Saturday, March 12, 2011

My first Saturday in Bucheon

So today was the dreaded health check. I wasn’t supposed to eat breakfast, but I was starving so I brought some crackers that I had so I could eat them after. I stopped in the convenience store in my building to get an orange juice too. I then caught a taxi about a block away and showed the driver the piece of paper I had with the hospital name and address on it. He said something to me and all I got out of it was hospital so I said ‘ney’, which is yes in Korean and now one of the few words I know. The ride was pretty quick and only cost $2800 Won (about $2.80 USD). I got out and went inside. I just kept showing this paper I had with information on it until I found where I was supposed to be. I went into this room with different stations and was so nervous. I handed the information to the people at the desk and they were able to say basic important information in English like passport and money. They then gave me a cup to pee in and I thought I had escaped the blood test, but I wasn’t so lucky.

After the peeing in a cup they took my blood and when I stood up I thought I was going to pass out and they sensed it and got me a chair. I sat there for a good 5 minutes and they were able to ask me if I was alright in English which was nice. They certainly seemed very concerned for me. I drank the orange juice and ate the crackers that I brought which definitely helped. Then I got up and moved to the next station where they checked my height and weight and then my hearing and vision and then blood pressure. After that I wasn’t done…now they did a chest x-ray and then I spoke with the doctor for a bit. She just asked about diabetes and tuberculosis and if I took medications and things like that. Not in full sentences which was a little difficult and who knows if she even got the answers she needed. After that I brought the paper back to the front desk and I thought I was finished but then the lady had me follow her. She took me upstairs and I asked if I was finished but she said one more thing and showed me the paper with teeth labeled on it so I said, “oh, teeth” and she said yes. The dentist spoke the best English of everyone I encountered at the hospital, but he only said 2 sentences to me: “Good morning, Sarah” and “couldn’t be better” when he finished looking. After that the lady took me back downstairs and I was ready to go.

There were taxis waiting outside so I took it back to my apartment. I then went upstairs to see Heather and steal some internet with her since there are unlocked wifi connections near her room, but not near mine.

Bucheon by day.

After I went out to explore a little and get something to eat. I was going to go into a restaurant, but I just didn’t feel comfortable going by myself yet. Not knowing the in language is really putting a damper on what I can eat, but I’ll survive. I passed by the Diceo again and they have all their things outside so I decided to buy a frying pan and a wok type pan and maybe try and make something myself. Well, really? Who am I kidding? I don’t cook in the US so when I can’t read the labels on the food here I don’t think I’ll be cooking much. But, anyway, I went back to the grocery section of Home Plus to buy something to eat. They have a food court area which had a lot of stir fry looking dishes that looked really good and I debated just going up and pointing to one, but I wasn’t in the mood to be THAT foreigner.

Unfortunately, I had to settle for the Ramen aisle. I thought this would be easy and I could pick up some chicken flavor Ramen, but, wrong again! They literally have every single kind of Ramen imaginable. I picked out one kind that said vegetable on it in English and got that and another one that looked like it had some vegetables in it. I also found packaged rice noodle package that had a spicy sauce so I got that too. I went home and was waiting by the elevator when a girl came up to me and asked if I was a teacher. I told her yes and we started talking. She was so nice and lives in my building 2 floors up from me. Her name is Anna and she’s from Illinois and said if I needed anything to stop by. So, it’s nice that I now know another foreigner near me! I went upstairs and made the rice noodle dish in my new wok and had that for dinner. It tasted pretty good and was really simple. After that I was pretty tired from waking up early so I took a nap.

More Bucheon at night.

I woke up around 8pm to my doorbell ringing. I picked up the intercom and the 2 Korean girls standing outside said they were looking for Jennifer, who is the girl that used to live in my apartment. I said, “no, this is Sarah” and asked them to wait a minute. When I opened the door they said they knew Jennifer through her friend Mark. I figured since they knew 1 of the only people I know here they must be safe. I think I was being much too trusting, but I lived. They were actually Jehovah’s witnesses and gave me some pamphlet. I decided since they woke me up I should use them for their knowledge and asked where I could find a PC room or a coffee shop with wifi. They didn’t really know but they were nice about it and tried pulling it up on their smart phones. So, mind you these maps they pulled up were in Korean and I can barely read a map in English. They asked if they could just take me there. Why I agreed I have no idea but they were really nice and I figured we knew the same person. They basically just drove me around the corner and said that we were at a PC room and told me how to get back home to my apartment.

People just walk around and drop flyers on the ground for you to pick up if you want.

So, I walked into this PC room and there were computers all around and a few men were in there playing video games and smoking. It was so smoky and one of the guys said something to me in Korean so I just walked out and hoped that I could find a coffee shop. Bucheon seems like an outdoor carnival. There are just games everywhere. I tried playing that claw game where you get stuffed animals, but no luck with winning that. I’m now currently in the Koryo Hotel’s business center using their internet. Hopefully they don’t kick me out for overstaying my welcome.

Street games.

Koryo Hotel Bucheon

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