Thursday, 7 October 2010


It turns out that I am simply not physically cut out for the difficult business of being a teacher.

Tuesday and Wednesday each involved their own separate hospital visits. The first, on Tuesday, was for the medical exams required to validate our E2 visas. I had my first X-ray – Tom was surprised to hear that, but of course I've never broken a bone or anything. The whole experience was quite weird, with various patients being ferried around the same set of tests: urine, blood, sight, height, blood pressure, hearing, dentist, and so on. Everything was fine (we saw the results today, turns out I am blood type A+, which is something I never knew before!) except that the dentist told me that I needed three wisdom teeth extracted.

Understandably, this panicked me quite a lot – and then I realized that I don't even have three wisdom teeth yet. I think the dentist was quite zealous.

Unfortunately, their over-excitement at my teeth meant they overlooked something which turned out to be fairly important. The next morning I found blood in my urine, which necessitated a return to the hospital. Tom's colleague, the other foreign teacher, very kindly took us there and waited around with us for an hour while they grew things from my pee (nice). I was prescribed some antibiotics, which were mercifully cheap – 10,580 won, and the nice man in the chemist waived the last 80 – and we went onwards to Hadong and Pia Valley, which was stunning and which I will write about, or at least post pictures of, another time.

So: two days of teaching and I was bleeding from somewhere one shouldn't really bleed (all that kept running through my head was scenes from House where bloody urine means that someone is about to die!), had a very sore throat from all the talking, and a nose alternating whimsically between runny and blocked. With any luck, the upcoming year, with its constant exposure to children, will toughen up my immune system a bit.

Being a teacher is hard, physical work.

In other news, today we visited Tesco for a second time, had our visas changed from single to multiple entry (we can travel, and they'll let us back in to Korea!), and got the internet! Tomorrow we are getting our alien registration cards, and will officially be legal immigrants to Korea. My Korean is improving, or at least my accent and willingness to have a go is. I managed to get us home from Tesco in a taxi without showing the driver the written address, at least until he asked which tower block we were, and I asked the man who guards the bins (recycling is taken very seriously here) which bin I should put polystyrene into. I was very pleased with myself, even though all I did was say "where?" and wave the polystyrene at him.

I absolutely love this country.

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