Seoul, Korea: Let’s Try That Again

Seoul, Korea: Let’s Try That Again

May 08

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Clark and I call it a “do-over”. Can I have one please?

Last night at dinner, I told him that I had spent some time thinking about Seoul, and that I even wrote about it. {The following is why I love and loathe marriage}. He said, “I know. I read it.” And I could tell that look on his face and the sound of his tone that what he was really saying was, “You can do better than that.” And he’s right. My hearing test results in Korean would have been a more riveting read, and I knew it when I hit “Publish”. I applied myself to the facts, but I did not tap into the emotion of what really happened six years ago today. The truth is, I love our ongoing conversation here, but sometimes I feel this unspoken pressure to tie a pretty bow on a thought or a subject in 800 words or less, and Heaven-forbid there aren’t any pictures! There are two problems with this:

1. I am a woman and therefore I can’t order at the drive-thru in 800 words or less.

2. I am thirty-two years old, and much like my two-year-old, I still only like to look at the pictures.

So, forgive me for underestimating you.

I spent a few quiet moments this morning thinking about what would have happened if I had sailed through the event in Korea and on to Manila, Hong Kong, and Tokyo as was originally planned. Most people cross the Pacific and end up with indigestion. I end up going deaf. I would be attaching 6-inch ribbon curls on the situation if I said that I didn’t feel utterly cheated out of the opportunity of a lifetime. Who knows if one like that will ever come knocking again. But before my chronic optimism flares up and I start digging the pearl out of a lousy situation a-gain, can I keep it human for 300 words, please?

Let’s start with the fears…

Prior to my Asian excursion, there were three of them to be exact {with a myriad of bloodsucking fears attached to those fears}. Normal people fear things like death, terrorists, or taxes. I was filled with an array of irrational fears before I ever even stepped foot on that airplane. I guess you could say, I was paralyzed before I ever went deaf. For those of you that knew me then, why, I ask you, didn’t you have me committed?

Where was I? Oh yes, the Big Three.

Fear #1. Losing my voice
It couldn’t have been an abscess tooth or an ingrown toenail. But it had to be my hearing, right? The tinnitus that came with the hearing loss sounded like a fax machine going off inside my head at. all. times. {Pause for a listen… Yep. Still faxing.} I am so used to it now, but back then, it was the end of my music-loving world as I knew it. You don’t have to be a music major to know that the ability to hear is sort of a prerequisite for the production of vocal music or any music for that matter. Singing was my passion, my career, and I’m sorry to admit, more of my identity than it should have been. What am I if not a singer? How do I qualify my own existence if I don’t make music? Those were the questions that kept me up at night before Seoul. It turns out that living in the fear of not being able to sing anymore or having an a-musical and therefore “unqualified” existence {or so I thought} was worse than the 5% likelihood of medical recovery I had after Seoul. In other words, I am living proof that there is life after deafness.

There I go snipping it by the yard… moving on.

Fear #2. Medications, additives, and pretty much chemicals of any kind {I told you these fears were irrational.}
It was during the Organic Boom when the use of preservatives, dyes, or artificial ingredients of any kind in foods and household products were considered a fate worse than death. If I couldn’t pronounce the ingredient or if it ended in -ates or –ites, it did not enter our home. One time, I bought some all-natural peppermint body soap. I could hear Clark from the back of the house yelling from the shower, “Babe, I am willing to try all of this natural stuff you buy us, but my whole body feels like an Altoid right now!” That’s when I knew I may be taking the whole chemical-free thing a bit too far.

WARNING! WARNING! We are now exceeding 800 words. Are you still tracking with me?

My chemi-phobia extended to medications, both prescriptions and over-the-counter. I would not so much as take Tylenol for a case of cramps. Therefore, when upon admittance into a Korean hospital I was pumped full of pills {12-14 in a single does} and injected with steroids, you can imagine my panic. Due to the language barrier, I couldn’t even ask the nurse what each drug was called much less the inevitable side effects. And yet, I survived without going blind or experiencing any unwanted hair growth. Again, proof that there is life after acetaminophen.

Fear #3. Clark leaving me
Most couples don’t see a therapist before they are married. We weren’t even engaged when I dragged Clark to my counselor’s office because I thought he needed to have his head examined for wanting to marry me. I tried letting him off the hook a thousand different ways {including Altoid soap}. After every failed attempt, he would look me in the eye and say, “I am not going anywhere”. But surely now that I blew our career and cost us our entire month’s earnings not to mention future income and I am laid up on my side drooling while the Korean ENT is injecting steroid through my eardrum, surely that would be the precise moment when Clark says, “This is not what I signed up for”. I half expected for him to tell me he had to run out for yet some more sushi and then skip town. He had the ultimate head start at that point as I was not even medically cleared for air-travel. But instead, he stroked my hair and read me Psalms and lied to me and said that he thought drool was sexy. He didn’t lose patience with me after 12 days of sleeping in the same twin bed, and he let me choose what to watch on television {even though the only English-speaking TV channel was the Armed Forces Network}. We had been married for more than a year, but for the first time, I actually started to believe him that he wasn’t going anywhere. I think he would agree that those two weeks did more for our marriage than dating, engagement, and our honeymoon combined. Now, eight years later, we like to reminisce as if to say, “We’ll always have Seoul”.

Today, on this six-year-anniversary of the Survival of the Big Three, I am walking hand-in-hand with my baby girl down our neighborhood street. While, my son is dragging Woody by the boot just 20-feet ahead of us, and both of them are whining because they are too hot, thirsty, tired, wah wah wah, I would like to take this opportunity to say that there are two certainties in this world of which I am living proof:

1. You will survive.

2. I’m not going anywhere.

… wait for it… waaiittt for it!

big bowIt was killing me, and I just couldn’t help it. How’s that for tying a bow on it?

{Image via Delphine Chanet. Click the source and then you can say, “Irony”.}

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Salina Beasley