Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Saturday, August 22, 2020
Sunday afternoon update
Today is the Sunday before I go back to work after surgery.
I have slept SO MUCH, drank so much water, eaten basic food, no heavy meats and taken vitamins. My body and mind are fully rested and I am ready to work on my new book and go forward with my life’s choices.
ONWARD AND FORWARD.
Monday night update-
The virus has spread to 16 cases in my school's city as~of today.
No classes this week so we may go back online for half the grades. Sigh. My main concern is to keep our students safe.
So even though I still have to get dressed and go to work daily, at least I get to rest my voice and body for another week. Miss Rona is making us all learn about patience this year.
October 2020 update
The students had a rotating schedule of attending school. They would come to my school for a full week based on their grade level. I really feel like this school year is a wash out. Our kids have not been able to learn in a stable environment all year and it shows.
2021 please be gentler with us. We are fragile after being abused all year by 2020.
I stopped watching the news two months ago. The stress and level of anxiety was too much for me. There is just too much going on this year.
So 2020 is an election year for the US and it is almost a circus.
We have a choice between Mr. Cheetos and an old man with a vice president candidate who was a prosecutor. She has a very long history of putting Black and brown people in prison. There are even public “bones in the closet” about how she has mishandled evidence. Sigh. The choice is between the pot and the fire. We are getting punched left and right by the year 2020.
I feel like this year is like being in the ring with Mike Tyson during his prime, with no mouth guard, no gloves and blindfolded. 2020 is knocking all of us in the middle of the fight. We are on the rope getting gut punched over and over again while the referee is in the bathroom smoking several joints.
Between the world wide virus, the Japanese murder hornets, zombies, aliens, the resurgence of the KKK being supported by the president, job losses, closed international borders, human rights world protests, virus deaths that don’t add up to what the governments are telling the public…sigh…I’m so tired of this year. The entire world needs a positive overhaul.
When I’m not at work, I watched funny light-hearted movies and exist in a magical world of laughter, sunflowers and butterflies. When life gets too hard, step back and decompress. Don’t let the stress make you sick.
Make sure to meditate, sing, dance, draw, connect with family and close friends, take walks… there are so many activities to do to remain at peace during these times. Please take care of yourselves.
Peace and health should always come first. Take care of you.
So Korea can make movies about incest, a middle aged man becoming a drag queen, school bullying, senior citizen prostitution, strict hierarchy and lots of other topics…but can’t bring themselves to stop using blackface in 2020? When a famous African celebrity speaks out against blackface, his life is actually threatened? Korea, please, do better.
Monday, August 17, 2020
So as frightened as I was to have surgery alone in South Korea, God took care of me.
I usually do NOT ask for help from others. But this time, I decided to call in all my favors. There are four Koreans that I've known for more than five years and the friendships have miraculously endured the long years. All of my Korean friends came through for me except one. Only the real ones last or matter.
Julie from my city drove me and my large suitcase, to Suncheon bus terminal.
When we got there, she gave me a superlong hug and offered up words of encouragement.
Cumulus, from Daegu city, took a 3 hour trip from his city to meet me at the Suncheon bus terminal. He asked one of his longtime friends who live in Suncheon to meet us at the bus terminal and drive us the one hour to the hospital in Hwasun city. His friend, Mr Kim, arrived early, looked for the only Black person at the bus terminal and we struck up a friendly conversation. His English level is almost decent and he loved practicing it. Once he got comfortable with me, he bought me Evian water and told me his new car, of six months, was my personal limousine for the day.
After Cumulus arrived at the bus terminal all got into Mr Kim's new car. He kept telling me that the new car was just to drive me to the hospital. It was such a sweet gesture and he was sincere with a good sense of humor. As we walked out to the parking lot right outside of the bus terminal, I glanced up at a beautiful artwork that showed a gorgeous little Black girl in a hanbok. I closed my eyes for a moment and whispered "thanks" to whatever God was making all of this fall into place for me. My Korean friend, Cumulus, would take a 6 hour round trip bus ride just to make sure I had a guarantor for my hospitall stay.
Halfway to the hospital, Mr Kim pulled into a tiny parking lot of a restaurant for lunch. I tried my best to pay for the lunch but he insisted on treating us. The lunch was delicious and we had a beautiful view of a roaring river right outside of it. The conversation was friendly and humorous during lunchtime.
We arrived at the hospital around 11am and were too early to check in. We had to sit in the lobby and wait. Eventually I went to the English Translating dept of the lobby. The last time I was there the woman had insisted they did NOT help foreigners who lived in the country, they only assisted people who were in Korea for medical tourism. I thought since I was being admitted it would make a difference but it did not. She doubled down and said there was nothing she could do for me, even though many other major hospitals in South Korea have specific people to translate critical medical information for all of their foreign patients.
When we were finally able to do the paperwork for admittance, the nurse informed Cumulus that a solo surgery was not an option. I had to have someone be there with me. I could not be alone before or after the surgery. He did not translate this information to me. Instead he turned to Mr Kim and asked him if he would be my "protector" for the surgery........and Mr Kim said "yes". Then, and only then, did Cumulus inform me of what the hospital policy was. Only AFTER he had a solution. I was speechless. My heart could not take it. I felt so grateful that this stranger was willing to do this for me. I am crying as I write this because sometimes in the middle of the worst moment of your life, there is sunshine. God puts angels in your life to help you get through the worse part of troubled rivers.
Cumulus and Mr Kim stayed with me for more than five hours until I was given a bed and put into too small pjs (Cumulus immediately insisted the nurse bring me larger ones). The great thing about being in the hands of these two older Korean men was that they were of a higher economic level (and were older) so they were confident in dealing with the hospital staff at all levels. In Korea, age and class is more important than anything else. It felt good to be in good hands for once.
After Mr Kim and Cumulus left, I was in the window hospital bed and was arranging my personal items. A woman came to my room and was speaking to me in very little English. She kept saying a name of a church until it dawned on me that my hairdresser's Korean Mom had sent this prayer warrior. She prayed with me and reminded me that the doctors are not God, only God is God. God guides the hands of the surgeons. Her prayers were so soothing that by the time the intern came, I was in a good place mentally.
The next day, Mr Kim was there early. He drove the one hour from Suncheon city to the hospital just to be with me for the surgery. I had only met him the day before but he was keeping a promise he made to his long-time friend. He pushed my hospital bed all the way to the surgery door and was there when I woke up. He stayed for a couple of hours after that and sent me a text everyday afterwards to check my status. I had know Mr Kim for less than 24 hours before that day yet he insisted that he was proud to be my "protector" for my surgery.
All of the nursing staff and doctors were kind, helpful and did their best to translate words into English phrases that I could understand the entire time I was there. Korean Mom's prayer warrior came to me the last full day there and bought me coffee and two hundred dollars to put towards my hospital bill.
Mrs Moon's friend came and checked in on me on my last full day also. I found out later that she had checked in on me while I was sleeping in the recovery room. She relayed to Mrs Moon that I was peacefully snoring away after a successful surgery.
Mr Park came to pick me up in a torrential rainstorm. Even though he arrived before 11am, check out time, he ended up having to wait until 3pm, because my surgeon was called into a emergency surgery.
After I paid the bill at 11am, Mr Park stayed in the lobby idling while I finished packing and just sat on my bed, waiting. Eventually, after 2pm, I asked the nursed for a status. They told me that an intern would be taking out our draining tubes since the primary doctor was still performing surgery.
The intern took out the drainage tube, I picked up my bags, said goodbye to my kind roommate and the nurses. While I was waiting for the elevator to go downstairs, one of the older nurses ran to me, held my hands and said a warm goodbye to me. It was such a kind gesture and I knew that they had put in extra effort into making me feel better since I was alone during such a critical time.
The monsoon rains had washed away many of the roads leading out of Hwasun.
It took me and Mr Park several hours to get home because we had to keep turning around each time a road was washed away. He came before 11am and we did not get home until 6pm because of the emergency surgery and the heavy rain pour. He was gracious and generous of his time and I appreciated his dedication to getting his patient home safely.
When I finally walked into my apartment, my safe haven, I thanked God for Julie, Cumulus, Mr Kim, Korean Mom and her prayer warriors, Mrs Moon and Mr Park and all the other people who checked on me. Mike,Chris D, Janee, Delphine and countless other people who prayed for me. I also had the gift of being operated on by the best surgeon in the country. Another blessing. There was one Korean fake friend who ignored me and will be ignored when they show up months from now. Also, the mentally ill friend who was unable to support during this time, also disappeared. She has mental issues so I forgive her since she could not support even though I am sure she wanted to help me out.
I am a firm believer in acknowledging stand up folks. If you stand for me when I need you then I will always stand for you.
God put many angels in my life to help me get through this surgery.
No members of my family was here to support me but the angels got me thru and I will always remember their kindness and generosity.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, angels.