Monday, September 30, 2013

Halloween & A Trip to the Hospital

Last week Al and I were informed that we have to go get another medical check done at the hospital. While this may seem routine enough, we know very well simply going to get a medical check is just the tip of the iceberg with a very large and complex story behind it as to why this needs to be done.

Before teaching here, one must get a medical check to ensure you aren't bringing in some kind of scary foreign disease into their utopia. From what I understand, this only needs to be done annually if working for a public school under the Ministry of Education...not Al and I. Since we did our check when we first arrived nearly two years ago, there is no reason this should be happening.

Let me sum up working for a Hagwon (Korean private school): Imagine, if you will, the company you work for is untrustworthy, unorganized, ill-prepared for anything, money hungry, uncaring, disrespectful and the boss is constantly doing things that are generally illegal i.e. squandering your pension. Those kinds of companies are rampant in this this lovely country and are better known as Hagwons. Teaching here is just a roll of the dice. You may or may not get a good school and it will probably be some varying degree of shady no matter where you teach.

With all that being said, after Al told me this had to be done he also told me that about a month after we did our first test, a former Korean coworker told Al that they needed to be redone for some reason. Well, they never were and so it's just now come to the attention of our school owner. I'm guessing someone in immigration caught on to this error just now and told our boss that it needs done pronto. The reasoning they gave Al was that a foreigner in Busan was caught with drugs so now all the schools have to re-test their employees.


1. We're not stupid. 2. If that was the case there is no need for a full medical check. 3. Why are the other two foreign teachers in the office not coming? 3. Why, oh why, are you in such a rush to get us to the hospital?

Basically the owner told us this huge lie (that we can see straight through) to cover for his mistake a very, very long time ago. One thing to know about Koreans is that there will never ever be an admission of guilt. They generally refuse to take any responsibility in anything that was obviously their fault, this just being one of the bazillions of cases we've run across while living here. Oh well. We know the real reason, so now...Medical Check #2!

There are hospitals and clinics all over the place. When you think "hospital" don't imagine the mega hospitals like we have at home. Here, the hospitals are very small but they have all the basic necessities. We go in with a Korean teacher from Al's school and get down to business. Vision and hearing tests, weight (not too shabby) and height, chest x-ray, blood and pee test. The pee test is different and seemingly much more unhygienic than at home. They give me a cup (no paper bag or anything) and send me down the hall. I a squatter mind you...and then put my hand over the top of the cup because I'm very uncomfortable walking down a hallway with a dixie cup of my own piss. I walk back into the room and they indicate I set it down on a table...a table that has multiple other cups containing various shades of yellow liquid just sitting there. JUST SITTING THERE, out in the open, no lids, just asking to be knocked over.

As I'm trying not to barf, it's time for my blood test, which is in the same room as the pee cups. The chair I'm sitting in is directly beside the pee cup table. So far this is a fantastic day. She rolls my sleeve up and I'm sweating to death because I hate needles and the pain that comes with getting blood drawn. She sticks me, I whimper and turn my head and wait. Apparently I'm so nervous that nothing is happening so she has to stick me again in my hand to try and get more blood. Great. I come out looking like some kind of heroin addict with all these pricks in my arm.

The Korean teacher with us pays the probably $10 all that cost with Mr. Song's credit card and off we went. It wasn't the greatest start to a Friday.


I love Halloween! Al and I are usually always people from pop culture and this year is no exception. Yesterday we ordered my costume and some components of his. This year...we will be...DUM DUM DUM...Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo. It's going to turn out pretty rad, I think. I need to find a toy dragon to attach to my shoulder and I'm good to go. We have to make a lot of Al's but we ordered him a wig and a long beard to shape into Drogo's. I wanted to be Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus but he said no one here would know who we are...bummmmmerrrrrrr. Here's to October 31! Can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. well, good news and bad news.... Good new first, your experience with working for a Hagwon will provide you invaluable experience when you come back and find yourself working in Corporate America, Bad news, good luck finding a job in Corporate America. Freedom of Speech and getting fired goes hand in hand in America :D Next, your description of having your blood drawn is an exact description of how I am ...I HATE it!! and I too look like a druggie after having blood drawn,. One time it took 4 times! AND I had to finally lay down. I had to go to work with gauze on both arms. And for the next week I had bruises in the crease of both arms lol.