Friday, May 31, 2013

Rocketman is Finally Going to Get Surgery

Rocketman had a few days where the pain from the kidney stone ranged from mild to pretty bad but with the urologist at Ajou University Hospital telling us that there was nothing he could do, we took it day by day. He had an appointment with the urologist on May 2nd but on the evening of May 1st, the pain took a turn to the unbearable. I tried to get Rocketman to go to the hospital but he chose to wait it out until his appointment the next morning. 

He spent the night in horrible pain topped off with dry heaves from the Korean medication that did nothing for the pain but made him very sick. I was pretty upset with him by morning for his reluctance to go back to the hospital. We made our way to the International Clinic where they would take us to his urology appointment. By this time he could barely walk and could not sit. He wanted to wait for his 9:00 am appointment but at that moment, I made the decision to get him into the Emergency Room and get this fixed once and for all (meaning surgery).

Sunny, who was from the International Clinic and she had helped us with everything that had occurred up to that point, immediately called for wheelchair so we could get Rocketman into the Emergency Room which was in another building. Once there, it took over an hour just to get him some pain medication and that was with me bugging nurses and interns. Sunny told us that the urologist would come and see us as soon as he could.

He came hours and hours later and finally agreed to do surgery. Then it was a few hour wait for a room. He finally got into the room about 5:00 pm that night and the surgery would be the next morning.
While we were waiting for his room to become available, we saw a group of people with pens and pads also talking on their cellphones.  We also saw security personnel and I thought some VIP was coming in.
It turned out that these were reporters for all the major Korean television stations and they were there because there had been an explosion at a Samsung Plant and that three people were injured and being brought to Ajou University Hospital. Rocketman and I were just shocked that they would let the press into an Emergency Room. They were really in the way of all the staff and it was disgusting. The injured turned out to not have life threatening injuries.
In Korea, before an intravenous antibiotic is given they do a skin test. It's very similar to a TB test where they inject a little antibiotic under the skin (hurts like crazy according to Rocketman) and then they come back in about 15 minutes to see if there is a reaction. If not, the IV is started.
They had a very hard time finding hospital clothes that fit Rocketman. It didn't fit great but it worked. This is Rocketman finally in his room and getting settled in. Surgery was finally going to happen. He was exhausted but happy to think that the agony would soon be over ... or so we thought.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Baek Seong Min - Master of 수묵화 (Korean Ink Brush Painting)

Nan-Young, my chilbo (enameling) teacher takes sumukhwa (Korean ink brush painting) lessons from  Korean Master, Baek Seong-Min.  I have met him several times over the years but I had yet to buy his book and have it autographed by him. This became one of the top things I wanted to do on our vacation and Nan-Young made it happen. He graciously came to autograph his book for me and even brought me a gift.
He brought me a set of postcards containing prints of some of his paintings. To say I was over the moon is to put it mildly.

He also brought a packet of paintings showing what he was working on at the moment. Metal Guy,  Nan-Young and, of course, me, went through the paintings which were all of horses. There were well over 100 paintings. He said that he had been contacted by Hollywood to make some paintings for a movie.  He has already done that for many Asian movies.
                                                             Here are a couple.
                                             Even my Body Guard came over to join the fun.
Baek Seong-Min and me with my autographed book. The page was completely blank and he sat down and did a quick drawing along with the autographed.

                                                        This is the cover of his book.
                                                    It contains many of his paintings.
 I knew I just had to buy one for Rocketman.  He sold me this one for 300,000 WON ($260.00 USD).
He threw in this deer painting for free. I was happy I had brought enough money along. He is truly a Master and I felt so honored that he took time to come and see me. I also made a video of him adding some color to the horse painting. It was all black when I chose it but he wanted to add some color so he used Nan-Young's paints to do his magic.
The second video is Baek Seong Min autographing my book. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Food and Chilbo or is it Chilbo and Food?

One of my favorite pictures of Nan-Young, my chilbo teacher and sister-friend and me. We were on our way back from our field trip.
                                       I also took a photo of her shoes. She is so talented!

 We stopped for lunch on the way back at a little hole-in-the-wall place. I rarely have a bad meal especially in South Korea but this one was pretty bad.
                                     But the banchan (side dishes) were pretty good.
And they had the worst bathroom by far of any I had ever used in all of my three years of living in South Korea. This is what I saw when I walked in.
                  We did have some pretty fantastic meals in Vomit Alley by Suwon Station.

This restaurant is one of our favorites. It's hard to find if you don't know where it is. It's in Paldalmun and it's in the basement so you need to know which side street it's on.
But they have the best kimchi jeongol which is stew with not only kimchi but mandu (dumplings). It's very, very spicy but oh so good.
                                                                 Great side dishes too.
 Curt was feeling pretty good so we went for something to drink near the chilbo shop. I love this coffee shop where you will see a lot of bojagi (Korean quilting) in the window.
They also had some maedeup. I love how Korean coffee shops reflect the owner's taste. No cookie cutter coffee shops here although you will find chains like Starbucks.
Rocketman ordered crysanthamum tea and it came like this. She graciously showed us how it worked. He loved it. I ordered a fancy coffee.
                                        Little did we know what tomorrow would bring.
Metal Guy had also made Rocketman a silver tie. Doesn't he look great in his new North Face jacket?
                                It's a piece he designed and was made out of sterling silver.
                                  He also designed this turtle which was perfect for chilbo.
                                          Here it is after I finished adding the enamel.
He also designed these hearts and I made a pendant and earrings. Nan-Young takes lessons from an Asian brush painting master and I had ordered his book which came in to Nan-Young's. I wanted him to stop by and autograph it for me. He came and you won't believe how amazing that visit was. I'll blog about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Anseong, South Korea

Nan-Young wanted to do a road trip with us and I made sure that we would not go far. She assured me that it was only a half hour away (which in Korean means an hour). We went to this artistic retreat center in Anseong, South Korea.  It was myself, Rocketman, Nan-Young, another chilbo student of Nan-Young's, with Metal Guy providing the transportation. The brochure she had made it look like a really cool place.
 When we got there it seemed like it wasn't open. We didn't see anyone as we began to walk around.
                                                           It was very beautiful.
Then we saw all these umbrellas lined up outside one of the buildings.  When we peeked in, we saw a huge room full of Korean children.
We went into several buildings where we found all sorts of crafts. This is a photo of some handmade candles.
                                                            And some broken hearts.
                                                                        Clay flowers.
                                               The kids went from building to building.
                                So many things to see and we photographed a lot of it.

                                        Rocketman got to try out his new camera and some of his lenses.
                                             It was really a nice place to get away from city life.
 Metal Guy even found a giant swing. This is how I've seen so many swings in South Korea. Not like in the U.S. where you sit on the swing. These are designed for standing.
                                                Here are some of Rocketman's photos.

The ride back ended up taking a very long time. First, Metal Guy somehow got lost and we went out of the way and then traffic stopped. It was too early for rush hour and we finally came across this mess on the highway. Rocketman was pretty exhausted by the time we got to the Dormy but it was good that he was able to get out and about for a little trip.
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