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"So I guess this is where I'm supposed to introduce myself. I'm a Canadian male teaching ESL in Seoul, Republic of Korea. This will be my second stint teaching ESL, only this time I'll be teaching at a High School, using my actual teaching experience to use. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me - no question's too small. Take care, and enjoy the ride."

Other Blogs of Note

  • Student in Korea
  • Seoul Man
  • The Daily Kimchi
  • Surviving South Korea
  • Books I'm Reading

  • "Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire" by Niall Ferguson
  • "Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World" by Haruki Murakami
  • "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P. Huntington
  • "The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth" by Benjamin M Friedman
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  • What no foreign experience should be without.... Wednesday, November 16, 2005 |

    Well, by this point, some of you probably already know I recently underwent minor surgery over here in Korea. Not having a clue of what to expect, I thought that I would just let you in on some strange and funny stories about my whole experience of two nights, and three days in a hospital in Korea.
    Firstly, let me say that I truly hope that none of you ever have to go through having surgery in another country without family. Not having someone to complain to can completely understand what you want to complain about something, such as it pain, or just frustration in general, is mentally challenging. Not having someone to be with you can be tough, but not impossible to deal with. However, over here in Korea, I have been blessed with the next best thing to having family by your side - another family and army of friends who would do anything to help me out, in any situation. They are a true blessing to me, and if you are ever looking for a place to find friends, Korean friends are some of the most loyal I have ever known. My roommate himself spent over 2/3's of my hospital stay with me, just in the off-chance that I needed something, he could translate easier for me - not only must it have been incredibly boring for him (he swears to me that it was no problem) but I also know that I complained a fair bit at one point, and he faithfully asked the nurses three times, knowing full well what they were going to say, just so that I would probably stop asking....(more on that later)
    Secondly, all surgery in Korea is always at least one night - that night being the night before the surgery. My surgery started at 7am the following morning, and my stomach and everything else needed to be completely clear. You also sign all of your paperwork and signatures the night before, everything except your final checkout signatures, so that the next day, your work is minimal. While this sounds ideal, it makes for a boring time after visiting hours are finished...You're healthy, so why in blazes are you sleeping on a crummy bed, for a crummy sleep, when your bed at home is much nicer - not to mention, cheaper than one night in a hospital....
    Third. Nothing like a 5:30 am wakeup, for them to start up the old IV and put on the hospital gown....and then back to bed, until they wake you up again at 6:30 for the hospital porter to take you to the surgery waiting room until your ready. Normally, I'm not all that popular among Koreans anymore- in public, there's lots of foreigners always walking around. However, in a hospital, in the surgery room, I felt like the treat of the week....Everyone is stopping by, chatting in Korean, and then giggling and walking around, big smiles all around....
    Fourth - and this is probably the most important. They're advanced with their medicine here, no doubt about it. However, whenever they get around to it, if in a North American Hospital, they ask you if you want a spinal anesthetic, instead of the old sleeping gas, opt for the sleeping gas. My surgery was only supposed to take 30-40 minutes max. So my anesthesiologist decided that I didn't need to sleep - a simple spinal freeze would do the trick...They stick a needle in your spinal column, and then your whole body goes numb. Only problem was a) she missed my whole spinal column on the first try, and only my right side when numb, while the left still had feeling. The second try worked, to a degree. The needle didn't go in far enough, so when they thought I was numb, they tested things out, and surprisingly I still felt a little. At this point, I start to get a little sleepy, so I must have missed the part where they said they were going to test my feeling again....I must not have heard, and they must have thought that it meant I had no feeling. So they started the incision, only, I was awake, and I surely felt it when they started....my lurch was enough for them to put me to sleep......
    Now, I can laugh at it when thinking back...I still vaguely remember their shocked voices asking me what I think they just did, and me telling them, frantically, "I want to be put to sleep please....."..hehe....
    Other than that, things have been going good. One of the frustrating things about having a spinal anesthetic is that (and this is even though mine didn't "work") is that you have to make sure that you lie flat on your back post-op, so that the spinal freezing liquid does not flow up to your head. So me, with no pillow, and in enough pain to be bitterly unable to sleep, was stuck lying flat on my back, and my everything below my chest was still partially numb from the spinal miss....so I had no feeling, and poor Kevin, my roommate faithfully went back and asked them every time if could please do something but lie flat on my back, starting at the ceiling...I couldn't see the TV, or barely even see any visitors who came by....I was a miserable bag.
    Apologies aside, things are going great now, praise and thanks. Tomorrow I go back for my one week follow up, and things feel so good, I don't think there's anything amiss, and I feel great!
    Well, in order to keep this short, I'm going to end it now. I hope that this finds everyone well. Other than this, there hasn't been a whole lot to report on. If anything's new with anyone, I'd love to hear from you. Drop me an e-mail.....
    God Bless,

    Leave it to family..... Thursday, November 03, 2005 |

    Well, leave it to family to put a foreigner living in another country to put him back in my place. When my brother Eric told me to get off my duff, and hold true to my promise of making a posting following my trip to the caves, I figured one of two things: 1) either its a close sign of the apocalypse... (my brother reads my blog?) or 2) He was right, and I needed to stop working and be true to my faithful readers.
    First things first, I thought I would receive more slack for my posting on eating dog meat. But my main man Dustin (or Dusta Rhymes as I refer to him) stepped up to the plate and backed me up on the validity of eating dog meat. Dustin, I miss you dude, and if it weren't for your notes and phone call before my vacation in China, I'd probably still be stuck there now, trying to figure my way out. As for you dog meat haters out there, you'll bend eventually.
    Well, I just finished uploading a few pictures to my pictures site- if you need the address, check back in prior posts; I could post it here, but you should have it memorized by this time, so allow me to have absolute ignorance and pretend that you're clicking the back button to find it. You'll find some sweet Halloween pictures- mostly of the pre-school children. The preschool children were the only section of my school that had a Halloween party. Most of the teachers wanted to have a whole-school party, so we could scare the creeps out our kids, especially the real pains-in-the-ass ones, who make you question whether you're actually teaching, or doing something closer to a primitive form of babysitting.... However, it made things easier for me, as I went as a yellow toga-wearing roman.....Poor kids thought I was trying to be Ghandi, or the Dali Lama....It was either bright yellow or plaid....and I wasn't going to go as groundskeeper Willy from the Simpsons....so I just told them to check their history books.
    Samcheok was actually over a week or so ago, and it was just beautiful. Due to our cabbie dropping us off at the wrong half of the bus-station (on a side note here, for a country as developed as Korea, they use buses here like we use cars. The bus stations are filled to the brim with buses going everywhere in the country; and you better buy your ticket in advance, because they fill up fast. Trains are more expensive, and their buses drive like they're being filmed for a Hollywood stunt chase - they're the types who shouldn't have their license, but by some stroke of luck, nearly avoid collisions just enough for you to have a sliver of hope that you'll get there alive...) What was more of a wakeup that we're living in a mountainous country was that while we were driving (or closer to careening towards) to our destination, it began to snow quite heavily. Our bus driver, for what its worth, saw this as an opportunity to drive quicker, as if he could outrun the snow...Regardless, we got there. Aside from me losing my really nice shampoo in the yeogwan we stayed at, it was a nice weekend. There are outdoor pictures only because my camera has a serious issue with trying take indoor pictures. The caves (the primary reason we went to Samcheok) were amazing. I wish I could show you pictures, but you'll have to take my word for it. It was just as nice to get away from the city.
    Other than that, not a whole lot is new with me - thanks for those of you who have posted comments on my site - much obliged. Fall's turned the corner here, and now that the tree's have changed colours, things are rapidly progressing to "winter" in Korea, which is just a cold fall in Canada (not that you'd know by the way they talk about it)... Take care all, and I will talk to you all soon.
    God Bless,