Bye Bye Baby Pt 3

Nearly 4 years ago to the day, I was living in Ulsan, South Korea. It seems like a lifetime ago now. While I was living there, I had the opportunity to go through surgery for an umbilical hernia repair. You can read all about part 1 and part 2.

It didn’t seem to work though. I’m not sure if my attempt at pilates screwed it up, or if the mesh was no good. There apparently were some ‘recalls’ for people who had hernia repairs with a mesh. Unfortunately mine was outside of the US so I wouldn’t know if that even applies to my situation.

ANYHOOOO! I’ve been back in the US for a year and was experiencing some stomach issues and my hernia was full-fledged back to party. I have a full-time job here with good insurance (For the first time in how long?) — so one of the first things I did was go to Surgical Group of Orlando. Dr. Chambers took a look, gave a nod, and we set a date.

So on July 24th (1 week shy of 4 years) I had my umbilical hernia repair. I had my entourage with me (parents and grandparents) and we waited for a solid 30 minutes before I was called back. Michelle was attending me and she was a blast. We made small talk and funny talk and went over all of the necessities that I now can no longer remember for follow-up care.

At one point, she was taking a look at my belly and gasped: my stomach was beet red. I wasn’t having a reaction to medication or had some sort of viral breakout. I was severely sunburned. I made this dumbass mistake of going to Siesta Key the weekend before my Tuesday surgery. I chose to NOT wear a 1 piece because TAN LINES! Hello!? Yup. The wind was strong that day. My SPF30 sport sunscreen was expired. And I was just not responsible. I got SO SO SO Sunburned that i had to take 3 black tea & apple cider vinegar baths. I lived in an aloe plant and rubbed super potent “CBD” salve on me. And I had no a/c in my car on the 3 hour drive back. Boohoo my poor choices.
So anyway, I almost wasn’t allowed to get the surgery, but luckily I hadn’t started to peel yet.

Back to the story:
Because my surgery wasn’t scheduled until 1pm, I was allowed to eat and drink up until 3:30am. Unfortunately I was asleep by 11:30pm the night before and barely woke up in time to drink a bottle of water before I couldn’t anymore. For anyone going into surgery where they say ‘Don’t eat or drink anything for 12 hours before the surgery’ — do your veins a favor: drink and eat up until the last minute. If you do what I did and have an easy Thai meal and hit the hay early, your vein may or may not collapse when they try to put in the IV. If you’re a punk like me and don’t do well with needles — this is a problem.

My vein collapsed and Michelle had to do it again. My wrist is now so bruised that I look like I was in a domestic issue (I can’t even wear my watch). Anyway, I spoke with the anesthesiologist and Dr. Chambers came in for a few minutes. Then I was wheeled back and moved onto a table. They put my oxygen mask on, I wished them good luck, and I was out. I do not remember my dream, but I did manage to not sit up this time.

To indicate to the nurses that I was awake, I made a joke about how the nurse they were making fun of for being short was ‘fun sized.’ Then my teeth started some serious chattering. And the pain started really hitting. I couldn’t swallow. I was not freaking out. The anesthesia was leaving my system and for some reason, this was how my body reacted. I wasn’t cold. I wasn’t scared. I was just in pain and my wonderful mom kept trying to give me water, but would take the damn straw away mid-sip and make a giant mess. But to be fair, she hasn’t had to feed a person in a while.

They gave me Vicodin and I proceeded to hate every second of it. My breathing was really shallow and I just felt like I was in this half-way state of sleep and frustration. I took it a couple of times that first day and haven’t looked back.

Repair:
Initially, Dr. Chambers was going to make the incision from my original scar with a possibility of using a mesh.. However, she changed her mind the day of (whether it was the sunburned scar or other reasons, I currently do not know). She decided to go through my belly button and sutured the hernia rather than using a mesh.

Recovery:
The act of sitting, standing, lying down, sitting up, twisting, coughing, or you know.. anything was pretty rough the first day or two. I’m stubborn though and did more movement than I probably should have. But also, 5 days after the surgery, I’m sitting on my couch cross legged without too much pain. Just soreness. And majorly itchy from this damned sunburn. I’m barely starting to peel, but if I can keep moisturized then maybe it won’t? Hopefully?

I was able to take a shower on day 2 — and it was painful. But on day 4 (yesterday), I was able to take a full shower with hair care and then go get a haircut. I don’t think I’ll be going to a movie or out for dinner and drinks just yet, but I feel better today than I have all week.

Week 1:
Rest. Rest. Rest. No lifting, bending, etc. Take it easy.

Week 2:
Rest, but I can go back to work. Follow up visit is scheduled for 1 week from the surgery. No lifting anything more than 10lbs.

Week 3:
Resuming light activities. Lifting maybe up to 20lbs? But more than likely 10lbs still.

Weeks 4-6:
Resuming normal activities, no heavy workouts still, but light activities are encouraged. No lifting more than 20lbs.

I’ll hopefully remember to write a follow up in a week or two.

2018 Resolutions Mid-year Update

6 months in and half a dozen left in 2018. And I am doing a SHIT job with this.

 

Resolution 1: Follow through.
Whether it’s a text message, a blog entry, an application, whatever! I will follow through with it.

—UPDATE: You’ll notice my last blog post was the resolutions post. FAILED. And  I have had SO many drafted messages (text and email). So SUPER FAILED.

Resolution 2: Weight Loss
Yup. Back on the list. I have been through a lot with this one. One year I gained a lot and then next I lost it. Last year, I gained a lot again. Whether it was stress, diet, hormonal, or lack of exercise — it will not be repeated. I admit I am more than 160lbs. That’s bad. My final goal is to be between 120-130. If I get down to 140, I’ll be pleased. If I plateau at 135, I’ll be still quite happy.
How will I change this? I’ve already started watching what I’m eating. I’m cooking for myself again and tracking how much I’m eating and when.
I’m going to also give myself 30 day food challenges. 30 Days with no pizza. The next 30 with no Mexican food, etc. Let’s see how long that lasts. Taco Tuesday will rue the day.

—UPDATE: Not great. I’m down only about 5 lbs? I’m steady at 157lb. I’ve had a lot of stomach stuff going on this year though and I’m not sure how much to attribute to that. I’m getting a hernia repair surgery again tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens from that.
That 30 day food challenge thing? Meh. I made it halfway through the Whole30 Diet. I did make it 30 days without pizza.
Regardless of excuses — FAIL

Resolution 2.5: Exercise
To follow up the weight loss through diet, I am also challenging myself to be more active again. In Korea, I had hills and stairs to climb every day. I didn’t drive as often, so I wasn’t as lazy. Being back in Orlando, I don’t have the natural inclines or the beautiful hiking options. But I do have lakes and water, along with a new paddleboard. I want to get a few hours of paddling in a week if I can (weather permitting). I’m also going to take advantage of ‘New Student’ specials offered by gyms and fitness studios. The first will be 40 days $40 Power Yoga. The next will be 30 day Barre classes. Having these near to my work will allow me to keep to a schedule while avoiding traffic. Let’s see how it goes.

—UPDATE: Semi-fail. While I’m not working out regularly, I did do the 40 day Power Yoga and most of barre classes. I haven’t done much more than that though. I’ll jump into a hot yoga class when I can or go paddle board or bike ride once a week.

Resolution 3: Make that money!
My new job is wonderful. But no lie, it does NOT pay very well. True, I get paid better than others in my position at the company, but it’s just not that much!! So I need to get back my passion projects. Voice acting and massage therapy. Today I reapplied for my Florida massage license. As soon as I’m done with this cold, I hope to start my voice over demos again and start auditioning. I need additional income one way or another.

—UPDATE: FAIL!! I have not done a single massage since I got my license renewed. I auditioned for a few voiceovers but to no avail. It’s all I talk about is getting back into this or that and making a little extra money. This hernia repair will delay the massage part another month or two. Maybe I can Uber again?

Resolution 4: Stick with the Blogging!!
That was my resolution last year and I SUCKED at it. In fact, I went the ENTIRE year without a single blog post. Luckily, I’ve started a new blog that is not connected with this one. If you are interested in checking it out, I ask that you contact me privately. It’s not meant for everyone. Not yet at least.
I hope that I have some new experiences I can share via WittyLMT as well.

—UPDATE: obvious fail. But better than last year, I didn’t go a whole year.. only half of one. And that other blog I tried to create, I’ll put some of the posts up here because I have too many blogs going on.

Resolution 5: Visit 2 new places this year!
In the past, I have said that I will visit 2 new countries. That maybe more difficult now that I’m state-side and not making the money I did before, and living in a higher-cost-of-living location. This year, I’d like to visit 2 places in the US that I’ve never been. Considering that I’ve barely been around the US, this should be easy. Let’s rack up some mileage points, hey?

—UPDATE: FAIL. My BFF and I are planning on a trip to Arizona (and Canada, and Seattle, and Tennessee, and Utah, and…). But without having anything actually planned.. it may also be a future fail.

 

Halfway 2018 Update Overall: FAIL!! I am a loser. I am not doing well with this. My resolutions are not unrealistic, but I lack motivation, money, and friends. I’m working on it, but obviously not hard enough. Maybe this blog post will help whip me into shape. Literally and figuratively.

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2018 Resolutions (Delayed)

I have a tendency to start writing something and then it gets drafted and I forget to post it.  So that is my first resolution:

Resolution 1: Follow through.
Whether it’s a text message, a blog entry, an application, whatever! I will follow through with it.

Resolution 2: Weight Loss
Yup. Back on the list. I have been through a lot with this one. One year I gained a lot and then next I lost it. Last year, I gained a lot again. Whether it was stress, diet, hormonal, or lack of exercise — it will not be repeated. I admit I am more than 160lbs. That’s bad. My final goal is to be between 120-130. If I get down to 140, I’ll be pleased. If I plateau at 135, I’ll be still quite happy.
How will I change this? I’ve already started watching what I’m eating. I’m cooking for myself again and tracking how much I’m eating and when.
I’m going to also give myself 30 day food challenges. 30 Days with no pizza. The next 30 with no Mexican food, etc. Let’s see how long that lasts. Taco Tuesday will rue the day.

Resolution 2.5: Exercise
To follow up the weight loss through diet, I am also challenging myself to be more active again. In Korea, I had hills and stairs to climb every day. I didn’t drive as often, so I wasn’t as lazy. Being back in Orlando, I don’t have the natural inclines or the beautiful hiking options. But I do have lakes and water, along with a new paddleboard. I want to get a few hours of paddling in a week if I can (weather permitting). I’m also going to take advantage of ‘New Student’ specials offered by gyms and fitness studios. The first will be 40 days $40 Power Yoga. The next will be 30 day Barre classes. Having these near to my work will allow me to keep to a schedule while avoiding traffic. Let’s see how it goes.

Resolution 3: Make that money!
My new job is wonderful. But no lie, it does NOT pay very well. True, I get paid better than others in my position at the company, but it’s just not that much!! So I need to get back my passion projects. Voice acting and massage therapy. Today I reapplied for my Florida massage license. As soon as I’m done with this cold, I hope to start my voice over demos again and start auditioning. I need additional income one way or another.

Resolution 4: Stick with the Blogging!!
That was my resolution last year and I SUCKED at it. In fact, I went the ENTIRE year without a single blog post. Luckily, I’ve started a new blog that is not connected with this one. If you are interested in checking it out, I ask that you contact me privately. It’s not meant for everyone. Not yet at least.
I hope that I have some new experiences I can share via WittyLMT as well.

Resolution 5: Visit 2 new places this year!
In the past, I have said that I will visit 2 new countries. That maybe more difficult now that I’m state-side and not making the money I did before, and living in a higher-cost-of-living location. This year, I’d like to visit 2 places in the US that I’ve never been. Considering that I’ve barely been around the US, this should be easy. Let’s rack up some mileage points, hey?

2017 In review

 

If I could wrap 2017 into a single word, I believe “FAIL” is the most appropriate.

I don’t really even remember writing my resolutions. It’s been the longest and shortest year that I can remember.

The only thing I accomplished out of my resolutions was visiting 2 new countries as I had before. I had said I wanted to go to Taiwan — and to Taiwan I went. I did manage a trip to Japan before hand, but I was lucky enough to go to Taiwan with a very amazing friend. It was so great the entire time. I think a lot of it was also the company I had. We made a lot of fun memories.

But I definitely have gained weight, not organized any better (although I organize other people better than myself), I did not really see too many movies, and I am not de-hulkified — although maybe i had less to dehulkify about.

For those of you who don’t know by now, I have moved back to the US from Korea. I was released from my teaching position with about 12 hours notice. Shannon from Scratch wasn’t doing great either – – and right after I had moved into a new, better for cooking apartment. I wasn’t any closer to getting my business stuff going and voiceacting wasn’t getting better for me either. I made a last minute decision to leave. I gave myself 30 days and I was on a plane by Memorial Day weekend.
I spent the first month at home seeing family and traveling a bit to see everyone. I got to visit my older brother and his (now) wife in DC. Then I went to Canada for the first time. I was visiting a wonderful guy who I have had the pleasure of knowing for a couple of years now. We had a lovely short few days together, then I went back to DC for a few more days. So there — that’s how my resolution was accomplished.

Then I started looking for work. I drove for Uber and Lyft while looking for work. It was really difficult. I was convinced I would get a job out of Florida and be back on my merry way. I did not. I finally got a job after 4 months.

At the end of September I took an admin job at a Loews hotel in Orlando. I work at Universal for a great company with a lot of potential. I have 4 great bosses who couldn’t be more different from each other. I work across and with another admin who is amazing. I feel blessed to be in a position that I’m actually enjoying and with people I enjoy working with. The pay isn’t great, but it’s a start and probably better than some other people make. But there’s very little chance of raises unless I get into a higher position. But I’ll be in this position for a while I think. or so. I’m curious to see which direction I go with this. I could have gotten into a sales position in a hotel and probably been making 2-3 times as much.

Anyway — I’m still single at 31, with a regular office job for the first time in my life, and living at home with a very patient mother. So that’s my year in review. Next post: Resolutions.

Resolutions: 2017

I was lazy last year. I don’t think I ever posted the resolutions. My first resolution this year is to publish this before Feb 1, 2017. 🙂 (I’ve drafted it a few times and we’re more than a week into 2017).

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My actual RESOLUTION 1: As always — travel!
As with previous years, I once again would like to visit 2 countries again this year, hopefully new ones. Once again, Taiwan in on my list. I think this is the year I will finally get to go. I will definitely be in the US again this year. I hope to make it a good long trip this time, seeing my brother get married in October and a very good family friend in November. However, I wouldn’t protest to visiting a different part of the US other than DC or Florida this year. I will be in New Jersey for the wedding, but perhaps can go to California for a week or so to visit my multitude of friends living there. I wouldn’t protest going to Philippines, Thailand, or Vietnam again – – but different places that I hadn’t been to before. Or perhaps Cambodia. I guess only time will tell!

RESOLUTION 2: Weight Loss-ish

Another repeat resolution, but this time I’d like to get down to 130-135lbs (~60kg). I currently weigh in around 65kg on a bad day (~143lbs). If I can tone up and strengthen my body a little, then I think this should be an easy accomplishment. I may need to start eating my own food that I cook for others as well. To help me obtain this goal, I’m doing a very ‘new years ish’ thing: I joined a gym. However, it’s not a typical weights and cardio gym: I’m joining Body & Seoul – – a martial arts gym. I have up to 4 classes per week for the next 6 months. My goals are to take 3-4 each week (2 minimum).

RESOLUTION 3: Physical/Hygiene Care

I have never been very good at daily rituals: taking vitamins or pills, using facial products, brushing my hair, making my bed, etc. And although I do brush my teeth every day and clean my linens once a week (more or less), I am making a solid effort this year to get to a dentist. I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know the last time I went to one! Oral hygiene is very important and I have been seriously slacking. I also am going to make a solid effort to take vitamins each day and go through the skin care rituals each day (washing, toner, moisturizer, etc). I am now 30 and this is when things start to really go south, “they” say. I will do a better job of taking care of myself.

RESOLUTION 4: Organization.

It’s no big secret that I am not the most organized person on the planet. I’m not at a ‘slob’ or ‘horder’ level, by any means, but I definitely could stand to ‘adult’ a bit — as my friend says. On January 15th I’m moving into a new apartment and I am hoping it will bring a new sense of organization to my life. My living quarters will be organized and cleaner. I’m not a minimalist and probably never will be, so I won’t pledge to get rid of a bunch of crap. I like my crap. Also, ,my business will be better organized and recorded. Paperwork will be done every night (ugh. homework.). I want to try and organize my daily routine. New year, new me, blah blah blah. It will take a lot of work, and in about 10 weeks I’m going to recap here and laugh about what very likely will not change. Some things are meant to be.

RESOLUTION 5: De-hulk-ify

You don’t want to make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry. But it’s not someone wanting me to be angry or trying to make me angry. It’s my reaction. It’s shameful and I am more embarrassed than the poor person who is on the receiving end of my anger. Sometimes, I just lose my shit. And the fuckin’ tidal wave caused by Hurricane Shannon will bring tornado friends. Maybe that’s extreme. Maybe it’s not. A few people have seen me upset, but it is VERY VERY rare for someone to see the dark side. The TRUE dark side. I don’t want to have to hide that anymore.. and not because it needs to be hidden.. but because it doesn’t need to exist at all. I would like to be more accepting of situations and better handling of the BS that life throws at me.

 

Five is a good number to leave on. Let’s see how we do.

 

Oh wait, no there’s one more.

RESOLUTION 6: Watch more movies

That’s not a big one really. But I guess I hadn’t realized there were cult-classics that I just have not seen! Tonight, for example, I watched When Harry Met Sally. Yeah, I had NEVER seen it. I’m not really a romantic comedy person (aside from the occasional period pieces, but still not really comedy), so perhaps that explains it. But it was sweet. And every other scene was either great or awful. So I want to make a list of all the new movies I see this year. Whether I watched it at home, a friend’s, or in the theater.. I will hopefully keep track of all I watch.

Kk. I’m done now.

Wish me luck.

2016: A not-so-quick review

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As it turns out, I did not make any resolutions for 2016. I was apparently so pleased with doing well in 2015, that I completely forgot about 2016. This year has been wonderful and horrible for a lot of people. For me, it’s just …been.



The Downs of 2016:
Loss:  In January, my family put down our family dog, Laci. I was crushed. I couldn’t talk to anyone in my family for a few days. I think I’m still a bit upset actually. As all dogs are for their human companions, she was more than a pet. She was my friend and playmate. She was my emotional (and sometimes physical) rock. We cuddled and walked and swam together. We would take long naps on the couch or in the sun. It was a painful time, but she’s in a better place. In February, my great (wonderful and amazing)-aunt Shirley left us. She had been going through a lot physically, emotionally, and mentally. She was surrounded by family, and then when everyone went home, she passed on. Like Laci, she was more than just my great-aunt. She was my friend. She always was there for me when I needed her – just an email away. During my own petulant pre-teen and teenage years, she was the person I could and did stay up all night talking to. She was a beautiful person with a unique way of living. That’s how we connected and bonded. We were both a little different from everyone else in the family, but we managed just fine. I was not fortunate enough to see her before she passed. I was, however, fortunate enough to see her husband, Uncle Charlie, while I was home in April. I surprised him in the care center he stayed at. Then he and I had a wonderful chat out on the gazebo. We just talked, I told him about my doings abroad and he talked about his current state and how he was proud of me. Not too long after, he also passed. He joined his love in the great beyond. I really feel for my cousin Stephanie for losing her parents the way she did. It’s not something I can imagine dealing with, and hope I won’t have to for a long time.

Love: I had a person I was interested in back in 2015, but he quickly changed his mind with no explanation. We had an amazing connection right off, and I was a little hung up on him for a portion of 2016. I found myself subconsciously gazing toward the street he lived on when I passed. I sent a message now and then to inquire his health. He never responded, so I finally somehow let him go. Toward the middle of the year, I found another person who more than captured my interest. Again, we had a lovely connection straight off and I found myself constantly wanting to be in his company. I thought the feelings were mutual, but once again after a few weeks, my affections were rebuffed. However, we continued to hang out. This was probably not the healthiest move on my part. It seriously delayed the process of me ‘getting over’ him. But still, his unique way of thinking and the situations we found ourselves in were so enjoyable. I knew I was in the friendzone (after hooking up?! which is bullshit, but whatever), but I still felt like we were more. I did all I could to get out of that mindset, including sending him home with another girl one night. And that crushed me. I didn’t eat for days and I fell into a sort of depression. I couldn’t understand why I was so upset about this, when I knew it would happen and I even encouraged it. I had no right to feel the way I did when I knew that he saw me only in this certain light. He was a temporary best friend. I was playing the role of Eponine, as I had done before, but I somehow made it worse for myself. Sure, I didn’t get shot for it, but I alienated myself from my friends and I only wanted to hang out with him. And then, he left. With a mere few days notice, he came and went. And again it crushed me. But I realized how unhealthy I was to have him around me. We stay in contact, sort of. And I would like to have a true friendship with him, but I realized that he was not healthy for me in my current space and place. If our friendship does maintain, I will absolutely be happy for that. If it does not, then I wish him the best of luck with whatever he chooses in life. He’s the type of person who will succeed and bring wonders to the world when he finds his passion.

Others: “I don’t speak politics” is something I often say. I don’t get involved politically and I prefer not to. However, I have to just say as a person observing through media outlets abroad, WTF, America. Donald Trump? Like… what? Is Kim Kardashian going to be VP? Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kris Jenner found her way into a government position with this kind of ridiculousness. I guess we shall see what happens with that. Oh yea, and Britain decided to secede from the EU. That’s something I know minimal about and won’t try to pretend that I do. It’s just a weird thing to have happened that I wanted to mention.
I also had a bit of an issue at one point with casinos. It was my own private matter and I’m happy to say I’m doing a whole load better. I spent a lot of time at the casino. A lot of time. I was up and down and will never disclose to anyone what actually was made or lost. I will say that meeting a guy in the casino who had been betting money that was my monthly income on a good month, and watching him lose it all, was a wake up call for me. I get an urge now and then to go back, but I haven’t, and hopefully will one day- – but in a better and healthier mindset. I think winter will help me stay away for a while.. it’s too cold to leave my apartment if I have to.



The Ups of 2016:
Family
: While I experienced loss early on in the year, my family has had a couple of additions, more or less. On Memorial Day 2016, my older brother finally popped the question to his girlfriend Katie. This had been a day I had been looking forward to for an absurd amount of time. I knew a few years ago that she would one day be my lawful sister and I am thrilled to say she will be officially taking on wife-hood in October 2017. Later on in the year – December to be specific, my younger cousin Danielle and her wonderful hubs Denny welcomed their first child together, Nancy Faye. She is a healthy and lovely child with a doting and proud older sister, Fiona. I am so happy for them and their families, and for my grandparents to be able to hold and interact with their first great-grandchild. As it happens, Nancy Faye was born on my grandmother’s birthday. I couldn’t imagine a more wonderful gift.

Travel: I did get to travel a bit this year also. I celebrated New Years 2016 in Dubai with my friend Kendra. I visited D.C. (in what was supposed to be THE proposal weekend) with my family and also spent another week in Florida with everyone there. In September, I did a last minute trip to Vietnam for a week. I enjoyed a great holiday on my own and met some very interesting people. I had some gorgeous clothes made and I now have a 1 year multi-entry visa.. let’s see if I use it again (ha!). In November, I booked a ticket back to Orlando at 2am on a Tuesday and was on the plane by 6pm that same day. It certainly was an unanticipated trip and the surprise was wonderful for my family. I got to cook for and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with my family (sans my very angry older brother). I want to say I traveled more, but I really don’t think I did… I can’t remember (which is a bit disturbing).

Business: I spent the majority of 2016 on a D-10 visa (looking for work) while trying to build up Shannon from Scratch. I did voiceovers and was making okay money with that. I got to dub a few characters in a K-drama that was being shown in Ghana or somewhere random. I also participated as an extra in a movie featuring Kim SooHyun. No idea what movie or anything about it except it had to do with casinos.
Shannon from Scratch, I am happy to say, is doing well at the moment and I am curious to see if it will have the opportunity to expand in this next year. I went from only 2 clients per week with ~20 meals between them to having at least 5 clients each week with on average ~50 meals per week. The most I cooked in one week was 75 meals with about 9 clients during the week. Some clients are less consistent, getting only 10 meals every month or two, or changing from 2 meals to 5 meals each week depending on their situation. New clients are coming in still and I am looking forward to organizing my venture a bit more and seeing where it will take me. I also took on a very part time teaching gig for 1.0million won/month + and E2 visa for 9 hours per week. While the timing of it is really inconvenient, the students are actually really great and the staff is really chill. I actually do enjoy teaching there for the most part, and I appreciate the extra bit of income there also.

Others: I also am proud to say that for the first time EVER, I have lived in one place for longer than a year. I will be moving out in 2 weeks, but it will have been 1.5 years of me living in my apartment. The new one will be very nice also.. a good location close to where I am now, but less of a hill, and on a second floor with better ventilation and kitchen space (hopefully). I also have to follow up the ‘Downs-Love’ section by saying that “when one door closes, another opens.” To avoid possibly jinxing myself, I will leave it at that.
Also, one of my best friends was able to visit in March and that was a great week, as we celebrated her 30th here. Then after my 30th, another friend from Orlando came in for a couple of weeks and we had a blast as well. In September after my Vietnam trip, my mother was able to join me out here for a second round of Korea. This time I could spend more time with her and have more experiences than the previous visit.



To conclude, I suppose, I will once again say.. 2016 has just.. been. It had its ups and downs and it all equaled out in my eyes. It will be a distant memory soon, and I’ll be writing about 2017 in no time..ish.

Nerd alert!

I hadn’t considered the term “nerd.” I use it with some people in a playful way. It just so happens that these people are usually ones who I can converse with about fantasy and scifi novels. I like to read. I really enjoy reading series, epics, etc. I have read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyDune, The Wheel of Time, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Twilight (yea, i was stuck in bed with a back injury for a while), The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, Sookie Stackhouse and more! I intend to keep reading because I really do enjoy it. I like to get lost in these worlds that are not like ours. These seemingly impossible situations are fantastic. I especially like to read books that just keep going.  Dune was a bit ridiculous after the 4th book but I kept on and have even read some of the newer and completely terrible books. I somehow managed to crawl through the absolutely AWFUL Sookie Stackhouse series. ((Yea, True Blood was based off this series and THANK GOD they veered away from it.)) I really want to read Ender’s Game and all of the books that come with it!

Last year, I read the entire The Wheel of Time series and loved it. I was completely addicted. I would read it on the subway, while I waited in line at Costco, when a laser was zapping away hair from my lady parts, when my students were taking their tests, in the bathtub, etc. I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast when she walks through town reading and completely ignoring everything around her.

Because of that series, I have made friends and conversations with some interesting people. We have ‘nerd talk.’ And I didn’t think twice about that phrase. But today, a guy was trying to hit on me and said “Wow, it’s so nice to meet a fellow nerd.” And I thought to myself, “Wait. Am I a nerd?”

This led to me looking up the definition of nerd! According to dictionary.com, the American term:

nerd

[nurd]
noun, Slang.
1.

a person considered to be socially awkward,boring, unstylish, etc.
2.

an intelligent but single-minded person obsessedwith a nonsocial hobby or pursuit:

a computer nerd.
But the British version is:

nerd

/nɜːd/
noun (slang)

1.

a boring or unpopular person, esp one obsessed with something specified: a computer nerd
2.

a stupid and feeble person
So, naturally, after seeing this definition, I considered this. I am not “boring.” I am not “unpopular.” I am pretty sure I am QUITE stylish! I am not often “socially awkward” (although I have moments, but don’t we all?). I would go with “intelligent,” but definitely not “single-minded” nor “obsessed with a nonsocial hobby.”
Why, then, would someone hitting on me use this term? I had been using it as a term of endearment in a way. For some of these people, the word fits. For others, I would say it is a complete miss!
Does reading a genre and identifying with people who also read books like this group me in with them?

Plainly: no it does not. It is completely unfair to designate a title like that to someone. This deep thinking brings me back to other words and phrases used for people that are completely ridiculous. It’s not necessarily about stereotyping, however. It’s about how we use seemingly harmless words to identify people.

I know this train of thought could easily continue on into a black hole of opinion and debate, but I’m going to leave it here because I don’t want to get into it with myself.
I am happy to read the books that I do. I am happy to have conversations and be able to relate to people who have similar interests as myself.
I guess I am a fantasy book nerd. I know I am a musical theater geek. I am a style-conscious woman. I am who I am, but I know that I am also guilty of labeling people with terms that I have in the past considered to be harmless.
Maybe this rant is pointless. Maybe it is endearing. Maybe it’s time to go to sleep.
I
don’t
know.
Maybe I’m just being.

Solo Female Traveller: Table for One

I am what many people call “an independent woman.” I take care of myself (most of the time) and have no qualms about doing stuff on my own. Since I was young, I have preferred to do stuff without help from others.

When I was 20, I decided I would move to Hawai’i. I was encouraged to go and make sure it was a place I could live. So I went on my first big trip by myself. I stayed in a hostel and made friends and did what 20 year olds did. A month after I turned 21, I moved to the Aloha State completely on my own without knowing a soul out there. I managed well enough.

21-in-hi  North Shore, Oahu, 200something, my first visit to Hawai’i

When I was 25, I decided it was time for another move. I would move to Thailand to teach English as a second language. Three days before my 26th birthday, I packed my bags for the 3rd or 4th time and I boarded a plane. The first leg was delayed, causing me to miss the following 3 flights. I arrived in Surat Thani on a lovely monsoony afternoon, greeted by my new roommates the eve of my 26th. My first morning in Thailand was my birthday. During that time, I traveled to the Maldives completely on my own. I couchsurfed for a few nights and then found a nice local atoll to crash on for a few days. I couldn’t afford to stay in a fancy resort (although all inclusive) and it isn’t like many people go to these romantic locations on their own. I saw an opportunity, and I took it. I had a lovely stay at the Dhonvali View on Maafushi. The staff was amazing and set me up on dive trips and other atoll visits, and included all meals for me, set up on the roof overlooking the ocean.

That is the moment I realized the downfall of traveling solo: I would be eating alone. The staff would occasionally join me and chat with me about life and whatever. Sure, it allowed me to gather my thoughts as I ingested some local cuisine and gazed upon the desert waters. But I was eating alone.
In Maldives, when I eating alone, it really wasn’t so bad. I didn’t mind really at the time. But I didn’t quite realize how many meals abroad I would eat in silence.

prison

Not a bad place to be stuck.

maldives-dinner

Rooftop dinner for one.

The latter half of my 20s has/was spent living in Korea. While there, I took a trip to Boracay on my own. I got myself a nice quiet room for the first half of the week and met with a friend for dinners or random travelers for lunch. A fruit shake for breakfast wasn’t a big deal for me on my solo journey.
It was the end of my trip when I booked myself a nicer resort with a fancy pool and buffet that I started experiencing the Maldives sensation, squared. I remember stepping up to the host and the lady greeting me with “Hello, miss. Table for 2?” Confused, I saw behind me was a man. We laughed awkwardly for a moment as his wife walked up and I replied, “Just me. This guy is taken already.” I don’t know if what I saw in her eyes was embarrassment on her part or for me. She sat the other couple first and then proceeded to make me wait while she found a tiny table in an obvious part of the room. It was the table anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows. THE table that doesn’t get seated unless desperate. They put me at the desperate table.
But being the proud and independent woman I am, I held my head high, straightened my posture and ate like a champ. The next day, as she walked me to the same table, I asked to be seated elsewhere.. a little less obvious. My wish was granted and I was put into a corner. Damnit. Whatever, the food was fucking incredible.

This is something I have been enduring for a decade. I know the motions and have learned to take it with a grain of salt… but unfortunately, it’s a bit harder without the tequila and lemon.
Quick flashfoward to today, September 16th in Hoi An, Vietnam. I am on a solo trip in a beach town at a nice hotel & spa. It’s my first breakfast buffet here. I cannot fucking wait. I walk up and I see the dining room is full. There are barely any seats. I tell the hostess “Just me” and she looked confused. “Table for one, please.” Fear or shock, or both?, filled her eyes and she looked around for a table or a place to waste on a single woman. Then she smiles and says “Follow me, please.” So I followed her through the dining room. I kept trying to find that table that I knew she would place me at, but this dining room didn’t have one! Whaaaaaaat? She took me through the dining hall and OUTSIDE TO THE POOL. Where a nice square table set for 2 was set. Next to a crying Asian child. Next to a couple who were soaked from swimming. Next to people in their bathing suits.
She tried to put me outside. Then, as if to embarrass me further, she asked if I was with the gentleman near the door who was waiting for his omelette. Deja. Fucking. Vous. Nope. I replied in my sweetest before-10am venom-dripping voice. I am by myself. I am eating alone. I would like a table with the rest of the guests, thank you very much.
“But miss, there are no tables.” So I went inside and found a long table that had 8 seats. The 4 corners were occupied by 2 separate couples. I walked up and said “Excuse me, is one of these free?” Silent nods. I sat down. “But miss!” said the hostess. I sweetly glared at her and said, “Why yes! I would love a coffee, thank you so much.”

And that is how I started my day.
Solo travelers, especially women, be wary of eating alone. Not because of someone drugging you (although, yes be wary of that), but because assumptions are made and you are better than whatever the assumption is. Find your spot and sit in it. Then proceed to make a mess and eat like a big, leaving bits of jam on the table for them to have to clean up. Actually, try to eat like a lady with a little self-respect.. but definitely leave a bit of jam on the table.

 

Oriental Medicine

Is it even politically correct to say that anymore? Eastern medicine. Korean medicine.. but it’s not just in Korea. Acupuncture is an Asia-thing.

My history: I have back problems, like an old man would have. But.. i’m barely 30. Many moons ago, I was sick from whatever cold or flu was plaguing me. I had just moved back from Hawai’i to Florida and was miserable. Plus always sick. My dad suggested I try acupuncture. He had a hippy-dippy friend who was about to graduate acupuncture school. I thought, “Sure. Why not?” And it hurt. I was miserable. I had one of my biggest fears sticking out of my body in plain sight. There was one point that the pressure built up so bad that I thought my knee would explode. I cried like I was dying. Needless to say (and yet we do anyway), not a good experience.

I have not condoned it and encourage everyone to try their own thing. I had not looked back once. However, since May 2016 (that’s nearly 4 months) I have been experiencing low back pain. It doesn’t radiate anywhere else. But I can’t bend forward, I can’t comfortably bend to the side. Standing, sitting, slouching, and even laying down is uncomfortable. AKA always in pain. Chiropractor isn’t helping. Massage was barely helping. Finally, I gave in and am currently seeing an acupuncturist.

Dr. Yoon (in Kyungridan/Noksapyeong) is really nice. He’s straight to the point. Today was my third session. I have had needles sticking out of me, electro-magnetic waves pulsing through me, and even cups suctioning the life out of me. When your friends say you barely feel it, they lie. It does not feel good. Maybe my trigger points are so bad that the struggle is real. Maybe it’s in my head. I don’t know. I don’t love it. But I’m trying to stick it out. Ha. Needles. Stick. Ouch, it hurts to laugh.

Today the Dr came in and said ‘Today we try venom of bee, okay? Small allergy test… and okay.” My back hurts. I’m exhausted. So far, so meh.
I’ll keep the world posted on my situation.

Foreign Hospitals

(Originally posted in Tickets To: 2014)

walking-dead-web-series-oath

Sometimes, when we move to a new country, we have to get a medical check. Hopefully it’s before. But typically your employer wants to know from a doctor who is native to their country.

So far, I have come to realize. You don’t go to the doctor. You go the hospital. Always the hospital. This makes it sound a lot worse than it is.

In Thailand, we had to go and get some blood work done to make sure we didn’t have some kind of ridiculous disease that I think they made up. I’m that person that passes out from a shot. I need to lay down when getting blood drawn or else the unfortunate person taking my blood (or giving the shot) will have to deal with my unconscious body falling face first onto the floor. So, I’m in a Thai hospital. After filling out paperwork incorrectly twice and waiting for about 30 minutes next to all the people hacking up a lung, I was called back. I explained that I faint. They smiled, nodded and told me to take a seat. I hesitated and had to mime to them that I pass out. They spoke in Thai and laughed at me, but eventually escorted me to a room shared by a guy who had broken limbs. You know that nervous feeling that you may throw up? It’s similar to the feeling of seeing someone with broken limbs and wanting to throw up. They saw my green face and closed the curtain and lay me down. The English speaking doctor (where was she this whole time?!) explained they needed at least two vials of blood. So naturally I covered my eyes and tried not to panic. They did what they had to do, I cried and got dizzy. I sat up and laid back down before almost falling off the gurney. So I stared at the wall while regaining my dignity. And there it was. Blood. On the wall. Blood on the wall. Let me make myself clear: THERE WAS FREAKIN’ BLOOD ON THE WALL. After a few months, I got over it. Because I needed to go to the hospital to get some stuff checked out. And it wasn’t as bad because it didn’t require blood. And interestingly enough, my doctor was my private tutoring student. That was awkward.

Flash forward to August 2013: Korea. The first week here, I needed to get a medical check. When I asked what it consisted of, the manager said ‘Oh normal things.’ So, I went and had my teeth looked at. Even though I had just eaten and hadn’t brushed my teeth, they said I have great teeth. Then I had my hearing tested (3 high pitched notes), an eye test (look at numbers after having a thing pressed against your eye and making vision blurry), a height/weight check (not your business), a urine test (haha! I passed that one!), and the blood test. SCREEECH. What? A blood test. Please stick out your arm. Um.. no I can’t do that. Yes, you have to, Teacher. You didn’t tell me about this! Oh sorry. You will be fine! I pass out. What? I faint. What? I need to lie down. Oh Teacher don’t be silly. No seriously, I need to lie down. Okay. (Insert crying and dizziness). Now please bare your chest so we can awkwardly test your heart beat. Now go upstairs for chest x-ray. Wait patiently while the nurses are distracted by their KakaoStories on their phones. Cough to get their attention. Then straight up say “Hey” and then put your chest against the x-ray machine. Relax. Now push so your shoulders are against the flat board even though you have huge knockers and can’t really be flat against anything. Okay thank you Teacher. You can get dressed now.

Well at least it was over and done with, right? Nope. My manager failed to pick up the documents by the deadline and guess who got to do it ALL OVER AGAIN?! Me.

Then, I got a promotion 6 months later. And last week I got a text message, “Teacher, I will take you to hospital tomorrow.” “Why?” “New contract. New hospital tests.” Le sigh. At least there wasn’t any blood on the wall.

——————————————————

Obviously there have been some updates since February 2014. I have been in the hospitals for various surgeries as well.. Feel free to read those articles. 

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