ER in the ROK

31 05 2013

d@mn. now I know what 응급실 means–emergency room.
going to a hospital in a foreign country was not on my overseas to-do list.


take heed.
if you scrape your finger or toe, sanitize that digit stat.

I let my toe get infected and now I’m hoping I can keep all 10.

usually, if you scrape your finger, you let it go, right? I always do. for example, if I have a hangnail, the side of my finger might be pink and tender for a day, but my body tackles it. not this time.

I scraped my toe a week ago, and four days later, it turned red.

red toe

each day it got a little worse. I thought one of these country-@ss Yongin mosquitos had bitten it. then the top of my foot became tender, and I started reading about wet gangrene. holy sh!t.

so I took a taxi to the closest ER, and the staff confirmed the toe was nickety nasty.
next thing I know, the doctor’s sticking a gimungous needle into my big toe and jabbing it with scissors.

I couldn’t feel my toe and was afraid he might be cutting it off. (yo. I need that toe!)
in broken korean:

“커팅 하고 있어요?!”
“is he cutting?!”

“no, he’s only opening your toe,” the nurse said.
then she makes a hand motion like someone pulling open a Ziploc bag.
in spite of this, she was very kind. great bedside manner.

the doctor on the other hand squeezed my toe like a near-empty tube of toothpaste.

“고름이 나왔어요?” he asked.
“i’m sorry, my korean’s so bad,” I said in Korean.

“pus. pus come out?” he asked again.
pus sounds far less disgusting in Korean.
no, only water came out of the toe. idk if that’s good or bad. so four shots and an antibiotic IV later, I was told to return the next day.


I went to a hospital in my hood after work today.

the PA gave me another antibiotic IV, examined the toe and told me to come back again tomorrow.

I asked:

“what will happen tomorrow?”
“we’ll look at your toe tomorrow.”

“will we be finished after tomorrow?”
“you’ll have to continue to come back.”

I’m getting nervous now.

“will there be any cutting tomorrow?”
“we have to see.”

I want to keep all my piggies!

babies and sh!t

22 05 2013

i just learned my ex-husband had a baby.
rubberband ball of mixed feelings there. i’m surprised at how quickly he moved on. i’m sad not to have a family of my own. i’m glad we’re no longer together. tomorrow, maybe, i’ll be a little happy for him. tonight, i will process and tomorrow move along.

what’s telling is the person i most want to talk to is steve.
i’m selfish.
i want to talk to someone i love who gives me comfort when i haven’t been much of a comfort giver to people i love.

reverse racism in Korea

22 05 2013

it doesn’t pay to be a gyopo in Korea. my co-teacher Jae told me on Friday that our gyopo teachers get paid ~$100 less each month than the white foreign teachers. forked.

i knew that some companies and thus, recruiters, do not hire gyopos. they advertise that criterion, which is forked upfront.
however, the recruiter i work for, LCG, does hire gyopos. they just pay gyopos less for the same work.

i make 4.8million KRW/month.
our aussie co-teacher, who’s been here for two years and works sans recruiter, makes 5.2M.
finally and forkedly, our gyopo teachers, who have two-three years of experience, make 4.7M. if anything, gyopos should net more than foreign teachers, as they have the benefit of being bilingual and bicultural.

our co-teacher julie quit in protest. with three years of intensive camp experience, she had a legitimate claim for a raise. LCG was able to hire another, younger gyopo in her stead. Jae, our gyopo co-teacher from seattle, stayed on and zipped his lips on the $100 difference.

what do you do?

English interviews at Daewoo Construction

9 05 2013

I finished a job at Daewoo Construction last week.

Over three days, three other teachers and I level tested more than 540 young Koreans at the start of their working careers. Sometimes I have to pinch myself for the learning experiences I’ve been able to have here in Korea.

Interviewing is done quite differently here in Korea vs. the States.
For starters, you’re not even considered for a job unless you submit a resume with your picture and DOB. However, resume pictures here are all Photoshopped and enhanced, until every applicant has the same skin tone and face shape, rendering the picture pointless, not to mention unjust to start. Maybe that’s the point, that everyone looks alike.




the one fella who smiled in his resume pic

The applicants were much more handsome and interesting in person—some with wide faces, some with skinny noses, some with darker skin, some with dimples at the corner of their eyes when they smiled, somewhere I’ve never seen dimples on a white person. Some had the largest heads I’ve ever seen in person. I know what Merv Griffin said, but that only works on TV.

Candidates interview together.
While waiting in my interview room, I saw groups of 8-10 applicants escorted by a Daewoo employee. They’d enter a room and be interviewed together by a panel. The English interview was the only interview the young men and women would complete individually all day. The interview was a three-step, all-day process.

This is so different from what I’ve experienced in North Carolina. There’s no comparing F4K to Daewoo Construction. Still, I think the process is typically to select the applicants you want to interview and interview a small group of people individually at designated times, for example, three people for one opening.

Daewoo didn’t seem to give a d@mn about the applicants’ time. Many of the young people I interviewed said they’d been waiting for 2-3 hours past their appointment time for their panel interviews.

After interviewing more than one hundred 24-27-year-olds, I made some generalizations.

Dark navy suits are the uniform de rigeur for men. Save three men who wore dark charcoal, light grey and black, every other man wore navy suits with a white dress shirt, conservative tie and polished timepiece.

The women wore black skirt suits with a navy or ivory blouse buttoned to the top, minimal makeup and jewelry.

Architectural engineers had the highest level of English proficiency among the disciplines of engineers I interviewed. My co-interviewers said Architectural Engineering is a more prestigious and competitive field here in Korea.

The women’s English outshone the men’s. Maybe women are better listeners, on the average anyway.

If the interviewee was one of three kids, the birth order was girl—girl—boy.
If their were two kids in the family, the mix might be boy-girl, or boy-boy. Not once did I meet someone from a family with a birth order of boy-boy-girl. Hello, gender preference.

I asked the applicants about their families up front.

I wanted to lob them a softball, so they’d feel comfortable. Also, hearing about their families individualized each applicant for me, so I could focus on them fully. I tried not to let my personal feelings color the interviews. Frankly, the boys who had older sisters and talked lovingly about them, I liked these applicants best, or as much as the gals who talked adoringly about their younger brothers.

The male applicants who talked condescendingly about their younger sisters, well…

One of the applicants complained that his younger sister wasn’t talking to him. This guy had spent a year abroad and traveled a lot after college. His younger sister just graduated and now also wanted to spend a year in Canada to improve her English. The brother told his sister she should get serious and get a job now, and he had no idea why she wasn’t talking to him.

The Daewoo gig was outstanding really.

The opportunity to interview so many young people in a concentrated period of time was a boon. I glimpsed a bit of family and business culture here, which is so different from the US, but I also met kids at the beginning of their careers and got to see that their anxiety and expectations aren’t any different than those of our kids back home.