Sunday, 23 August 2009

Welcome to EPIK! (Part 2)

[Apparently a few hours later…]

My shining knight rushed into our dorm room and uncurled me from my fetal position. I had exhausted all of my strength distracting myself on his Nintendo DS and felt much more comfortable with my hands around my knees. Medicine! Finally! What a blessing in disguise…those white and yellow-black pills didn’t look too appealing at first, but within an hour, I was able to hobble around with wall- and bed-supports (and Ken’s bulging biceps).

Unable to go to the ‘Hanok Village – Keumsan Temple’ field trip, I fell asleep to Ken’s loud clamor and utter amazement at one rice-popping-cracker-patty machine he saw at Hanok Village. That’s all I can remember of that night…”Jess…look at this machine!” (me – “Oh cool!...uh huh….mm hmm…zzz…). Both the village and temple, two ‘must-sees’,  look beautiful (from what I have seen in Ken’s photos and videos).

The lectures the following day were once again positively marvelous, as the experienced English teachers gave us their all, informing and entertaining us bumbling novices. Being referred to as ‘Ken’s Sick Girlfriend’ also kept me in a light, cheery mood :).

On the last night of the orientation, all EPIK teachers were treated to Korean traditional music and dance (which is indubitably something to see…fast drumming and head-spinning for over 1/2 an hour straight!), and a feast (actually a feast) in an insanely large, glistening perma-tent was prepared for us (if only I had a bottomless stomach!).


The next morning, Ken and I gathered our things and headed out for the buses departing to the Gyeongbuk province. Our destination – Andeok (we were both a little worried…we couldn’t find the town on Google maps!). The Gyeongbuk crew loaded everyone’s luggage fittingly (like Tetris pieces) into the one luggage truck, and we made sure to squeeze the breath out of Polly and J.L. (our EPIK group leaders) in our hugs. Saying goodbye-but-not-farewell to the many teachers we befriended, we boarded our three-hour bus ride to Gyeongsangbuk-do.

I have to say, housing all 500 of us teachers, feeding our voracious bellies, and gathering such a fine group of down-to-earth native English speakers for 10 days, is wholly something to be applauded. Adieu EPIK, adieu! ‘Til we meet again!

- Jess


  1. the concern for swine was completely legitimate, you are coming from Canada, which, despite us not really realizing it, is one of the most affected countries, Swine Flu-wise. That nurse should've isolated you and gotten a doc in asap, especially at a conference full of potentially infected weh-gooks.

  2. So glad that you got better and can enjoy this adventure now!
    Please don't get sick anymore...

  3. Yes Jimmy, you are absolutely right.

    The nurses' concern was legitimate, but she did exactly what she was trained to do. Jess actually WAS in isolation for several days, with frequent symptom checks while under observation. The problem is, the ONLY swine-flu-type symptom that she had was the high temperature. And this can be indicative of huge range of medical issues. Since it was her only symptom, the nurse did exactly what she was trained to do. Take vitals, and if they worsened, send her to the hospital. I mentioned in my "Meds for Jess" entry that she was "not qualified to administer the proper healthcare needed,” but I didn't mean for this to be said in a negative way at all.

    All of the EPIK staff, including her, was absolutely fantastic in every way possible, but being sent to the hospital was not an easy task. The biggest problem was that we didn't have our ARC's (Alien Registration Cards) yet. As result, we couldn't get Health Insurance (and our trip insurance no longer applied). If it came down to it, we would've been able to fight our way through the red tape, but it was to be saved as an absolute last resort.

    I didn't go into any details in my blog entry about this for a simple reason. The blog is intended to be a personal recollection of the "adventures" we go through during our time here in Korea. It's not a series of articles. Jess and I decided to leave out the boring details and use our strengths (Jess' "vibrant" writing style, and my "colourful" videos) to make our entries interesting, unique, and fun.

    Thanks for your concern Jimmy, but don't worry, I'm taking good care of her :)

  4. Oh and my reply was to try and kill a few birds with one stone by addressing some topics (swine flu, EPIK staff, and blog style) that have come up...

    Thanks for staying in touch! We love hearing from you!

    - Ken

  5. Christine(Jess's mom)7 October 2009 at 12:21

    Crying crying! Oh, my baby.. You and Jimmy never call your mom when you guys are sick.. Jessica! you got to be a strong lady, then you can help Ken when he needs you, right? Thanks again, Ken