Saturday, June 18, 2016

-the familiarity of the unfamiliar.

a free concert at the lake
I mentioned on facebook the other day, that my sweet husband had a thought as we were walking toward Suseong Lake after a delicious dinner, that it seemed as though we were walking in a foreign country, then he realized "We ARE walking in a foreign (to us) country." That may seem like an odd realization for an American living in South Korea, but I completely understood his sentiment. While there are MANY things that are new and that we don't understand (every street sign we see). This place has become our home and there are many things that have quickly become familiar. We have learned the bus schedule between posts, we have familiar paths to places we go regularly, we understand the subway system, and have favorite snacks, drinks, and shops. There are certain businesses that we see wherever we go, like "Angels-in-us Coffee", some form of market on every street, "Paris Baguette", and chicken restaurants on every block.

There are places that remind us of home as well (even if the menu doesn't)

Yup the Golden Arches are nearby, except I don't think that I've ever seen a shrimp burger on the menu before.

I'd rather see a Krispy Kreme..

I doubt the big gulp is as big as in the US

But, of course, in the land of coffee shops (often multiple on one block)
Starbucks is going to have a presence.

Of course each of these places have a local spin, like macaroons instead of Lemon pound cake at the Starbucks, but it's a nice touch of the familiar in a world where every outing is an adventure. We're starting to develop some favorite Korean foods like Bulgogi, KimBap, Japchae, and of course the many varieties of ice cream treats that you can pick up at the corner markets for less than 1000 won.

We have also begun navigating the Korean medical system. As we establish follow up care for Keilah. Her next appointment wasn't due until September, but since I don't know how long things take, and it seems new doctors want more involvement than "ok, nice to meet you, I'll see you in a year". I went ahead and jumped on getting referrals. Which happened quickly. There are three hospitals in Daegu that accept TriCare, we had visited one, but our doctor referred us to another based on her patients past experiences. Each of these hospitals have an International Health Service Center. This center provides English speakers to help with your medical care. In our case, the Health center called us when they received the referral and made our appointment. We were told to arrive early, and when we couldn't quite find their office, they walked to meet us. The individual from the office helped us with our paperwork and then went with us through every step of the appointment. She interacted with all the office staff and then explained what would be happening next and making all follow up appointments as well as scheduling tests. In our case, after we met the doctor he ordered a PET scan and the regular blood work (which actually seemed like more than she's had before, as they took several tubes this time).
Koreans understand customer service-Full coverage hospital PJ's and slippers
instead of the American style no-coverage gown.

Interesting thing about bloodwork, instead of checking in and then being taken to a room, all the attendants are seated at a long counter, and you sit in the waiting area facing them, in what is basically a wide hallway. You go up to the counter, confirm your information, and give your blood while sitting across from them, much like when sitting for a manicure. It was quite efficient and it turns out Korean children don't like giving blood any more than some American kids. One poor child had to be held by 3 attendants to get his necessary work.  When we returned two days later for the PET our same attendant met us and escorted us to the area and helped explain each step. Since it's a two hour procedure, she didn't wait for the whole thing, and then the front desk called her when we were done, so that she could explain that we were now free to go, and gave us the appointment for getting results-dependent on another referral. This was the one part that confused me and required a trip to the Tri-care liaison. While we would get a referral state side that was good for either multiple visits or 1 year, in order to make sure that our PCM is getting up to date information on their patients care the specialist reports to the PCM and requests an additional referral with explanation of the need. They also send all tests/results in ENGLISH so that they can be scanned into your permanent record that will travel back with us to the states. Once I understood that purpose, I appreciated the extra step. And fortunately it required nothing from us. 

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