Archive for August, 2011

In the run up to this weekend I really didn’t know what I was going to do with myself; my boyfriend was going to be in meetings out of town, and my three besties were off on a sailing weekend that I’d decided not to go on.  Two days and three nights of not seeing any of them, I wondered if I’d be crawling up the walls and dying to go back to work on Monday just to see people.  It turns out though to have been a great weekend, of doing just what I needed….which was not a lot!

It turned out I wasn’t on my own on Friday.  Poor Juliens in a bad way with his back so spent most of Friday evening being poked and prodded in the hospital, so after work I packed up my running kit ready for Saturday morning and headed over to his house.  We chatted a bit over some fried chicken before exhausted he took himself to bed.  Eating one last bit of chicken I felt a crunch, “that can’t be right” I thought, it was meant to be boneless.  I spat out the tiniest bit of chicken bone, but still something didn’t seem right.  I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror at my mouth.  SHIT – where did part of my wisdom tooth just go?!  There was no pain, but there was definitely part of my tooth missing.  Its not like its a bit that I need, its been mostly hiding under my gum for the last ten years or so having never fully emerged, but still the loss of it meant I finally needed to bite the bullet and go to the dentist; something I think I’ve been avoiding ever since I had a traumatic experience having my other wisdom tooth removed.

I spent the night tossing and turning, I’m not sure if it was knowing that I wanted to be up early to get out running before it got too hot, or if it was the thought of going to the dentist.  I actually thought about not going running and heading straight for the dentist, but then decided that if he did pull the tooth out I probably wouldn’t be running for a few days.  My tooth didn’t feel like it was going anywhere so I figured it wouldn’t really make a difference if I didn’t get to a dentist until the afternoon.

The weather in Gwangju suddenly changed about a week and a half ago, gone was the intense humidity of summer, suddenly it was blissfully cool.  With this in mind I thought that as long as I was running by 8am I’d be done the 24km run that I needed to do before there was any real heat in the air – how wrong I was!  The first couple of kms were great, but I could see the sun coming out and already it was starting to heat up.  By 4km the sky was blue and I was dreading the rest of the run, by 6km I was sweating more than I thought it was possible to and focusing on each bridge ahead for the second of shade that each offered.  By 8km I’d stopped sweating and knew I couldn’t carry on!  I headed off the river path and into the closest  7 Eleven for a huge bottle of water.  After a couple of swigs I took the bottle back down to the river with me, where in an attempt to cool down, I proceeded to empty half of it over me (much to the bewilderment,  if the double take I got was anything to go by, of the little old Ajumma who cycled past.  I did a double take of her too though, she had stabilizers on her bike, it was so cute!).  Having drank most of the other half I decided that I should carry on, as long as I covered the distance, even if I only walked, it had to be better than nothing.  So, carry on I did, what should have been a two and a quarter-two and a half hour run turned into a three and a half hour run/walk in the blistering sunshine.  By the time I got home I had a decidedly pink and prickly sunburn on my shoulders and lower legs.

After a cold shower, to take the heat out of the sun burn, and a quick lunch, there was no putting it off any longer – I had to go and find a dentist.  There’s one that advertises in the local ex-pat magazine every month, and it said he speaks English, I figured that was my best bet.  I walked into his practice already full of nerves, and they weren’t really helped by what I saw, I dont know what it was exactly that bothered me, maybe just that it looked really old and dated.  In my mind it was too late to back out, I was through the door and besides, I didn’t know where else to go.  As soon as the dentist came out to meet me though I started to relax.  I’m not sure if he just likes to speak English and is always really chatty, or if he picked up on my nerves and was trying to put me at ease, what ever it was, it worked.  Before I’d made it into the chair we’d talked about how long I’d been in Korea, how I found out about him, where I’m from, where I went to school, what I studied, where I work, what I like to do in my spare time, who my boyfriend was, where he worked, and what he studied, only after all of this did he ask if I’d gone with a specific problem! 

After looking at my tooth and asking “does this hurt?” while whacking it several times with a force that rattled my head, no it didn’t, he wanted to do an x-ray.  As he waited for the x-ray he asked if I wanted the tooth removed, before I went I just assumed this is what he would do so was a little surprised by the question.  I said I’d do what ever he thought was best, and was really happy when he said that since there was no pain he could just restore it – I loved that description, “restore it”, so much nicer than “fill it”.  He set to work at giving me a temporary filling, starting off by saying, with his hands in my mouth, that I had to be a man and not scream if it hurt, I was only allowed to use sign language, his delivery was awesome, I couldn’t stop laughing!  He then spent the whole time chatting away, cracking jokes, and singing “Don’t worry, Be happy”……..I’ve never met such a great dentist!  I just hope hes still as lovely when he does the proper “restoration”, and does a full clean in the morning!!

 I’m not sure if it was the disturbed nights sleep, the 24km in the sun, or the release of tension and stress at having been to the dentist and it being ok, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open when I got home in the late afternoon.  I spent the rest of the day curled up on the sofa watching movies and sleeping, before having an early night…..I don’t remember the last time I did that!

Sunday morning, and most of the afternoon, was spent in much the same relaxed state as Saturday afternoon, relaxing in the house, reading, cooking, chilling out.  I finally emerged at half four to take my bike out across town to meet the running club.  It should have been a fairly straight forward 10km ride, but I think my map was wrong….or at least thats my excuse and I’m sticking to it!!  Lots of wrong turns later I finally got to the meeting point after they had set off for the run.  I thought about doing a couple of laps of the reservoir while I waited for them to get back, but then decided that the 70km I’ve ran in the last 7 days was enough, and that it was OK to just sit and wait and enjoy the scenery!

I love the random Koreans that will sometimes come and talk to you if you’re sitting still for long enough.  First there was an old guy who wanted a bit of random chat, and then there was a lovely older lady.  She started by looking at my bike, and moving the handle bars around a bit, and asking the usual questions.  Then she told me that she was part of a cycling club that meet on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and invited me to join them!  As the running guys all started to get back and we were getting ready to head off for dinner the lady started asking how I was going to get home, and was really worried about me cycling back in the dark; she told me I should head back while it was still a bit light because Korean drivers were not good, and it wouldn’t be safe for me to ride in the dark.  I assured her that I could go all of the way home on the pavements and that seemed to make her feel a bit better –  I thought it was really sweet though, a complete stranger being so concerned.

By that point all of the runners were back and we headed off to a restaurant, my second new restaurant this week (the first being an amazing Vietnamese style place with the girls mid-week).  It was another great place, a vegetarian eat as much as you like buffet of deliciousness, that combined a mixture of Korean and western style dishes.  Its a good job I had to cycle home, it meant I limited myself to some soup and a small plate of food, I think if I wasn’t riding home I would have gone a bit crazy!

The ride home was lovely, dark and cool.  I think I’m the most relaxed and rested I’ve been for quite a while, I even resisted the urge to pick up some wine on my way home…..my halo may choke me!!

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