Chuseok holiday weekend continued and despite a long night out, somehow so did I. Well…not the day after but we had a four day weekend so I was back at it by Friday. I was still a wee bit hungover those two days before though (mostly because of the way it affected my sleep) and double exhausted from all the work stuff. Chillaxing at a couple coastal cafes in the Oedo-Dong neighborhood, one that had been on my list for a long time, was a good way to end up for the entire day instead of it just being the kick-start originally planned.
Saturday was hiking and Jungmun Saekdal beach on the South side of the island. I liked it over there way more than the urban neighborhood I had been stuck in. While I was used to new experiences, what surprised me on that particular day was that there were WAY more foreigners than I’d ever seen on the island. Another pleasant surprise was accidentally finding the second of a couple bars connected that I had really liked the first of called The Cliff. The last pleasant surprise for the evening was realizing that the DJing gig of a guy on the island with the same name as me, Robin Lee, was super close. I had been wanting to get over there to meet him but it was an hour and a half away so it wasn’t until then that I finally did. Expecting to just say hey and have a laugh followed by “it was nice to meet you”, he ended up being a super cool dude which meant that I’d hope to hang again.Sadly, the holiday weekend came to an end and it was time to go back to that horrid job of which I was counting down the days until I could leave. Giggling as I looked at the big bruise on my leg while stalling to get ready that Monday, I thought about Gaelin and our night out along with a quote I really liked from a Reese Witherspoon movie, “Don’t drink to get happy. Only to get more happy.”
That little foster pup I had named Aurora in honor of my nice got adopted. It killed me. I had been in love and half in to adopt her before even meeting. The couple who adopted her had another dog at least. When they gave her the permanent name of Minhae, my heart broke a little again. It turned out that they were amazing puppy parents who focused on their furry family and had a beautiful history of adopting doggos in need. It helped soften the blow a lot. Still, I found myself instantly looking for other animals to foster. Within days I was commenting that I could foster a couple brother pups until the end of the month when I moved and changed jobs. After all, I was already being charged for an animal cleaning fee.
Life on that Korean island kept on keeping on. Exploring by bus every weekend with drivers sending us passengers flying while driving just as crazy as everyone else. My becoming excited at the idea of taking people to the new places I discovered only to realize that I was probably not ever going to have anyone visit to do that with. Oh well. At least I still had teenagers also on public transport to entertain me with the fad of keeping a roller in their bangs.
Watching Honey for the weekend while Gaelin and Leo went to Seoul helped my aching heart from Aurora/Minhae being adopted so quickly. It was also really fun to discover that she knew Korean when Kathy, myself and a sweet server who I had invited to hang with us went to my house. He had first met us at a CU (convenience store that allows drinking on their benches outside) after work and then we went to the chicken & beer place by my pad where we discovered that he was an artist who had dealt with the typical troubles of being a creative in a life of mainstream conservative minds. You know…his parents hadn’t accepted it, society told him to be different, etc. Cool guy and a fun night.
The package my momma sent finally arrived. It had been held up in customs because of my meds for so long that I had rationed down to half of what I was supposed to be taking and my body hadn’t done well. It was scary. My platelet count had tanked faster than ever before and I was covered in bruises. The answer I was getting from the hospital was that the specialist couldn’t see me early and I would have to be back in and out of the hospital if it got bad enough. I had been walking the tightrope of that happening and was down to my last few pills when the package appeared, though not before causing even more drama at work when Mr. K was the one constantly being contacted by DHL no matter how many times I told them to stop. That drama once included Mr. K talking about it in front of the whole damn staff before Kathy stepped in to talk to them.
All of that (along with the shipping being super expensive) and a couple of the things I had ordered didn’t arrive because they had been sent back to Amazon for some reason. The tank tops I desperately needed due to wearing them under pretty much everything did arrive but I had apparently ordered a small. I mean really small. I probably could have sewn both together and they still wouldn’t have fit me. Talk about ten times more frustrating when paying and waiting to get them from overseas.
Life kept on keeping on. Not knowing if it was due to the work stress or my platelet count dropping, I felt super worn out and weak. I suspected it was from both and it was pretty upsetting to think about my symptoms for the ITP, even if only in part, not only getting worse but being ones that I had never experienced before. Or had at least not noticed. I also started having my “episodes” stronger than ever. The ones professionals and I thought could be seizures but weren’t positive about. I wasn’t going to let any of it keep me planted at home though. Never. I still managed to check the box of visiting one of another of the places that had been on my list. A cafe called SimSim with an ironic location given that I was still watching Honey and it was less than a five minute walk to Gaelin and Leo’s. On that day, I also wasted 45k₩ by buying a dog carrier that was too small in an attempt to grasp some control when I was feeling so spun out and exhausted. Frustrating but interesting to figure out the psychology behind it once my brain was working again.
The next day, Sunday the 11th, I managed to give an Olle hike a go. Got lost a couple times, of course, but managed to see some haenyeo divers at work and ended up at a darling cafe that I absolutely adored. Not to mention being very happy about the hot barista who seemed to be digging having an American there. I may not have been able to get a stamp in my Olle passport for finishing the trail thanks to my terrible sense of direction but I did get to finish my day out at Cafe Delmoondo. Another adventure of unexpected turns that I would call a success over all.
Back to another week of work during the countdown of being done with that place. A countdown that had gotten a little longer thanks to Mr. K telling/asking me to work a week longer that my notice was supposed to be for to which I had said yes out of confusion, awkwardness and pressure. That had been before my health had gone to shit in no small part thanks to the stress there. I tried to tell him after that weekend that I couldn’t work the extra week after all because I needed a chance to rest for my health (with Kathy’s help to communicate) but he threatened to not give me my release. Something needed to be able to work somewhere else.
As I hadn’t started falling apart until the end of my time there, it made me think about how the blow from hard things never seemed to hit until they started getting a little better. Or maybe my mind and body just didn’t let me know before that as a survival mechanism. Probably, as I thought of most everything, all of the above. Also because the end had come due to my finally not being able to take it anymore. Analyzing that lead me back down a rabbit hole of how I had been processing through the stuff from before leaving the states. ITP, realizing I hardly had anyone close in my life anymore, Nikki and my fallout and Sean attacking me. It had moved past being in the forefront of my mind but oh yeah. It was still there.
Puppy, puppy, puppiezzzz! Yes ladies and gentlemen, those two baby brothers that I said I could only watch until the end of the month were brought to me on Tuesday the 13th. They had temporarily been named “Pumpkin” and “Latte” by the sweet woman who had rescued them, though I had no intention of using the names. Partly because I didn’t like them and partly because I didn’t want to attach new names after it had made it hurt worse when losing Basil turned Aurora turned Minhae.
They pretty much took over my life from there. “Pumpkin” peed so much that I was going through at least $20 a week in puppy pads and $20 in food. They were doing pretty good in a studio at least but waking up to the smell of dog turds was NOT my favorite. I suppose I got my revenge for both when making the mistake of leaving the floor heater on while at work and coming home to some hotdogs. Bad foster mom! Then again, they could have just gone into the laundry room or bathroom for the cool floors.
There were so many cute moments. “Latte” found his reflection in the mirror just as Aurora had and both the boys kept playing around on the slippery floor, flying around Risky Business style. Latte was doing really good with harness and leash training but Pumpkin fought it at first. He also was more rowdy with doing things like ripping a blanket a wee bit. Ironic considering I was told that he was the more timid one. Who was better and worse behaved would change back and forth. And oh man were their little teeth and nails razors! I found myself trying to figure out if all the slices on my thumbs were from cooking until realizing it was them.
I still managed to take my own wee advetures outside the pups. Getting out a bit for what wasn’t a huge hike but did manage to get my blood pumping, I checked out Wonang Falls. It was a lovely reminder of why I had gone to the island in the first place, though there were so many people taking selfies that I felt practically run off. Very Korean.
Other fun was checking out Magpie Brewing to try to get a wee bit of that warehouse brewery feel from back home. It was a spot the social media queen for the island had posted about and I had been wanting to hit ever since. Some other boozy fun was drinking a White Russian in Svetlana’s honor at a place with fancy cocktails called Hitchhikers in the downtown area of City Hall. Then there was food. It was official, I wasn’t a fan of Korean food and I was missing Mexican food like crazy. Well, I finally found a decent chicken burrito after yet another rough day at work to satisfy that craving. More than decent, actually. Mostly, no doubt, because it was covered in a delicious cream sauce that made me oh so happy!
There was a little prep work to be done for the new job. To start with, I had to go through the pain in the ass of going to the hospital twice, once making me late for work, to get a new health cert that was pretty much a drug test for 70k won. Ugh! I also got new passport-size photos for multiple requirements. An outing that included having to run to Daiso for a shirt since I had forgotten that I couldn’t wear white with a white backdrop. It was quite a funny experience seeing the finished product for the first time. I had previously seen a meme about passport photos in S Korea looking better than the way someone had looked before. I thought it was referencing to the before and after of the amazing skincare. It hadn’t crossed my mind that it may be talking about photoshop. I looked Asian! Yo, as happy as I was to not have the apparent requirement of looking like a prison inmate that the US seemed to impose, I would have at least liked to have kept my jawline.
There were moments away but it always came back to puppy responsibilities. The most expensive for the month being when I took them on their first long walk to the vet for shots. Man was hard! Their constantly getting me turned around by being entangled in their leashes lead me in a big circle that landed me, sweaty and panting, back at work instead of at the vet. It was sweet how many people stopped to coo over them but it made it even harder. Especially when a little girl new to the hagwon never stopped yapping appeared at a park I was walking through and got double excited to see Robin Teacher not only outside of school but with puppies!