Say WHAT?!

This is a total generalization, but I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Koreans seem to be completely obsessed with POOP! You can find it in many different forms… from toilet museums, poop shaped snack food to poop that you can wear.

Today’s Say WHAT?! is a pair of socks that I picked up at Daiso, a huge dollar store chain in Korea (and Japan). At the top it says ddong, which literally means “shit.”

Would you wear these socks?

Korea ddong poop socks

Motivation Monday

Happy Monday, everyone! Today is our last day in Thailand. Hope you all have a great week! Again, don’t forget to check back to see what makes me Say WHAT?! this Wednesday.

week 3

Phuket, you do not disappoint!

Holy heck! I do not know what to say. I spent my first few days on a small island about 40 minutes away by speedboat and today I’m meeting my handsome Australian back on the mainland at The Shore at Katathani Beach Villas on Kata Noi Beach in Phuket, Thailand. Wow, that’s a mouthful!

I am in love with this place. I’ve already seen an elephant and check out our room view. I’m absolutely speechless.

The Shore

Say WHAT?!

It’s Say WHAT?! Wednesday again! That means I get to share with you more bad English or weird things that I’ve seen during my time in South Korea.

Just in case you missed last week, CLICK HERE to check out the crazy shirt I caught one of my 6th graders wearing to school!

“BABY IN CAR” type signs have been popular in many places in the world at one time or another and they are all the rage in Korea at the moment. It was no surprise to me that the large stationary chain in town was selling them, but nothing could have prepared me for this…

Baby [with axe] in car!

To me, it screams, “Don’t drive like a jerk because I have a baby with an axe inside the car and there’s no telling what he might do!” Personally, I find babies with axes terrifying. And this one in particular kind of looks like a badass.

Don’t forget: CLICK HERE to see last week’s Say WHAT?! Wednesday.

Ear Surgery in Busan Korea

Medhelp.com says:

“A ruptured eardrum is a perforation of the thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the inner ear. Symptoms of a ruptured eardrum include severe pain, hearing loss, discharge from the ear, or ringing in the ear. A ruptured eardrum may be uncomfortable but will usually heal on its own within a couple of months.”

As you may know, I suffered an ear injury about 8 months ago, before I came to Korea. The quote above says that the eardrum usually heals within a couple of months, but my hole was too big to heal on its own. It was actually about half the size of my eardrum. I got used to it and it didn’t cause me any problems other than a slight hearing loss in that ear and I had to protect my ear when showering.

The surgery back home would have cost me several hundred dollars (maybe up to a thousand) so I opted to wait until I got to Korea. I found a great doctor that speaks perfect English. He only performs surgeries on Wednesday mornings so it was a while before he could fit me in. Last Wednesday was the big day.

ear doctor in Busan Korea

The doctor gave me a mild sedative to take the night before and the morning of the surgery. I went in at 8:20 and was given some scrubs to change into.

ear doctor Busan

Next, I waited in the recovery room until they were ready to take me into the operating room.  In the operating room before the surgery, the doctor made small talk with me and held my hand for a bit to make me feel comfortable. He asked me if my parents were worried and asked if we were Christians. He said he was too. They then attached me to a valium IV and it was go time. The doctor said a prayer for me. It was in Korean so I didn’t really know what was going on until he said, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

The surgery was simple and involved grafting some of my own skin, taken from the tragus part of my ear and attaching it to my eardrum.

(this is not my actual ear)

I was awake during the surgery, but very relaxed thanks to the sedative and valium. As I was getting up from the operating table, I realized that I was pretty out of it. With the help of the nurse, I walked like a drunk person back into the recovery room and laid down. After the nurse left, I realized I really needed to go to the bathroom, but I was still connected to the IV and knew that I needed help walking to the bathroom so I laid there and contemplated what to do. Finally, I decided to reach up and knock on the door to the operating room where I could hear the nurses cleaning up. It took 3 times for them to realize that I was knocking.

ear doctor in Korea

When the nurse came in, I tried to explain that I really need to go to the bathroom, but the nurse didn’t understand. I pointed to the bathroom door and she thought I was pointing to the other bed and tried bringing me a pillow. You’d think after being in Korea for 7 months that I, of all people, would know the Korean word for bathroom, but I never learned it because it was kind of long and difficult to pronounce. I did learn to read Korean and fortunately for me the Korean word for toilet was written above the English word on the sign on the door. It read “화장실” so I slowly sounded out “hwa-jang-sil.” She quickly understood and she unhooked my IV bag from the stand and I was able to use the bathroom.

I was very nauseous after the surgery. I tried telling the nurse I felt sick and might need some sort of bowl or something just in case, but she was completely lost. That’s when my awesome charades skills came in handy. I got to act like I was getting sick and then motion like I was doing so into a bowl of some sort. She brought back a plastic sack… and the doctor. The doctor said it was probably due to the temperature difference in the gel packing he put in my ear. I think it was probably the valium. The nurse gave me a shot in the bum for the nausea and they took me off of the valium. It helped.

I had a difficult time sleeping because I was in a lot of pain. I dozed in and out and might have though a lot of expletives to cope with the excruciating pain. I was given another shot in the bum around 3pm. This one was for pain and it did the trick. I laid there for a bit longer and then I was able to change clothes and wait to see the doctor in his office. He knew I had planned to walk home (about 7 minutes away) and asked me if I felt well enough to do so. I said yes and he cautioned me to hold on to the handrail very tightly as I was walking downstairs. I paid at the front desk on the way out. The surgery was 84,000 won, which is just about $75.

I was pain free most of the day on Wednesday, but found that I was in a lot of pain that night and that carried on into the next few days. The doctor prescribed me antibiotics, an anti inflammatory and pain medication and also gave me a sedative to sleep better the next day.

Finally by Saturday I felt well enough to get up and do some actual cooking and today (Monday) I am back at school teaching.  I feel so much better. The only problem I’m having is that I really can’t hear out of my left ear, but that’s probably due to the fact that I have gauze packed in my ear and my ear is covered by band-aids. I have seen the doctor almost every day since the surgery (except Satuday and Sunday) and he’s going to keep a close eye on me. I pay 3,800 won each time (just under $3.50).

The success rate of the surgery is 80% so everyone send positive thoughts my way. I do not want to be one of the 20% that has to do this again.

The doctor gave me a picture of my eardrum after the graft. I have made the size really small in case you’re squeamish. You can click on the picture to see it in full size.

eardrum graft in Korea

If you found this blog post because you’re looking for an ear doctor in Busan, here is my best attempt at giving directions:

I don’t have the address, but here are the coordinates: 35.207421, 129.071156
The closest subway station to the office is Minam Station (on the brown line). I believe the subway exit number is 12, which is at the intersection of Minam-ro and the road towards Dongnae Station.
You want to walk towards Dongnae Station (away from Mandeok/Deokcheon) on the left side of the road. If you aren’t familiar with the area, there should be road signs that help direct you. There should be a bus stop not that far ahead, the doctor is right behind that.
Other things to look for: The doctor’s office is right before SK Oil and across the street from GS25 and GwangHye General Hospital.
To get to the doctor’s office, go in the last door on the building (closest to SK Oil), right after the pharmacy (it’s the glass door with yellow letters on it, there’s a photo above) and go up to the 2nd floor.
If you found this post helpful, please let me know. And if you went to this doctor after reading my post, please let me know how your experience was.

Part 2: Things that just don’t seem strange anymore…

Because the first post was so popular, here are more things that just don’t seem strange [about Korea] anymore…
  1. You start telling people they should “take a rest.”
  2. Blue eyes can put others into a state of hypnosis.
  3. A single bar of soap can kill the bacteria on the hands of 1,000 people.
  4. You’re getting used to fruit flies buzzing around your head.
  5. You love buying food in the supermarket that is scotch-taped to something else.
  6. The wait staff likes to cook your food and feed it to you.
  7. You cross your arms in an X every time you say NO or disagree about something.
  8. You think you’re back in university after hearing loud drunks stumbling home at 4am on a Sunday morning… but then realize its 50 year olds wearing suits.
  9. Koreans seem to be able to find anything from “www[dot]daum[dot]net” but you’re not even sure what kind of site it is.
  10. You feel like you’re playing Frogger every time you walk to school or have lunch in the cafeteria.
  11. Parking a car means turning off the engine.
  12. You find yourself chopping vegetables while sitting on your bed because there is no counter space.
  13. Your fate is often determined through a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
  14. People just love to watch your groceries go through the checkout.
  15. Clerks in the stores stand at attention and ready to pounce on you with customer service.
  16. Dishes and ironing are taking up too much of your spare time.
  17. You’ve-ah started talking like-ah this-ah.
  18. No matter where you are standing, you are always in an old lady’s way.
  19. You actually prefer bowing to saying hello.
  20. People only need to walk one block to reach a convenience store or PC room.
  21. People politely start public trash piles rather than littering everywhere.
  22. You find yourself disappointed in the equipment offered at the free public park gyms.
  23. You still have no clue how the garbage/recycling system works here.
  24. You’re already losing your motivation for temple-stay and learning fluent Korean.
  25. Everyone is very impressed with your chopstick skills and kimchi-eating ability.

*I didn’t write any of these myself, but they pretty much sum up life in Korea. *

You can find the original post here:

Things that just don’t seem strange anymore…

Carnival of Drifter Tales