Friday, February 1, 2013

The Flu

It was after a long and fun day of travel and skiing that disaster struck. Well, not disaster. But it did seem like bad news bears when I woke up at about four in the morning just about ready to hurl. I was nauseous for most of the night and made several trips to the bathroom to empty out everything I'd eaten that day, including that delicious Domino's pizza that my friends and I got to celebrate our skiing success. Fortunately, I neither woke up my roommates nor passed on whatever bug I had to them.

Ammy, Anna, and Katelyn, the snowboarding triplets.
But the next morning, which was supposed to begin day two of my ski trip, I still felt weak and slightly nauseous, and I wasn't sure if I'd be up to ski. I guess what pushed me into strapping into my boots was the thought of not making use of the lift ticket I'd already bought, the notion of sunk cost notwithstanding. In the end, I did do a few runs in the morning, and I even took two lifts up to the peak of Deogyusan, where the view was quite beautiful. But I only lasted for a few hours before I gave up, had a bowl of white rice for lunch, and then went over to the resort's 찜질방 to try to restore myself before the day was over.

It was very relaxing in the jjimjilbang, but I didn't stay for long before Anna and Katelyn came to find me and helped me snag a bus ride back to Seoul. I'm really thankful for how they and Ammy took care of me that morning, making me drink a lot of water and letting me take it easy. They thought it was kind of funny because I was fatigued, sensitive to light, and just generally out of it; to any outsider it would have seemed like I was just hungover (NB: I've never been hungover, but now I guess I know what it feels like...).

Skiing at night at Deogyusan, on fresh corduroy (the night before I got sick).
It took several hours to bus back to Seoul, and it was 9pm by the time I reached my hostel. I was feeling better -- less nauseous -- after having rested, but it had been a really, really long day, and I was still ready to pass out as soon as I checked in. Instead, though, I hung out in the common room of the hostel (I've stayed at the Hongdae Guesthouse 2.0: Yellow Submarine several times, and I'm friendly with their staff).

So... I got the flu. It was not fun being sick while abroad, while traveling while abroad, and while trying to enjoy myself. The residual symptoms actually lasted for about a week, following me across the ocean to Taiwan. But do you know what's nice about being sick while on vacation? You can do anything and everything you want or need to take care of yourself. I'm reminded of Katie, a friend of mine from college, who once told me that when one is sick, healing immediately becomes the highest priority and all other things (i.e. studying) must be put aside. I argued that work was more important... and for that reason, I often stayed sick for a long time. But now that I'm out of school (and also on paid vacation... that helps), I have time to let my body rest as much as it needs. This is a good thing.

Next up: One short day in the Emerald Special City with new friends from France, and then two weeks in Taiwan!

A personal update: Happy February! I'm based in Seoul for the duration of this month, taking Korean classes and chilling with friends. If you're around, let me know and we'll find good food to eat together!

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