expat life

Suck it up, waygook!

One thing that happens, no matter who you are, no matter what new country you decide to live in or how many vitamins you take, is that you are going to get sick in your new home. And in the first months of settling in, as you’re exposed to a slew of germs your body has never experienced, you’re going to be ill for weeks. Anyone who says they moved to China or Korea or Germany and didn’t almost immediately get the cold to end all colds is either a liar or a robot or—worst of all—a lying robot.

I’m sick. Again.

I’ve been fairly lucky by this point, only getting sick maybe once every other month after surviving that initial three week cold when I moved to Seoul. But this time I have strep throat, and I can’t really mess around with that.

Typically what I would do in the USA is head to the doctors or—if it was a Sunday—the small clinic in a grocery store down the street. If it was an excruciating pain, I’d head to the hospital, but as an American I need to be either in need of an amputation or have suddenly grown gills to go to a bonafide hospital. (Yeah, I didn’t have health insurance back home. One of the perks of unemployment.)

Then, if I was unable to move my sweaty, feverish body, I’d skip class or call in sick to work. In terms of work I’ve only done that four times in my life, and once was when I had such a high fever that I started talking to a loaf of bread. (Again, from strep.)

Things are a little different in Korea.