Posted by: Cacille | November 24, 2012

Some great days!

Admittedly, I’ve had a tough week, until yesterday which happened to be Friday, and also happened to be Thanksgiving, sorta – at least, the morning of Friday was Thursday food time in America. All of the English teachers in and around Hamyang got together into one of teacher’s apartments which happened to be a little larger than the norm. Some people brought bread, cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, mac and cheese, and even stuffing. I brought pumpkin pie and some honey turkey slices – which happened to be the only turkey at the party so it went over really well. The party lasted well beyond 11pm, when i finally left, and a great time was had by all! I also discovered a coffee shop below one of the teachers’s apartments that was owned by a Italian guy I – astoundingly – already knew about from a message I had gotten only days earlier. Italian guy in Hamyang who happened to be a Couchsurfer, whom a friend of his had found me through the site, then I happen to go to his cafe I was told about only days earlier like I said. Strange how the world works.
The next day, things got even better. I had been having an off and on minor headache/toothache that was annoying but bearable -but I hadn’t been to a dentist in almost two years. A year before coming to Korea, because i had no dental insurance and nowhere near enough money for a basic cleaning, much less the one or two cavities I knew that needed fillings. And then, being uncomfortable with finding a dentist here in Korea when I didn’t know if they could speak English, gave me more pause. So i waited until they became a problem, which in this last week had just started showing signs of doing so. So, I asked the English teachers in the area, one was recommended for me whom spoke basically decent English, and I went in today (Saturday!) and got an immediate appointment. I was concerned about money, because it was not the 25th so I had no money yet to pay. He waved it off, and said “don’t worry about it”. After a small consultation, he informed me that I had SIX cavities (Oh god. I knew about two, thought by now I’d have three, but SIX?)  Four on one side, two on the other. He said he could fix the ones on the left side first, all at once, and I said OK. He did the work and it seems to be okay (My mouth is still adjusting). I needed no numbing agent, he just had me raise my hand if I felt pain. I felt very little pain – less than I remembered from having two cavities a long time ago. I was surprised when it was done.
Then, the dentist asked, very politely, if I could help him with a personal issue. I know, you think “What….” considering the words sound rather strange in such a context and us Americans would automatically think “what does he wanna do with me” in a sexual context, but this is Korea – and people wanna study their English. Badly. So when i get asked a question such s that, I know immediately that it is because people want help with their English. I agreed, and went into his office with him, where we sat down at a computer and TV setup, and he pulled out detailed, DETAILED notes, all in English. The notes were about videos, and until the videos started, I wasn’t sure what the notes were about. Turns out, they are the English words from Discovery Health and BBC scientific shows. This man listens to those shows and writes down every single word he hears. However, there were of course bits and pieces that he couldn’t understand – but VERY few. I was amazed. So what he wanted from me was to clear up the words so he could hear them properly. I did so of course- this man had just given me the USA equivalent of $800 worth of dental services – for FREE! So if he wanted a trade of my English services for his services….uh, NO PROBLEM. * (I just need to make a little note here, that I was not paid for my service, and it was not set up prior. It was goodwill traded for goodwill only and it would have been insanely rude of me to not help the man. This note is provided for those who may say I’ve done something illegal, but in this case, I was not paid so it is not.) *
I still have two more teeth to fill, and so I intend to go back next weekend and if he needs more help, I’ll provide it.  I am really surprised that there is not much in the way of English speaking opportunities for adults in Hamyang. The hagwons are for kids here, not adults. So the adults must trade services or perhaps innocently ask questions on the street. If you’re new to Korea – be aware. People will suddenly start talking to you in English, and all they want to do, seriously ALL they want to do, is use their English. Us USA people would be very scared, and trust me, I still am (I AM from one of the two most dangerous cities in the USA) but I am slowly learning that I don’t need to automatically think that these people wanna “get with me” or distract me into a dangerous scenario.

Anyway, after making a quick stop at the Kimo mart to grab some “weekend food” (Junk food. Yeah, after the dentist. Smart, I know). Two bags of chips and a milk soda. And that’s when my favorite cashier told me that I had accumulated the points needed to get the 5000 won discount. So a 5200 won bill became 200 won. Nice! I go home, and check the normal things, facebook, etc. Then I got curious to know how much I had in my account (Which I knew was less than 13000 won) and discovered that I’ve been paid 2 days early!

This past two days has been Win.

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