Friday, September 23, 2005

The post of evil.

Sometimes I hate this godforsaken third world country. Like now. I'm sick again, with a cough, sore throat, headache and runny nose. I occasionally feel like puking. What I'd give for a good western doctor now. One that would prescribe a FULL dose of antibiotics, not a half-dose, coupled with pointless tylenols, anti-inflammatories and stomach-protectors. I heard a rumor you're supposed to go back to the doctor after 3 days for the 2nd half of the prescription. I'm not going back to the doctor though because it would be impossible without a translator and I'm not asking my director to take me again, as sickness is, as Dave in Japan puts it, a 'slap in the face to your employer' in Asia.

I'm sitting up now with the light on waiting to kill a mosquito. Last night the weather turned cooler and as soon as I turned my airconditioning off, the mosquitos came out. I woke up at 4 am with two throbbing, itchy feet and couldn't sleep for an hour. So I turned my a/c back on and tolerated the cold in favor of no mosquitos. The weather's been weird here. It was in the high 20's when we got back from Seoul; how it's in the high teen's. My body's lost track of what temperature it's supposed to keep itself at. Sometimes I'm freezing, sometimes I'm not; but it doesn't have any relation to what the actual temperature is. Something in my room is rotting - a wall perhaps - the smell comes and goes. My windows rattle and bang when a butterfly flies by - oh wait, no butterflies here, they all died from the pollution.

I hate how simple things are so hard to find here. They don't sell women's shaving cream.. just men's. A product of the patriarchal society I guess. Can't find any wax strips either. I guess because Koreans are hairless sphynxes and I'm a hairy western monkey. I can't find lemon around here for my throat, or cough medicine / sore throat lozenges for that matter. I know they must exist somewhere; I'm just having a hell of a time finding them. I haven't seen a 'non-prescription medication' area in the two major stores in the city (E-mart and Walmart). Every task is a headache because of the language barrier. I'm procrastinating getting a haircut because I dread trying to explain with my limited Korean vocab, am partly afraid of coming out with a bowl cut or no hair at all, and could stand to do with a few less stares. Speaking of which, the people stare shamelessly as white people are still pretty rare around here. It's rude, annoying, and prohibits me from enjoying my food.

While I'm at it, I might as well bitch about everything else. I hate how I have to squat to pee at work. It's the stupidest invention ever. Your nose gets so close to the ground and you smell everyone else's pee that has missed the hole.. ugh, it makes me want to puke thinking about it now. I'm drinking tons of water now to help my throat, so I have to use the 'hole' about 10 times a day. Second, the vibe at work is rather lacking. I admit I'm not a total cheerleader bunny at work but after meeting the other teachers in Seoul, who were interesting and somehow more 'alive,' our hogwon just seems so bleh. Not to mention, in Seoul, the Korean teachers aren't afraid to hang out with the foreign teachers! Here, there is a distinct divide. We four 'weigooks' go do our own thing, and the Korean teachers go home every night and... do who knows what. They won't hang out with us (I've invited them out) unless it's an official dinner the whole school attends.

I just caught the mosquito now.

Die, stupid Korean mosquito.

While what I've vented seems like a lot, it's not like it all just happened at once. It's just some of the ongoing stuff that's always in the background here. Some days it all gets to me more than others. It's a vast improvement to how I felt the first 3 days I got here. I wrote an unpublished entry back then that reads like devil spawn.

Now I have to wake up in 8 hours for a Saturday morning district-wide school meeting. And another mosquito is now flying around. Wonderful.


Blogger deepthoughts said...

AWWW! My heart goes out to you my friend. But hang in there, and let your sense of humour get you through. You'll grow accustomed to the things that may seem horrendous now. Trust me. I had to accustom myself to many of the same things when we moved to Iran. Squatting toilets, mosquitos... the worst was the cockroaches. *Shudder*. Things can seem so much worse when you are sick as well, especially if there's no one to take care of you. You start to miss the things about home that you always took for granted. But it's all part of the growing experience, and you'll be stronger for it, you can trust me on that too. Not having those things gives you perspective. It can make you stronger and wiser and more understanding of other cultures and lives. You can do it! :D

Sending much love and good wishes from Vancouver, (get better soon!)


9:25 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Er... you have to pee in a hole? I didn't know about that.

Can you find a picture to take with you to the hairdresser? I always do that because I can't explain myself, even in English.

7:48 PM  
Blogger anomi said...

hey - i dropped by - totally relate to the mogeys, i've got welts all over from them. i've got no idea how they're getting in, little beeartches.

wish i'd gone to the mask festival too! it looks amazing, you've got some good shots. and the doctor - argh - i never went back for my rumoured second round of antibiotics. Shouldn't they tell you these things?

9:29 AM  

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