Monday, November 28, 2005

fun fact

As of Sunday, November 27, Alex and I have eaten the Korean delicacy of pig intestines twice. . . and that would be two times too many. Let me give you this detail, it's texture is a bit furry. Chew on that.

Friday, November 25, 2005



From l-r: Justin, 23 lb. turkey, Ross, Ross' beer

thanks for the pics Mom & Dad.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

no trophies

I haven't the energy today to write a long, tell-all post. Forgive me.

For those who have not heard (Alex's family), we never made it to the National Tournament last weekend. En route to Seoul our bus driver decided to take a nap, so did not see the cabbage truck he was about to ram. BAM! Cabbage everywhere.

No one was seriously injured, not even Alex. Busted teeth and contusions were the worst injuries. That's the long and short of it. I hope Mom and Dad (Martin) do not read this while on their cruise. If they do . . .

  • We're fine. Go back to the lounge chair and drink a margarita for us.

Love you all. Peace.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

in stitches

I know what you're thinking. It's been a long time since . . . Alex needed medical attention. It was that very topic that gave the following course of events a sense of whimsy that can only come from a storyteller discovering their story had come true.

It began a couple of days ago when Alex and I decided to take the night off of kumdo. He was worried about my left ankle and knees, all of which had begun to feel the trauma of training 7 days a week for almost three months. I was developing a mean case of shin splints, and my ankle liked to swell and look pretty frightening. My strained ankle, battered left shoulder, and patchwork of bruises led Alex to make the following fateful comment:

"Do you realize it's been almost a year since I've had any type of injury."

The moment the words tripped off his lips, we both put our heads down to stare at our walking feet. We both knew without saying, but Alex realized his mistake out loud first. "I just jinxed myself." Had we known how quickly fate can pick a pocket, we would never speak the ironies in our head, or gleen enjoyment from watching children run into fences on their bikes. We both passed off the sudden dread as silly and irrational, and though I cannot speak for Alex, a worry burrowed into the back of my head to the chorus of a reverberating phrase - "well, shit".

Two days later, we would laugh again, but only after the bleeding stopped. Class began with several of our teammates being absent. Because of this fact, the team was shuffled up, and some of us were not working with our normal partners. When I say some of us, I mean Alex. He was assigned to Moon Suk, an alternate who had just learned the form over the past two weeks. Moon Suk competes primarily in cutting, and has become accustomed to using an uncompromising amount of force to accomplish the task of slicing through sturdy bamboo. Alex is not bamboo.

Our first run-through of the form we did at a slow pace and one move at a time. This way we could all be sure to that we have the form committed to memory. When I say we could all be sure, I mean Moon Suk. The final series of movements in the form are a well choreographed and timed set of strikes and blocks. There is a great deal of movement that has led my partner to lose balance and deliver a square blow to my left shoulder. Those of us that are non-natives, Alex and I, assumed that we would continue the last series on a step by step basis, however, at the moment we began my partner whisper-yelled, "FAST!" Somewhere in all the concentration and coaching, our higher belt had forgotten that some of us are not fluent in korean despite the uniforms.

As you can probably guess, this is the point where shit went pretty wrong between Alex and Moon Suk. It was three steps into the final series when Alex, still going step by step, realized that Moon Suk was not. Alex reacted by trying to block the oncoming hit, Moon Suk did not react and swung away. When the rest of us had finished, I looked over to see alex with his hand over his eye, and Jae Oon ushering him toward the bathrooms. Being the inquisitive type, I looked for blood on the ground. That's exactly what I found.

Nothing out of the suspected ordinary happened next. The men, fearful that I would be angry, tried to keep Alex away from me while Alex kept saying, "Let me tell Audrey". I walked toward Alex, noticing that he was standing on his own and was looking at me with two eyes. Can't be that bad, I reasoned. "I'm going to the hospital. I need stitches, I think." Tell me something i don't know. I saw the blood on the ground.

cotton is no match
night before stitches

This led to our introduction to the wonders of the Korean medical establishment (tainted by our nervousness coming from the horrible mess that is the American medical establishment). The doctors in the emergency room refused to stitch Alex up that night, because there was no plastic surgeon available. Now, when we hear plastic surgeon, what we really hear is the wind ripping through the empty expanse of what used to be a savings account. Alex quickly asked if there was anything the equivalent to duct tape or chewing gum to put him back together, and everyone insisted that he could see the surgeon the next morning.

The following morning we met Master Lee. He took us to the surgeon where, without an appointment, Alex waited 30 minutes and was stitched up fifteen minutes later. The following is the pricing breakdown:
  • Emergency Room: $20.00
  • Plastic Surgeon: $20.00
  • Pharmacy (Painkillers, etc.): $1.50
  • Follow-up Appointments: $3.00

The government in Korea, on average, covers about 60%-65% of all medical costs (with employment). Not to mention, a great many of their doctors are educated in the U.S. For more information on the constantly evolving medical coverage in South Korea visit The Korea Herald.

That's the story. Alex didn't lose an eye, and managed to meet his quota for hosptial visits before the alotted time had elapsed.