July 22, 2010

brace yourself... (pt III)

I’m not exactly sure why there always seemed to be a large gap in time between my doctor’s visits. It didn’t appear to me that it was that busy in the emergency room. I didn’t see many doctors rushing to anyone around me. It was a really chilled atmosphere.

When my doctor finally emerged, he arrived with another ultimatum. He proclaimed that he had arranged the help of an orthopedic surgeon to come put my knee back in place. The orthopedic surgeon however, came with strings attatched. According to my doctor he would not touch my knee unless an x-ray was performed. My doctor went on to say that every person in the emergency room had to have x-rays done before any treatment. I really question this, what if I cut myself and needed stitches? Would they x-ray that? what would you look for, the knife? Yet my doctor remained steadfast that ALL patients were required to have an x-ray.

After another set of painkillers I agreed to the x-ray. I did however get the doctor to agree to some of my terms; He agreed not to allow the x-ray tech to touch my leg. They would instead move the x-ray machine to achieve the desired side angles (why couldn't they have done this from the start?). I returned to the x-ray waiting line, I can remember it this time.

My little posse followed me, like they did my entire stay at the hospital. I was so thankful to have them around. I was not really happy that i'd been in the hospital for three hours, but hey, I had a great group of people with me. They were able to keep me calm, and I could vent my frustrations with them. I felt like I was a textbook, they agreed. They would stand by and watch as a myriad of doctors would walk up to me grab my leg, and touch my floating kneecap. I would cringe and growl at the curious doctors like a rabid animal. They would stare down the doctor as i would curse up a storm. It seemed like the doctors didn’t get it. If you touch my knee, i'm going to scream and yell, it was simple. My friends stood by powerlessly as these doctors always reached for my knee. One doctor even took photos of it. It's not like i could move away, i just tried to make my kneecap smile, while my friends glared at the doctor.

My journey to see the orthopedic surgeon was something out of the wizard of oz. They wheeled me into this back room filled with people in green scrubs. I swear the room even had a green tinge to it (I was also high on several shots of pain medication and that half syringe full of morphine, so i could have been imagining things). I entered the green room with only my translator friend, my entourage was asked to remain outside as they closed the door behind me.

I felt really happy and confident that my journey would be over with this doctor. I mean he was a guy who performed knee operations! However, I blindly put my faith in this doctor, much like Dorothy, the lion, the scarecrow, and the tinman did with the wizard. This 'specialized' doctor didn't fare much better than the wizard. The second (overall) attempt to put my knee back in ended as the other did, I screamed louder than I’ve ever screamed in my life. I was screaming at him to stop, I was pleading for the endevour to be over. After the attempt failed, I was pleading with the doctors to put me under, to knock me out, I couldn’t handle it anymore, I didn’t care how they got the knee back in. I just did not want to be awake for the process.

The doctors would not listen to me, they didn't give in. They instead came up with an alternative. They would get a towel and put it over my eyes, I didn't really like the plan. I wasn't watching them anyway, and it was not the reason I wanted to be knocked out. I was given another shot of painkillers before they started on the third attempt. Seconds before the doctors moved into position, a nurse stuck a rolled up towel in my mouth. I have NO idea why they she did this, I mean I know it was to bite down on, but seriously? I was confused. I didn't have long to think before they started again. This attempt would eventually be successful. I felt relief as the knee slide along its track and back into place. Euphoria rushed over my body and I collapsed on the bed in complete exhaustion. (the photographer doctor kept the camera clicking)

I don't remember much about the hospital after this. I know that my school director wouldn't come and pick me up, and I was told to take a cab home. I've been told that i had another round of x-rays. I remember the makeshift leg immobilizer I was put into. BUT what I remember the most is that the doctors told me NOTHING. They said don't move my knee for a week, don't shower, don't touch their contraption, and goodbye! The lack of pain really allowed the pain killers to knock me out, and not give a shit.

All in all i was in the hospital for 5 hours.

There is some good news that has sprung from this unfortunate event. I have tested the medical system, a large reason for this adventure was to try new things in Asia. I love seeing how things are done differently. I swear i'm trying to write that with a smile on my face...

brace yourself... (pt II)

As the ambulance pulled up to the hospital I was pulling up my shirt to tell my new Korean friend/translator that he had to explain to the hospital that I was missing a spleen and that i had a blood condition. These are the things that kept my mind off of my locationally challenged body part.

Once in the hospital I was whisked down a hallway and onto a hospital bed. Well they didn’t get me right onto the hospital bed. They got me half on, and rested me agaist the bar on the edge of the bed. I made sure I they were aware of this. Once on the bed I realized that the bed was in the middle of a hallway, and that I was surrounded by other patients. I was more or less on display. There were injuries of all types on display in the hallway, I have no idea how I rated amongst the other zoo animals, but I was making noise which always attracts a crowd.

As I was laying in the hallway immobilized a patient came screaming into the hallway. She was hysterical, she was flailing around in her wheelchair attempting to escape. I remember asking my friends to guard my bed. I swore if that lady hit my bed, and made me move and hurt I would rip her arms off, i have no idea how i would achieve this; i just knew i would attempt it. Gladly she kept her hysterics to an enclosed area before the orderlies were able to scoot her into an elevator.

I got my first visit from a doctor in this hallway, I have no idea how long I waited to get this visit, but it was the start of things to come. The doctor approached and saw my leg wrapped in padded foam and asked me where it hurt. I blatently said, "my knee is out, I think my leg hurts". He vanished, I don’t think he returned. I continued to wait. One thing was decided however, i would not be sent into the room the crazy lady came screaming out of. I think this was a smart idea, I don’t know what kind of medicine was practiced in the screaming room.

I was SO relieved when i was finally assigned a doctor, i was moved into a stall and waited. I was anxiously waiting for my knee to be put back in. The process back home had been flawless, painkillers then relief! However, There is a danger when comparing things to the way they are done back home, and I’ve been adamant in my desire to find how things are done differently around the world. I was quite honestly given a taste of my own medicine. Aparently health care systems aren't really all that universal.

My new doctor (who had the same glasses as me, I might add) again asked me where it hurt. Again I thought it was pretty obvious, and gave him the smart ass answer. He then proceeded to touch my toes. He asked me if I could feel my toes, and if so what toe was he touching. I couldn’t believe it. I was sitting with a dislocated knee, and he wanted to play 'this little piggy'. I answered most of his questions incorrectly, I was more or less guessing what toe he was touching, I wasn’t that worried about having a broken back. (I have since learned that nerve damage to the toes can occur through a dislocated knees, I just figure that’s something they would attempt to figure out after the knee is back in).

After I correctly identified that the last little piggy went wee wee wee (all the way home), I wanted to get down business. So I asked the doctor if had ever dealt with a dislocated knee before, he said , "no". I then asked him if he knew the procedure to put a knee back in place, another "no" to which I replied "you’ve got to be kidding me! well go fucking google it! Quickly!" I was asked to calm down and to watch my language. I apologized sincerely, I was really sorry, but I couldn’t believe it. (also in a hospital full of koreans who could understand me anyways)

His remedy for the situation was pain medicine and a half hour wait till I saw him again. When he did return he told me that he would like to x-ray the knee, with the kneecap out. I told him that was stupid, insane, and I wanted the kneecap to return to its home. He said he refused to put the knee back in until he could see through x-ray that it was in fact my kneecap that was out, (maybe the guy thought my leg was broken, I don’t know). He gave me morphine for this, I agreed simply for the pain relief.

I was speedily wheeled away done some hall to radiology. I was given a number to wait in line. I love how Koreans love the number thing. ‘now serving ___’ it creates equality and fairness for everyone. Anywho, my number was called quickly, (actually I have no recollection of this I was WAY to doped up on morphine). I got into the x-ray room, and they wanted to take off the splint I was in (I do remember this!), I told them no fucking way. They should take the x-ray with my knee as is, in the condition it was in. They didn’t like it. Apparently my doctor wanted a photo shoot with my knee. He wanted it to pose in different positions, some profile shots, you know some great smut material. Basically he wanted me to move me knee, to twist it, I cousn't have disagreed more. I would not allow the x-ray tech to touch my leg, I yelled loudly in English, my translator spoke softly in Korean. I felt bad for the x-ray tech I was yelling at him when he was just following orders. I made sure to apologize before i was sent out of radiology. I was ushered back down the hallway to my ER stall.

A half hour after i returned to the ER, the doctor arrived to say he wasn't happy i didn't have an x-ray. I informed him that I wasn’t a fucking textbook, and that I would love my knee back where it belongs. I felt that the more I told him where I wanted the knee, the more he would understand how badly I wanted it there, i hoped he would eventually get what i wanted. I continued to apologize for anything and everything I said, i just wanted relief.

I don’t actually remember the first attempt to put the knee back in place. It barely registers in my mind. My doctor tried to push the knee back in, in the position I was in. He walked away after I screamed repeatedly for him to stop. One of my friends asked him what was next? What would he do?

He replied ‘well we tried once, it didn’t work. We will try again, and if that doesn’t work we will call more doctors”

July 17, 2010

brace yourself... (pt I)

Saturday was supposed to be a dream day. Volleyball and a return to anyang for perogies. Well I was only able to complete one of those tasks and, yet again I was refrained from having perogies. I think that something is seriously wrong with me and those perogies, whenever i do get to eat those bastards they better be the best damn potato mandu (previous blog post reference) I've ever had.

Anywho, volleyball was supposed to start around 1:30. Several locational issues arose on the way there which prevented the start, and pushed back the end time.. wow that's just not needed, i should be less wordy.. SO we simply got lost on our way there.. It was hot, sticky, and Callie kept asking Koreans which direction the Han river was, they all repliede with blank expressions. I find it funny, it's not like Callie mispronounced anything, she said it perfectly. It must just shock them that weiguks can speak some Korean.

Everything went well. The day was really good. I suck at volleyball, but my height and lankyness help to make up for what I lack in actual skill. If I was short and stubby I wouldn’t be allowed on the court. At around 5pm, I raced to get the ball to the other side of the net, I successfully volleyed it. I gazed at my shot like a piece of art while i was falling down in the sand. My left knee got caught in the guide wire holding up the net post. My gaze was rudely interupted as my body quickly jerked to the left, with my foot planted firmly the other direction. The torque was enough to dislodge my knee, I heard a loud pop, and felt my leg go numb.

I instantly recognized this pain. I’d experienced it twice before. Lets flash back 11 years shall we, to  the game I was named captain of my hockey team, a game in Drumheller, Alberta. Sometime during one of the three periods, probably the first or third considering where the bench was, and that i was close the zamboni doors (wait, you don't care abou that level of detail). Lets use less then. There was a short pushing match in my zone, I slipped and hit the ice on the my stomach, and I couldn’t get up. Despite  all my efforts I could not get up, and my leg was screaming in pain. I slammed my stick on the ice to alarm my goalie, Calvin, that I was in trouble. I remember the assistant coach, Kevin Wilson, reaching to feel my left knee. I will never forget the words he told the coach and my father, ‘yep, its definitely out’ all I could think about was what? What the fuck is out? I didn’t know anything could be out on a leg.

I was rushed out of the arena through the tacky dinosaur mouth painted on the side of the building. Within minutes of being in the hospital, the doctor had given me pain meds, and  in one swift movement he flipped me onto my back and slid my knee into position. It was probably a thing of beauty to watch if you were a medical professional, I sreamed the whole time. I was sent home with a full leg brace. I would call that leg brace my friend for what I remember to be an eternity. I was given the elevator key at school though. I was cool while i had that key, i was not niave though. I was well aware my time would only last as long as my leg remained immobile. It took two months of rehab before I played another game. And one year later I would return to an emergency room.

This time I was truly playing in the boonies. I was playing in Standard Alberta, about an hour from everywhere. The town was big enough for a grain silo, a corner store and a hockey rink. I had just made a play up ice with the puck and took a sharp turn to my left when my leg gave out. I remembered the feeling. It was almost exactly one year to the day that I felt it last. I was smarter this time. I made sure I fell on my back. It took an hour and a half for the ambulance to arrive. I squirmed in pain on the floor of a vacant dressing room. I studied the walls and ceiling of that room for so long that I can remember the layout and and colour scheme. Once I arrived in the hospital I was quickly visited by the docter.

He made quick work of my equipment, he cut up another set of laces, and another sock. He quickly had my knee brace off (the one that was supposed to stop my knee from going out in the first place), and with a quick shot of pain medication. My knee was propelled back into position. I have been told that I requested nothing more than JD to help take away the pain. I’d like to believe I’ve been sarcastic my whole life.

My rehab for my second blown knee had taken FAR less time. I was on the ice within two weeks and playing again within three. I was given a referral to an alternative medicine clinic in Calgary. The doctors name was Dr. Doug Battershill, an ex CFL (Canadian Football) player. He believed that diet and mobility was the way to combat this injury, and I believe him. He was extreme, yet it worked. My knee was extremely strong for 10 years.

I’d like to think that my knee was still strong on Saturday and that the torque I threw on it would have taken even a healthy knee out.

These memories quickly flooded back into my mind as I lay sprawled out with a mouthful of sand last Saturday. I was desperately trying to push the kneecap back into place before my friends advised me the ambulance was on its way. I sat back and tried to relax. The Ambulance ride was unbearable, I screamed almost the entire way, every ten seconds or so the ambulance would lurch a different direction after hitting a bump. All I could think about was that the roads in this country are shit. My uncle could make a killing selling them the required material to correct them. To end part I on a good note, for the first time EVER I was able to hear the ambulance siren. Sadly it was drowned out with screams every couple of seconds.

July 09, 2010

...flag...flag... just like a wavin flag (pt. V)

On the final weekend of the world cup I figure why not one last blog about it. It’s not highly original at this point, as most of the world is blogging about it, but hey whatever. Those who know me know that I like sports. I even watched part of the Lebron James special this morning (and no, i don't actually even like basketball). Okay, i thought it was stupid; I don’t know what was more pathetic that he had a TV special or that I watched it. I swear I was cooking and cleaning while it was on, it was simply background noise. However, it would be interesting to see the ratings for it. I bet it beat the ratings for any USA soccer match.

Anywho, football...I’ve been keeping up with the world cup through conveniently downloaded torrents. I have watched a couple games mildly cheering on random teams. I've devised a method to my cheers. England is always first, my parents were born there, my family history is there, it was the first place outside of North America i visited, it's an awesome country (pretty much take your pick). I’ve adopted Korea as a secondary team, The reasons why shouldn’t shock you; I  currently live here, and got caught in the fandemonium. Germany firmly grips third place it's another country I’ve lived in and loved. While I was only there for a month, it was an amazing month. I would go back to Germany in less than a heartbeat, the people, the food, and the beer were all top notch.

With England, Korea and Germany out, I’ve decided to cheer for Netherlands in the final. Why? Because I’ve been there... quite simple really... I've never been to Spain although i've heard great things, I'd love to go there someday. However I chose Netherlands. It was a great place to end my trip last year in Europe. It was my last hurrah and all night binge before my all night plane home.

Back by popular demand (okay only my parents asked for it). I had a couple more of my kids write about the World Cup, and i'm going to post it, with their blessings, once again in all their unedited konglish glory.


World Cup
2010, it had world cup in South America Africa. Our Korea team go to South America Africa’s World Cup too. I feel bad and terrible because I can’t see the TV program because of World Cup. I love soccergame and play soccer, but I hate to see, because its boaring. I think I will be really really boared in 2014 because South America is doing World Cup 2014. I hate the World Cup!! But I wish our Korean team win.


Lisa and John were watching World Cup. (Argentina vs. South Korea)
Lisa: Shoot! Oh, no!
John: Don’t get excited. We will lose.
Next Next day, Lisa and John was watching World Cup. (Portugal vs. North Korea)
Lisa: hurrai! Portugal win! Yes! 5-0!
John: I said, don’t get excited!
Lisa: Why? North America Korea have to lose. I hate North America Korea!
John: I think so, too! I think, I have to excite now! Wow Wow Wow Wow Wow Wow!
Lisa: 6-0! Portugal won! NO, 7-0! One day, Korea go to round of 16.
Lisa: Olleh!
John: Olleh!

July 07, 2010

the squeeky whale..gets the update..

 I’ve frequently been asked how I’m doing lately. Well I guess this could be considered a broad stroked answer. Or at the very least, how I feel after 5 months. I have successfully spent more time in Korea than I have any other place outside of Canada. I think that’s a pretty large achievement. Well perhaps not an achievement as I’m under contract and I have to be here. BUT it’s something, rather than nothing, and I’m proud of it.

My previous treks away from Canada never breached the two month mark. My first two months in Korea breezed by, I don’t actually remember them to be honest. They have almost entirely faded away through the alcoholic fog I found myself entwined in. I had several friends comment about my excess, I had several worried. I lived unaccustomed to myself; I lived well beyond my means. Even though this country is cheap, I’m hardly a millionaire; I couldn’t keep it up, financially or physically.

I find the shift in my views has created several other shifts in my Korean experience. The group dynamics in Korea are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. While they are not truly alien to me, I’ve dealt with them twice before and I’ve been able to learn from both situations and both entirely different outcomes. Despite that experience I can’t help but feel that I’ve become ostracized for decisions I’ve made. I don’t feel that I’ve done anything wrong, and would gladly repeat my actions. It still doesn’t feel right, because I’ve actually finally been able to level myself off, and remove the dynamic shifts I experienced during my first months. Yet there are three sides to every story, and people only know what you reveal about yourself. I find I’ve learned to appreciate why I was lucky to find friends for life in Malaysia, and in the same breath I’ve realized why it was best I traveled solo around Europe.

To answer the original question, I am fine, I am good, I am happy. This was the best decision I’ve ever made, and my third trip of a lifetime. I hope to make the best of my remaining time, and will try not worry to about the fragile individuals along the way. I will continue to find my place here and I will continue to write about it. I’ll be 25 all year, and I’ll spend it all here.

July 05, 2010

same same... just korea (III)

The last same same was all about relationships, and how Koreans like to demonstrate their love and affection. Well this time I will explore some myths the Koreans have revolving around death. Okay it's not going to be that deep, just fans and red means you're dead.

Myth #1 Writing your name in red, means you're dead.

While this seems interesting, and easily laughable, Koreans will not write their names down in red ink. I only have experience with my kids, and well they hate it, if I write a name on the board in red they freak out. They rather love it when I write my name down in red. They laugh and point, 'teacher is die'. They also practice this chant with whomever's name I write on the board. Writing your name, or any name for that matter, in red means that they are dead, OR that you want them to die.

I did some quick research and found out that it stems all the way back to antiquity, when red was the colour used to write the names of the deceased on tombstones, and town plaques. I wasn't able to find out any info on why writing in red means you want them to die, but oh well.. Either or, I don't get it, I really don't. Red is just a colour, although colours have huge connotations (ie pink for girls, blue for boys) and I figure it's a debate I'm bound to lose.

I should simply attempt to cash in on the belief. I should inform my kids that the red stigma also applies to candy, especially red M&M's, and that all red candy on down! (why shouldn't red candy get the price is right treatment? Smarties treats the red ones differently.. wait.. I wonder if Smarties are in on this conspiracy theory) Interestingly enough a huge tourist keepsake from Korea is a stamp of your name written in Korean. Well guess what colour ink pad they hand out with this stamp is? you got it RED. There are stories in Chinese culture that only the emperor could use red ink, perhaps that's why the stamps are divvied out with red pads. The conspiracy theorist in me would like to believe it's a covert operation run by Asian governments to eliminate travelers. Most likely the vendor just gets a laugh as he sees weiguks gleefully run away stamping their names in red.

Myth #2 Sleeping with a fan on, means you'll get your dead on.

I briefly heard about fan death just after I arrived in Korea. However using a fan at sub zero temperatures doesn't make sense, and was put aside due to irrelevance. Since the weather has started to cause perpetual sweating, fan chat has blown its way back into conversation, this time for good reason. Fan Death is about as simple as it sounds, well the idea is straight forward anyway. If you sleep while you leave a fan on, you will die, cease to exist, or meet your maker. That is pretty straightforward and is genuinely accepted amongst Koreans. That is the only part of the myth that most Koreans can agree on, what they can't agree on is why. They simply believe that you will expire. Now this seems to be TOTALLY outrages, and I assure you that I feel the same, it's crazy. Yet Koreans freak out similarly to writing their name in red. This is a country that believes this phenomenon.

Fans in Korea are sold with timers on them. It is considered a main selling feature. I'd have to believe that if there was a batch of fans whose timers failed, you'd have a hundred or so Korean families left feeding flies.

My kids and I worked on some riddles the other day and an interesting one came up. 'a man committed suicide in a room by hanging himself. Another man came into the room and found him in the hanging in the middle of an empty room. There was a puddle underneath the man, and he was hanging a metre off the ground' The solution: He was standing on a block of ice. They could do a Korean version of the same riddle, any Korean would understand the riddle, and any foriegner would be truly puzzled. Let's use the same situation 'A man commits suicide in a room, there is nothing in the room besides a 6 speed oscillating fan, that was running as another man entered the room. The deceased is curled in fetal position in the middle of the floor. The fan is against a wall. The man does not have any cuts on his entire body, how did he die?' solution: the man used the fan to kill himself, but how? what did the fan do?

There are several streams of thought on the issue, Wikipedia even has a great page attempting to explain several of them (please..please...please read the article). My personal favourite: that the fan blades chop up the oxygen molecules leaving you none to breath. Other explanations: the fans create a vortex and steal all the oxygen in the room causing you to asphyxiate. The most plausible cause of fan death, is that the fan will suck the moisture out of your body, It will also lower your body temperature enough to induce hypothermia, causing death. This explanation has even garnered support from the Korean Government advising people NOT to sleep with fans, because of fear of hypothermia. The country is obsessed with this myth, yet again I find myself entering into an unwinnable debate.

Yet again, I really don't get it.. I honestly don't get either Myth. Yet they are perfect examples that you believe what you are taught. At a young age all my kids have been repeatedly told about these two myths. It's almost beaten into their subconscious. When my kids see me write names with that red pen they FREAK out, they cringe, their body's physically repel. I've talked to some of my kids about fans and their reaction is similar, in all ways shapes and forms. It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. I can accept that, although I thought they were talking about diplomacy, I guess not. It is said that fans can steal our precious bodily fluids. I can't accept that, I thought it was the communists that wanted to steal them (Dr. Strangelove reference), I guess not, I'm just confused...

July 01, 2010

...and you and i will be singing it (Dae-Han min gook)... just like a wavin flag (pt. IV)

In an effort to circumvent the ‘sitting’ that occurred during Korea’s last group match. It was decided that we should arrive earlier to their game last Saturday. I supported this idea. The weather was not looking up, in fact the weather was supposed to be similar to my first game at city hall, rainy and crappy. This time I came more prepared. Instead of having an umbrella that the tiny Korean’s would have to look through, I bought a poncho. I thought it was a great idea..

I’d like to think that my great ideas didn’t stop there. I also bought a Korean flag to wear as a cape. I was able to achieve several things with this cape. First, I was wearing white, not red, so I was able to support Korea better. Second, I was able to relive some of my childhood memories. I remember running around the front lawn at my first house back in Ontario with towels tied around my neck. I would run and dive pretending to be superman, or some other superhero. I’d say I was mostly superman, but sometimes my mom didn’t give me a blue towel (I really hated the days with the pink towel).

Anywho, we arrived at city hall quite early. We were sitting to start (acceptable I thought, it was like 4 hours before kickoff) then closer to game time more and more people joined in, and sat. I was starting to get scared that people would attempt to sit their way through the game. About an hour before the game started it started to rain. These were giant raindrops! They were the kind of raindrops that got people on their feet! People were standing as we got pelted with rain. I couldn’t have been more happy. I had my poncho, I was content.

Rain was still steadily falling as the game started, and my worst fear was realized. People started to sit. The crowd was falling down like dominoes, whole sections of the crowd slipped onto the soggy wet ground. Fletcher and I watched in horror as the void crept towards us. We decided not to sit, no matter what, we would not sit.

Soon enough, all the people around us had their asses firmly planted on the marshy ground. I was pretty pissed, and they were pissed at me. I was getting jabbed behind the knees, and people were tugging at my poncho. I could hear people yelling at me to sit down (some instructions yelled in Korean, some in English, some just swear words). I remained steadfast, and watched the game, standing. Fletcher had a Korean friend with her that was quite nervous, and he looked the part. He wanted to sit; he wanted to join the rest of the Koreans in the mud. We told him not to give in. We had created a small island of rebels. Fletcher and I were the glue keeping that island afloat.

Even if I had wanted to sit, I was unable to. I had some Koreans sitting on my feet in front of me, and Koreans right against my knees behind me. I realize I’m skinny but there was NO way I would have been able to squeeze into that spot. I think I adopted that excuse to reassure me in my fight to stand up.

During the second half reinforcements arrived. Our friend Gillian decided to join us. She didn’t believe that we had stood for the whole first half (oh the Koreans were behind 1-0 after the first half, in case you were wondering about soccer). Gillian stood with us for the second half, she was yelling at people to keep with us and to stand. Our island was down to five, we were the only ones standing in the giant section. There were numerous pictures taken of us. I would really love to see some of them. I’m sure they are hilarious.

The Koreans made one hell of a game of it. They eventually fell 2-1 to Uruguay, but fought hard. We were however, able to celebrate one last goal. People jumped and hugged, and jumped and screamed before they returned to their wet seats. It was a moment where it didn’t matter if you were Korean or weiguk, standing or sitting, you would hug or be hugged, you would jump and perhaps scream.

You may think that I’m a horrible person for blocking the view of some Koreans. You might be right, I have no true rebuttal. Although I can say it was one moment in Korea where I refused to allow their cultural norms to supersede my own. I feel that games that big, and with that much on the line, you owe it to the team to stand and cheer. I know they can’t hear you, nor will it have any influence on the end result, but where is your national pride? I wasn’t going to allow my adopted pride to sit in the mud while it rained.