Thursday, October 31, 2013

Music...K-Pop to the Beatles...and everything in between

My co-teacher started a Teachers Conversation Club at my school where the teachers could practice their English.  We do this twice a week, and we have anywhere from 2 teachers (besides me) to 6 teachers come.  We have had a pretty good time so far.


Yesterday, in our Teachers Conversation Club, our topic was music.  Instead of talking about random things, we decided to pick a topic for each week.

Since it's Halloween, I showed them the "Thriller" video, which they loved.  One of the teachers even knew some of the moves.

I asked them what some of their favorite songs were.  These were a couple of the responses.

One teacher's favorite song is "I Will" by the Beatles.  I did not know the song until we found it on YouTube.  It's her favorite because it's her husband's ring tone when she calls him.   So we all sang along to the melody.

Since she liked the Beatles, I showed the karaoke version of Penny Lane, which we all sang along to.
And one of my personal favorites...


Another teacher's favorite song is a Korean song.  This man is 60 years old, and he can make her swoon.  It was so funny to watch her during the video.

Here is another song of his, which I liked better.


Another teacher said that she just loved the Backstreet Boys.  Boy, that got me excited.  I LOVE the Backstreet Boys.  She started to sing, "I Want It That Way", and I sang right along.  Greatness!


Then I went and got my phone and played for them a song I like.  I keep hearing this song, so one day I used "Shazam" and shazam'd it.  It makes me want to bob my head and dance.

After talking about Korean music, I had to share with them some good 'ole Texas music aka country music.  The first song I thought about was this one:
They like it and were really impressed with his fiddle playing skills.

The last song I introduced to them was the famous "fox" song that has become really popular over here in Korea at other schools.  My EPIK friends kept posting about this song because their students had become obsessed about it, so I had to check it out.  Now, I love it too.  There is something about it.  What do you think?  I think the guys have pretty nice voices to listen to as well.  And they aren't bad to look at either!

Which video is YOUR favorite?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

This is the way I walk to school, walk to school, walk to school....

I took some pictures on my walk to school this morning.  I just love my neighborhood.  You can see the mountains in the background, and it's not right in the center of town.  Loving Korea!







I'm a little worried about this hill when it gets icy.

These boys who go to the school next to mine said "hi" and wanted me to take their picture.


The students come on the bus every morning.


The security guard at my school...

Our school nurse...notice her short skirt and high heels?  You can wear short skirts but do NOT ever wear low-cut shirts!



Friday, October 25, 2013

Good times at the hospital

Do you remember my post about going to the doctor?  If you forgot, HERE is the post.

In Korea, they only give you 3 days worth of medicine.  If you are not better, you are supposed to come back.  After 3 days, I was not better.  My ear still really hurt, and my nose was still runny.  So I went back to the same doctor.  He remembered me and said that my ear was still normal.  Sure didn't feel normal.  Anyway, he gave me more meds, and this time I paid $2.00 instead of 0.39 like the last time.  I guess your payment goes up every time.

Several days later, I was not any better even though I had finished all my meds.  I was supposed to meet friends for the Zombie Run on Saturday, but my ear had gotten so painful that I was almost in tears at time.  I have a pretty high threshold for pain, so when I am in pain...I mean serious business.  I had been to the clinic twice with no luck, so this time I was going to do the real deal and go to the hospital.  In Korea, going to the hospital is not like at home.  The hospital is where the specialists are I guess you could say.  I don't really know how to explain it.  It was recommended to go to Eulji Hospital, which is near City Hall.  It is an international hospital that has many specialists there.  I was meeting my friends at 12:30pm for the Zombie Run, and I really wanted to go to it.  So I decided to meet them and then leave early, grab a taxi, and go to the hospital.

Eulji Hospital
By the time I got there, the regular hours for the hospital was closed (so I couldn't just make an appointment).  They close early on Saturday afternoons.  So the information guy told me to go to the emergency room.  I was there, I was in pain, and I wasn't going anywhere, so I went to the emergency room.

I walk in to registration and hand him my ARC card.  He told me to go ahead and go inside.  I walked in to the emergency room (one big room) and several doctors and nurses come up to me, all speaking Korean of course.  Great.  This is going to be fun.  I hand them my paper, and no less than 6 men are all crowding around me, trying to piece together enough English to ask me questions and understand my symptoms.  They told me to sit down on this stool, took my blood pressure, and then they all get in a huddle and talked among themselves.  It was THE funniest thing.  I just sat there, not having any clue what was going on.  One guy spoke enough broken English among all of them, and I guess he became the designated spokesperson.


He led me to a bed and wait.

Then he came back and led me to an examination room because he wanted to look at my ear.  There were two beds in this room, and one was taken by a screaming little girl where they were doing I don't know to her.  It looked like they were picking out debris from her face.  Two people were holding her down while she screamed bloody murder.  I was about to start screaming right along with her because the doctor took his scope thing and dug around so hard in my ear.  It was so incredibly painful.  Dude!  He just dug and dug like he was digging for gold.

After that, he led me back to my bed and told me to wait.  A nurse came over a little bit later and told me that I was going to see an ENT specialist.  Woo-hoo!

I waited maybe 10 minutes, and then my spokesperson doctor friend came to get me.  We went up the not-working escalator (it wasn't on since it was after working hours) and past the cones to block off the upstairs.  We walked into the ENT's office.  The ENT didn't speak very much English so my spokesperson doctor friend translated everything for us.  He used a scope, looked down my ear, said everything looked normal, and then said that the outer ear was swollen.  He prescribed new meds and then I was led back downstairs again where I paid about $40 for the visit and the meds.  The nurse came out and brought my meds to me, and I got a taxi and went home.

So...you would think that I would get better.  Right?  Wrong!  I started getting worse almost as soon as I got home.  My ear became even more painful and my eye even became swollen.  What in the world was going on?  I started taking 800mg of Ibuprofen to help with the pain, and I made my own little warming sock.  I took a sock, put rice inside, and heated it up in the microwave.  That became my saving grace.

I suffered all day Sunday and texted my co-teacher Sunday evening and told her that I needed to go to the hospital on Monday.  The plan was to proctor a mid-term exam during 2nd period, and then I could go to the hospital.

I had taken a picture of my eye Saturday night and another picture of my eye Sunday morning.  I was amazed to see just how bad it had gotten in less than 24 hours.
Top: my eye Saturday night / Bottom: my eye Sunday morning

I went to school, proctored the exam, then found a taxi to go to the hospital.  This time I was at the hospital during office hours.  I stopped in at information, and the sweetest girl helped me and became my guide throughout my visit.  She spoke great English and led me everywhere I needed to go.  I ended seeing an opthamologist, who told me that I had a clogged tear duct at 11:00am, but I had to wait until 1:00pm to see the ENT.  So I went and had lunch during my break...found a great little cafe that had THE best chicken sandwich.  (In fact, I would get on the subway and travel over there just for that sandwich.  I might have to take Julie with me...she would really like it.)

At 1:00pm, I saw the ENT.  He was the sweetest older man, and he spoke excellent English.  He used the scope to look down my ear and said that it was so swollen that he couldn't even get to the middle ear.  He prescribed some pain medication and heavy-duty antibiotics and told me that if I wasn't better in 3 days I needed to come back to the hospital so they could admit me and give me antibiotics through an IV.  Finally!  Someone understands just how bad this was and didn't just tell me that everything looks normal.  I had also gotten recommendations from my friends here in Korea to ask, "I need to rest, don't I?".  Sick days in Korea are not common at all, and you often have to "help" encourage a doctor that you need to rest....which I know I did.  So he agreed and said that yes, I needed to rest for 3 days.  I asked for a doctor's note to take to school, and he said OK (I had to get the doctor's note downstairs and had to pay about $8.00 for it.  I didn't care.  I knew I needed it.)

My guide led me back downstairs where we paid for the doctor's visit at a money machine (almost like an ATM machine), and I got my prescriptions.  I ended up paying maybe $40 for my doctor visits and prescriptions.  My guide was so sweet, and I was grateful for her.  I have my follow-up appointment with the ENT on Monday.  She said that she wasn't working on Monday afternoon though. :(

The medicine started working right away.  I had a teacher thing later that day that I didn't want to miss.  More on that later....

I stayed home for 2 days and rested.  It was much needed.  I hung out on my couch and watched movies all day.   On Tuesday, my co-teacher and another teacher came over around lunchtime to see how I was doing because apparently all the teachers were really worried about me.  They were really sweet.  And Monday evening, Gayong, my co-teacher, brought me some porridge.  It's a Korean tradition to bring someone porridge when they are sick.  It was pretty good but a little bland.  I added some spices and made it much better.

And now, I am happy to report that I am almost completely normal.  My eye looks so much better.  It's still somewhat itchy, but itchiness means healing.  My ear looks totally normal, and there is no more pain.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Zombie Apocalypse and an abandoned theme park

This past Saturday was the Zombie Apocalypse Run at Expo Park.  The run was designed to raise money for Daejeon Paws, an animal shelter here in Daejeon.  Actually, it's not even a shelter.  One woman houses 50 dogs and cats in her own home...cares for them and loves them as her own.  She relies on donations and volunteers to help her out.  My heart goes out to this woman.  Apparently she is the sweetest woman who appreciates anything and everything you can do to help the dogs.  That's my kind of woman.  I want to volunteer there, but I'm afraid that I will come home with a dog.  You know me and dogs.  And especially after Maisy passing, I have been a little emotional lately.  They even brought a couple of dogs to the Zombie Run, and I got to pet a couple of them.  They were so sweet and did not help the fact that I miss having dogs in my home.





Here is a link to learn more about Daejeon Paws:
http://www.animalrescuekorea.org/animal-shelters/daejeon-paws

I'm sure she would love donations if you could spare some money...even if it's just a little bit.  A little bit can go a long way, and every little bit helps.  She gives her PayPal information on the site.  Most of small dogs are strays, but most of the big dogs she personally rescues from the meat market or from neighbors when she hears of them planning to butcher them for meat.  It's just awful to think about it.  Like I said, she has a heart of gold.  Last year, 28 dogs and cats were adopted.

I am still hoping to make it out there and volunteer one of these days.  Maybe it's a good thing that I don't know if my landlord accepts pets or not.

So back to the Zombie Apocalypse....you could have your make-up done by a professional (one of my friends was one of the make-up artists), or you could do your own make-up.  We got there a little early to see everything.


My friend, Kali, was a zombie and had her make-up professionally done.  Doesn't she look awesome?


More zombies...




While we were waiting for the run to start, several of us decided to walk around Expo Park.  There ended up being a big kids science festival going on that day.


Check this out!  You can go EZ Glamping in the city!  All in Expo Park!  I wonder if anyone actually does this...it looks like it could be a lot of fun if a bunch of people went together.

















We all thought this place looked like something out of a sci-fi movie.

On our way back to the area of the registration for the zombie run, we came across the abandoned amusement park part of Expo Park.  Sadly, it was blocked off as we knew it would be.  Doesn't it look cool?  Like a perfect place for a scary movie?

We thought this looked like a graveyard.





Guess who's coming.....the zombies!  They are going to find their hiding spots.







How creepy is this?

Saree is trying to break in...


A random chair...


We keep walking and eventually find a spot that has a "gate" that's not really gated.  We look closer and see and that the gate doesn't even close all the way.  There are benches there that don't even back up to the gate.  And look even closer....you can just walk around the benches and go inside the abandoned part.  So we did.  We totally did.  And it was awesome.  We were constantly looking around to make sure no one caught us.  It was a big rush, and we could not stop talking about it.


So now we are officially inside the abandoned part of the park.... which, by the way, this was THE coolest thing ever!
























Man, would this place be a great backdrop for a scary movie!

So by the time we got back to the zombie run area, we had missed the opening ceremony.  We didn't really mind.  The abandoned park was too awesome to pass up.



A couple of zombies were running late.




We decided to wait with some of the zombies and watch the runners come by.



Her weapon of choice was a toothbrush!











The zombies tried to grab one of the flags from the runners' belts.


It was a good day.  I had to leave early to go to the hospital.  More on that in the next post.  Gives you something to look forward to...