. Eating was simpler. Both parents cooked less and less to the point where they stopped cooking. It was only food from other places. So naturally, now, all I want is the food from a restaurant. The fear of having to eat what everyone else is eating is gone. Life is easier. I just have to fight with the waitress over my small requests for things removed.

But I really am saddened when I think about this fact. It also doesn’t help that as growing up, I was referred to as the “Domestically challenged” one who wasn’t trusted to cook much. Do they even remember my brother cooking pizza still on the cardboard? I think I’m more advanced than that. But not much. So recently I have been gaining this notion and feeling that I really need to learn to cook. Not to become a good housewife or anything but for my possible children. For my health. To get rid of this urge for microwaved restaurant food. I don’t want my kids to end up with this urge either. And to collectively agree, “Mom really can’t cook. Let’s sneak out to the diner once she’s asleep.” (yes, I have done this many times with the other siblings). I will get better. I will have people wanting my cooking, damnit. Just need to work on getting those ingredients… A bit hard in an Asian country.

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Where have I been? Oh, just the ER

Hello all, long time no talk to.
It has been quite a while since I’ve updated, though not necessarily on purpose. I have been lying around, but not in the lazy kind of way but more the incapacitated kind of way.
Let me explain.

About the first week of June, I suddenly started feeling sick. I couldn’t place a finger on it. It was odd. It was right after a beautiful picnic at the Han River with some old colleagues and a lovely lunch with another old colleague as well. It felt like a cold, a stupid summer cold. Except no stuffy nose or anything like that. Just general shittiness. So I went to the doctor and he was like, let’s run some tests. But quickly after listening to my symptoms and a urine test later, he told me I was having problems with my liver/kidneys and if over the weekend, I felt worse, go to the hospital. I was like, Umm, sure. Well, sure enough, that weekend, I went to the hospital. I was in so much pain, I thought I was going crazy. I had told some swimming friends how I felt and that I might go. So luckily, they messaged me and met me at the hospital. They were nice enough to stay until 3:30am until I was released. Poor guys…. They gave me some medicine and told me to come back in about a week to do a check up. I was like, fine, whatevs. I felt better. So I started the meds and then did a week.

But then, that Thursday, I caught tonsillitis. It wasn’t too bad at first, just uncomfortable. But by Friday, I was so uncomfortable, I went home early. I figured, I’ll just sleep it off. I had gone to the doctor again on Thursday and he was like, “Yeah, it’s tonsillitis. Just take the meds you’re taking and you’ll be good.”

Over the weekend, I got worse. So worse than by Monday, the day of my follow-up appointment, my tonsils and uvula (that hanging thing) had swelled so much that it was cutting off my airway. I couldn’t speak starting Friday. I spent the whole weekend silent. And by Monday, I couldn’t speak normally even if I really wanted. It was awful. I had an appointment at 1 and I had called out for the day. I tried to just be a champ about it. “It’s just tonsillitis. Tons of people get it. I will be fine. I’ll get better!” I’m that kind of person. Yeah, by 11:30, I couldn’t take it and went to the hospital by 12. I had to do a urine and blood test before I have my consultation so they can see if I’ve improved. But I went to everyone, asking what to do to get help for my throat. Everyone just stared at me. In a hospital, nobody knew how to help me. Even the lady taking my blood was like, “Are you OK?” and I was like, “No.” I was practically in tears because nobody would help me.

I finally asked one desk and they were like, well, you could just go to the ER, but you’d void your appointment. I told them I didn’t care. I couldn’t breathe. So I moved as quick as a person without energy or air could to the ER. I went to reception and they quickly rushed me along. When the ER nurse/doctor saw me, she was shocked at the condition of my throat. “There’s no hole to breathe!” She exclaimed. And then, “Stop talking!” she kept yelling at me when she was rushing around, trying to admit me. She kept asking me questions and she just wanted the simple answer but the answers are never simple. She didn’t mean it in a mean way, just she knew I wouldn’t be able to breathe if I kept talking.

So they rushed and admitted me in immediately, putting me in on a stretcher. I felt weird. Then she started talking about surgery and stuff. I started getting worried. They started talking blood from everywhere, even my ankles. Literally grabbed both at the same time, and stuck needles in for blood. That hurts more than the arm because there’s no fat.

So they moved me into another room and kept asking me for a guardian. But I live in Korea alone. What do I do? I call my Korean friend from high school who happens to live only 20-30 minutes near by and is a medical student. She doesn’t come right away, her sister comes first and talks to the nurses for me.

So they prep me for surgery and get me into the operating room. I’ve never been in one before but it didn’t seem too scary. After 15 minutes, thry give me the gas. I’ve always been afraid of this part because I’ve always worried “what if it doesn’t work and I feel everything?” So we wait for me too be knocked out. 4 minutes pass and I’m still awake. They’re a bit confused. Then someone says, “Wait. She can’t breathe so the gas won’t do.” Genius. So they use an injection and within thirty seconds I’m out until the next day basically.

I wake up and I have tubes in my throat. Supposedly, after the surgery, I wasn’t breathing on my own so they had to tubes and a catheter in to keep me going. How nice of them. I also wake up to arm restraints. I also apparently fought back and they had to restrain me. So they only way I could communicate was through a dry erase board the nurse let me use sometimes if I flailed.

All my coworkers came to see me, my swim friends too, and another good friend. I was in the hospital for about a week and then went home. Going back to work was hard but i went back just two days later. Now I feel much brtter.

So we are all wondering what caused this ridiculousness. Well, what happened was is I caught a cold and then bought some OTC cold medicine. But, my kidney can’t handle NSAIDS. These are things like aspirin, Tylenol, normal OTC cold, flu, and pain medicine. It makes my kidneys go nuts. So that just kept piling on. And supposedly, tonsillitis is easy to get during this period too. So it all just stacked up against me.

Now I’m a healthy, albeit very sleepy, person. So that is how my month has gone. I just started swimming this week. But it is so tiring. So I will try and take my time. But I must say, if I get sick again, SNU hospital is definitely thr way to go. I had a really sweet male nurse in ICU. I tried asking for his number while i was there but he told mr to come back and ask again. I’m tempted but I doubt it would work out well. So I shall just dream of the what could have been…
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