Tuesday, 23 November 2004

Being A Spastic

I'm feeling good today.

I've been feeling good for the last few days, but each day has got better. This is in stark contrast to the last few weeks where I've been feeling anything but good. In fact, last week was possibly my worst week in Korea to date.

It was burn out. I'm on holiday and am feeling supremely relaxed and back to the Nev we know and love. I'm recharging after a period of being completely drained. Not just physically tired, which I can take, but completely drained and devoid of thought or inspiration. Don't worry, it was never a big problem because I knew I just needed a holiday, but up until my holiday started I'd become like an automaton, like a shell. I wasn't looking forward to anything, and was poor company forced to go out socially.

It peaked the weekend before last. That was when I went to Geoje-do (a pretty island off the south coast) with Suk-jeong and her friends. There were about 12 friends in all, but none spoke anything but patchy English. On the Saturday night we stayed at a large hotel, the 12 of us renting out one large room to share. That night was quite fun, as we sat round, ate food, drank soju, and laughed and chatted. I wasn't on great form and my Korean was dreadful, but after some drinks it didn't really matter.

But the Sunday was hell. It started with waking on the floor, nauseus and with a pounding headache. Bodies were all around me. I struggled to my feet and found a seat as the bodies awoke. The nausea and headache subsided a little, but left behind a spastic of a man. For that day (and hopefully that day only), I was a complete spastic.

I had nothing. Nothing in me at all. Not a word to say, in English or Korean. I felt mentally dead, and all I wanted to do for the entire day was to go home. But I was with three carloads of Koreans, all very lovely people, and an alternative day was planned.

We started with a drive to a rocky beach. This drive took us along scenic roads that twisted and turned, and had there been any life in me I would have revelled in the marvellous view of sea and mountains. But the only thing in me was my breakfast, and not for much longer. As nausea crept up inside me, and my stomach slowly climbed to my mouth, my thoughts became focussed only on not spraying the car with my morning's digestions. This I mercifully managed, but only just. The car came to a halt, and I managed to fight my way ou of the car before vomitting in front of my Korean friends.

I felt better after that, physically. But mentally I was as spastic as ever. It was horrible actually, really horrible. Not only had I forgotten all the Korean I knew, but I'd forgotten how to make any conversation anyway.

So the day took us to some lovely scenes, a couple of rocky beaches, and an interesting POW camp/museum but it all washed through me. We got back to Daegu at 11pm and I collapsed at home a pathetic wreck. All last week at work I was a shell, just going through the motions.

I'd just been overdoing it. Monday to Friday is dominated by work, and slowly has been draining me. Plus, I'm studying Korean hard each morning for a couple of hours. My apartment is next to a very busy, loud road so I never get any peace. And it all caught up with me. The last few weekend I was perpetually tired and never particularly keen to meet people socially as it just drained me more.

But the solution was my holiday, which I was eagerly looking forward to and which I'm very much enjoying. On Saturday I locked myself in my room and spent the entire day cleaning, naked. My room is now spotless. I think it is the first time in my life I've spent a full 24 hours naked.

On Sunday I met with the Gin Girls, then met with Matt and Rebecca and went to Busan. We stayed in a love motel, which are always rather luxurious, if slightly seedy. This one had a vending machine with vibrators. As always, the rooms come with complementary condoms and tissues by the bedside. But they always have massive widescreen TVs, a DVD player and a computer with internet, and are spacious and comfortable. We went out to eat at an Indian restaurant, which was divine. Indian food, Western style, which I've not tasted in over a year. Expensive but none of us cared.

Yesterday I returned to Daegu and had coffee in the afternoon, relaxed, then met Maebh and Eileen in the evening. I've not seen them in a while. We ate shabu-shabu (or something) which was delicious. I was back to good form too, and we regaled one another with amusing stories and interesting chat.

Today I've been feeling especially relaxed. I had a leisurely morning before going downtown to drink coffee. Later I'm meeting Jamaleh for a meal. She's the attractive American, but ethnically Korean an adopted at birth, who is also Bahai (a religion). She doesn't drink however, so I suppose I'll have to drop the Rohypnol in her tea.

The next few days will continue leisurely, then on Friday is my birthday. It's back to work on Monday but I've only a month left after that before finishing my contract.

It's good to feel human again.

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