Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Boom Boom Okay with Me

It's the quest for legality that never ends.

Today it landed me in the Daegu Red Cross hospital for the final round of things that are supposed to mark me as a legal resident in this fine country that plays my home. Today I needed to get a drug test, an hiv test, and apparently a full physical. The drug test was mostly just looking for marijuana, and the HIV test is apparent. This is all part of the new visa regulations that have been passed for foreigners not married to Koreans. Trust me, every day I wonder more and more about marrying a Korean.

So with the new regulations I have to go do the Red Cross hospital. It all started out harmless enough, I walked in armed with letters in Korean to help facilitate the process. What I did not expect was to be handed a sheaf of papers that was more than half an inch thick, all in Korean for me to fill out. Right.

I speak a fair amount of Korean, I admit. I even read Korean pretty well. But there is a difference between reading a menu and figuring out hospital Korean terminology on the fly. The person in charge of processing the waygooks took me over to a large counter that I had failed to notice when I walked in. There stood a nice young man who looked entirely lost and a Korean gentleman. The nurse talked quickly to the Korean while I looked the nice young man up and down. I wasn't paying any attention to what was going on.

"You been here long?"

"About a week so far."

"Here for the health check?"


"And they sent you here all by yourself?"

"No, I'm with him."

I finally realize that the Korean gent who has been hovering in the background might actually mean something.

"Hi, hi, I'm John. Right. Okay, I help you."

I said "Thanks, that's great." I thought, fuck!

Fuck. Sometimes it is actually much better to be on your own in Korea with a limited ability in language and a desire to get things done. It's easier to accomplish because you don't have to be reasonable all the time. It has it's drawbacks as well as you don't always understand everything that is going on. But I usually manage to muddle things out in a way that works to everyone's benefit.

My new found Korean friend and translator starts taking me through the basics as I chat up the new teacher who has only recently arrived, and from Michigan no less. We talk about the city as I filter in the background John John telling me to write me name and my phone number.

He flips over to the next page, a short page, but full of questions in Korean. John John starts translating for me…

"Do you ever feel…uh…you need to buy..now. No think, you just…you walking and you see and you buy/"

"Uh?" I'm wondering what this has to do with my physical health, but okay.

"Um, no, I don't think so."

"You ever sleep and then feel sleep again?"

"Nope, not usually tired without good reason."

"You ever have, uh, problem with ddong?" In Korean "ddong" pretty much translates to poop, slightly more polite than shit, but you get the idea.


"No, it's fast, like KTX?" KTX is the Korean high speed train.

"Um. It's not usually a problem."

"You're head feel crazy?"

I try not to laugh at this one. The surreal moments in my life, all the things I do on a day to day basis. Does my head feel crazy?

"Nope. Right as something not crazy."

"Right, okay. Uh, you pain, you know."

"Pain I know?"

"Pain you know?" He starts point to his stomach. The nice Mr. Michigan offers "liver?"

"Yeah, yeah," says John John. "How's your liver?" I think 'don't want to know.'

"Perfect health."

"Yeah, okay. Uh…"

The questions continue with such dandies as "you get sad no good" and "you sometimes eat when hungry" and also "you wakeup everyday?"

At this point both I and Mr. Michigan are rapt to find out what will come next on this bizarre question and answer form but suddenly John John's at a loss for words.

"Yes?" I offer helpful.



"Uh, you sex?" He blushes a bit, ear to ear, Mr. Michigan looks away choking down a laugh and turning just a slight shade of red. I turn a full on stare at John John which is quite rude in Korea. I'm very good at talking to people without making eye contact, a gift I've acquired from six years in Korea. However that last one caught my attention enough to really bore into poor John.

"Do you..sex…you know…like sex."

"Is she a virgin?" offers Mr. Michagan being helpful. I start choking on that one.

"No…no…but all the time not so much… but you like sex right?" He looks back at me. I try to puzzle out how to correctly answer this one without coming off as a nympho. I mean, come on people, it's sex. I get cranky when I have to go more three hours and I'm pretty sure that is not normal for the general population but that particular answer is probably not appropriate to the question.

"You know, you boyfriend, boom boom, sex?"

Boom Boom.

"Sex jo-ah. Kinchaniyo." I answer him in Korean, suddenly at a loss to explain 'sex good' in English.

"Yeah, okay, when?" Somehow this is a conversation I do not feel like having at ten in the morning in the middle of a hospital in Korea where I am being forced to produce blood and pee in a cup to keep my job.

"Right now?" I ask.

John John nearly chokes on his tongue and Mr. Michigan has the good sense to start chuckling while I smile a big broad 'girl who likes sex' smile.

"Yeah, okay," says John John. I watch as he circles numbers on the form. For most of the questions I score a one, which apparently means I'm not a sociopath obsessive compulsive liver damaged nympho.

As long as I end up legal at the end of the day what's the harm of a few little white lies?


John said...

I don't envy that moment, Sara. Cringing at the thought, and here I was thinking of shooting for a position in China with our company.

Least he didn't try to get you to elaborate further on boom boom.

Saradevil said...

Well, he later did try to get me to elaborate further on boom boom, but I was not feeling much in the mood for any real boom at that particular moment.