Doctor my Hate

13 Jun

The last three weeks in Korea have really sucked! We’ve hated it, spent hours questioning why the heck we’re here, missing home terribly, missing our friends and family, desperately considering ways out, filling the calendar with mini-goals and spending money on things which can’t make us happy. 

It seems strange considering that our marriage is stronger than before, our bank balances are heavier than ever before and our lives are practically very stressfree. I can’t explain it. But when I look back on my blog in 15 years time I want to remember that some days were hard; that, at times, the adventure was dappled with black spots. 

I’m tired of feeling like the foreigner. I’m tired of walking to the lunch room by myself, not knowing if I’ll recognise the food. I’m tired of being stared at by the ladies on the bus or the old man who stops dead in his tracks as I walk past. I’m tired of not being able to buy cheese from the supermarket or only buying butter on special that tastes like used oil. I’m tired of paying R30 for a pear! I’m tired of having nothing to say to most of my colleagues. I’m tired of living on the 3rd floor apartment with no garden. I’m tired of guessing what meals to order at a restaurant. I’m tired of acting things out in hopes that someone will understand me. I’m tired of getting blank stares when I try to ask “How much is it?” (Al-ma-yay-o) in Korean. I’m tired of students who say hi when I leave and then giggle when I say ‘bye’ (hi/bye, yes it rhymes. It was funny the first time.) I’m even tired of the sweet little lady who tries to speak to me at the bus stop every day in Korean, because I still don’t understand you! I’m tired of spending endless hours on my computer because I’m stuck here even when I’m not teaching. I’m tired of not knowing why people are laughing or misunderstanding people when they try to speak English.

And this tiredness has led to sickness. Actually I don’t know what came first. Maybe my tired mind made my body sick. Or maybe, my sick body made my mind negative. But either way, Baden’s sore throat and snotty nose lasted 6 days by which time I was well infected and struggled with a sore throat which became larnygitis, which became bronchitis which became pheumonia. And by then I was tired of visiting doctors. It was only on the 3rd visit at 5am in the morning after 5 sleepless and coughing nights, that the doctor took chest xrays, put me on a drip, gave me a sleeping injection and sent me home with antibotics. Why the heck didn’t the first doctor make it better? And by this time I’m tired of staying in bed in my tiny apartment, watching crime and violent films – because the only genre of English shows that the Koreans buy are action and crime!

I’m even tired that my lovely co teacher had to come to the hospital to make sense of the medication I’ve been given.  And my wonderful colleague who brought me rice cakes, rice soup and a rice chicken soup – which in all honesty was a whole chicken – inside and all (and possibly the feet, I’m not sure what that was!) boiled with some other vegetables. And I ate it. I ate it because it’s healthy and wholesome and I’m tired of being sick.

And so the last 3 weeks have been lonely. I’ve been stuck away in my castle of sickness and Baden was without a friend. He was tired of coming home to a wife who slept all day and never got out of bed, and coughed all night. Life got boring. And we’re realising that no matter how fat our wallets are, it doesn’t give happiness.

So while our bodies are well and recovered now, we’re still fighting negative thoughts. We’re still trying to make sense of why we’re here – because money isn’t enough of a motivation. And I don’t need wise words of wisdom or sweet whisperings of encouragement. I just want to know that when I look back in years to come, I will remember that sometimes it was hard.

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7 Responses to “Doctor my Hate”

  1. Robin June 13, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    Stu and I are in the EXACT same boat. You took the words right out of my mouth. I understand completely. Sending you lots of love.

  2. Tamlyn June 13, 2012 at 4:52 am #

    Thinking of you guys

  3. Trish Middlebrook June 13, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    that is excellent writing Cath – send it to a magazine – youth travel? or some other one. The emotion comes through clearly and the feelings that we all feel when travelling.

  4. thedowiestravel June 13, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    “sigh” well said darling!

  5. Margie June 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi Cath, so sorry you are feeling so down. No wise words, but its good that you were able to put all that into words. Hope that as your bodies heal you will feel more positive. Love to you both, Margie

  6. Bronwyn Bwalya June 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    The Grass always looks greener on the other side. I think about you often and so enjoy your posts Cath. You write beautifully! I envy you and Baden – I adore my son to bits and the love I have for him cannot be explained but its hard too. When all I want is two hours of solid sleep I have envied you and wondered what it would have been like if Ngosa and I had been as courageous as you two and taught elsewhere. Cath, I promise that when you look back in years to come your wonderful memories will merely be seasoned with small reminders of trials and hardship. Know that we think and talk about you often and the memory of you helping me that day when Jadon was a little challenging in my kitchen makes me remember you with fondness. BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS! You are such a great example to all of us who read your stories all the time. Tons and tons of love to you. NBJ

  7. Ann Dowie June 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    My heart goes out to you both. Your writing about the feelings you are experiencing right now makes me think of the Winter season and relating it this particular journey in your lives. Dry bitterly cold winter, when nothing warms you – but you can be warm blankets for each other. You guys have been very brave in this part of your journey, having given up the comforts of your own country and families for a period of time. I love you lots. “Sterkte”

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2 travellers and a baby

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