Monday, February 14, 2011

An Unexpected V-Day Adventure

Valentine’s Day was different this year.  Of course there’s the obvious; we live in Korea.  But the oddness of today reached far further than that.

I awoke early to a sprinkle of snow and kept my fingers crossed that school would be cancelled.  The to-do list for our fast approaching trip hadn’t gotten much shorter over the weekend and I spent most of Saturday night sick with food poisoning (or something equally unpleasant).  Sleep and errands on a Monday sounded fabulous to me.  Not wanting to get my hopes up too high for a day off, I got my morning work-out in.  More snow.  I chatted with a friend from home.  It snowed harder.  Just as I got in the shower to begrudgingly start getting ready for work, Ryan got the call.  Kindergarten morning classes were off (yay!) but we’d have to wait to hear about elementary afternoon classes. 

Ryan got some to-do's out of the way and I caught up on email responses from hotels for our first few days in Vietnam.  We got the second call.  Afternoon classes were off!  With the help of our supervisor, Ryan got some information on which local hospital would have the vaccinations we needed for our upcoming trip.  After mapping out the bus route we were off.  If only it were that simple. 
the view from our balcony

What was a light blanket of snow in our neighborhood, proved to be a full on blizzard as we got closer to the hospital.  When we realized the bus wasn’t making the turn up the hill and towards our destination, we got off.  A howling wind whipped our umbrellas around us. 

With no taxis in sight, we asked for help calling a service.  No luck.  We were pointed back towards the bus stop.  After getting on the bus again, the driver informed us that buses weren’t making the trip up the hill.  We’d need to walk.  This was easier said than done.  We didn’t know exactly where we were going, and with the mix of heavy wind and snow it was hard to see too far in front of us.  With the help of a frustrated taxi driver (who refused to take us where we needed to go) and a group of police, we made it.  Then the real fun began.

After what seemed like a complete tour of the hospital we found the place we needed to be.  We were ushered around to multiple rooms and asked questions we couldn’t understand.  We were led around some more.  We were asked to wait.  We paid for the shots.  We got the shots.  Then we made the costly mistake of asking for a record of the vaccines we’d received.  The lone nurse who spoke a little English was clearly frustrated we didn’t ask for this before.  We were asked to wait again.  It was beginning to get dark and we weren’t looking forward to our trek home in the snow, but we waited.  An hour.  Finally the paperwork was presented, as was the news that we needed to pay for the records.  We struggled to understand the reasoning of a snappy doctor who argued every point we made.  No one told us we’d need to pay, we don’t need a certified copy, we’ve waited an hour!

After much haggling (and no records) we found ourselves on the street with sore arms, befuddled and freezing.  No buses.  No taxis.  Until finally, there was one!

Thank goodness for a welcoming host and delicious dinner at Green Spoon.

Happy (bizarrely hectic) Valentine’s Day honey!  I love you (and our crazy adventures) today more than ever.

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