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!

employment contracts in the ROK

21 04 2013

convenant 4.2


i don’t like change.

9 04 2013

leaving north carolina was difficult. now leaving korea feels the same. i fluctuate between being ready to see friends and family and wondering if i’m making the right decision. the same questions surface.

  • is this the right move? 
  • how can i leave people i care about?
  • have i really given this (place) all i could?

the most difficult part of making a decision is that prior period of indecision.
eddie says the best cure for indecision is to freaking make a decision.

i’ve been on-the-fence about coming back to school this fall and delayed acknowledging until this week.

if i want to live and work overseas again, why enroll in a program that will prepare me for economic development in the US? i think this question is fueled by fear of the unknown.

i don’t know yet what i will want to do after two years in school. it may be community development in a small town like Tarboro, or it may be to move abroad for a year or two again. this program will prepare me for both a career in the US, i reason, and university teaching abroad, if that itch surfaces again.

the truth is i love living overseas. i hope to have the opportunity again.
leaving korea is sad, but i guess it’s best to leave the party early.

so i submitted the UNC acceptance tonight and feel better already for making a decision.

labor laws in the ROK

29 11 2012

although korea is a member of the OECD, which implies adherence to some basic labor practices, you see these kinds of ads every day:

only boys need apply

only girls need apply

no old farts

you cannot apply for a job in korea without submitting a recent photo and your DOB.
let’s not talk about the personal questions that come up in interviews:

“are you married?”
“are you going to be?”
“are you going to have kids?”
“do you like to drink alcohol?”
“now, can i ask you a personal question?”

my HR friends would have a conniption.