Friday, August 1, 2014

Korea

Two of my friends got engaged in March. They decided to have their wedding in June at the university where I studied abroad. My husband and I realized that we could go! I would be returning to Korea for the first time in five years!

Clearly Alive in downtown Pohang.
During my semester abroad in Korea in 2009, I struggled greatly. Looking back, I realize that most of the struggles were due to less than ideal treatment for my Primary Adrenal Insufficiency. My dose was too low.

Fighting!
Cortisol greatly effects my emotional response. Too little cortisol causes me to be a crying mess with uncontrollable anxiety. I am honestly not quite sure how I survived that semester, but I do know that I learned many lessons through those experiences. When I returned stateside, I ended up in the ER three times in less than a year. I would prefer to not end up in the ER when I return from Malaysia in just a few weeks.

The door to the bathroom at the guest house in Seoul.
Note the special bathroom shoes.
For the first night of our week in Korea, we stayed in a more traditional guest house in Seoul. I wanted my husband to experience a bit of Korean culture like the rules with shoes. Wear your shoes here, BUT NOT HERE. By the way, the bathroom has special shoes. And those special shoes will be too small for your American feet.

Korean BBQ. Mmmm. Machiso.
I loved being able to show my husband some of the places that I remembered from five years ago. It was interesting for me to walk back down the same streets and recall how much my anxiety had controlled me and colored every experience. I am much healthier now.

Visiting Jukdo Market.
Now, there were some hiccups with this trip. We got lost trying to find our hotel in Pohang. That city has changed a lot in the past five years. I also accidentally ate barley mixed with rice for one meal. I was knocked out for about five hours. If I ever doubted my gluten intolerance, that proved that I very much need to be gluten free.

Shaved ice and berries. Gluten free and amazing.
Additionally, we took the wrong bus when we left Pohang. There are two types of buses that travel between cities and we meant to take the express bus. We still ended up back in Seoul, but it added about three hours onto our overall commute. I did not realize the full extent of how taxing all of the traveling and the emotional stress was on my body. It set the stage for my next adventure at the KL International Airport.

My dear friend is now married!
PS- Totally rocking my medical alert bracelet in this picture.

2 comments:

  1. That photo of the shaved ice and berries looks so delicious! And wow... those small doorways! I guess Nathan wouldn't do too well in Korea. (He's 6'3" ;))

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    Replies
    1. The saved ice was SO GOOD! I am going to have to hunt for that type of dessert back in the States.

      And yup, he would have some struggles. Or at least a few bumps on his head.

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