Sick in Korea

In the last 1.5 days, I picked up some kind of sore throat and cough. At home, if I was sick, I’d stay home from work for a day, rest and then return to work.

But in Korea, most people, don’t have that luxury. Me, for example. I have 6 hours of sick time every 12 months. And there’s no substitute teachers so most teachers just keep teaching when we’re sick. In the rare case when someone doesn’t teach, the other teachers have to cover the additional classes.

Students keep coming to class when they’re sick too. There doesn’t seem to be the same concept that we usually express so compassionately as, “Why did you come in? You’re so sick, you’re getting us all sick! Go home!”

In Korea, most workers need a doctor’s note that they were sick. So, if they go to the doctor, they usually go and get a vitamin drip…an intravenous (IV) injection of some combination of vitamins or nutrients?!? Antibiotics and other nearly recreational drugs are often also part of the remedy. Then, they usually return straight back to work.

Also, my students think it’s funny that we would eat chicken soup when we’re sick. Since I haven’t seen anything like Campbell’s chicken noodle soup in the local supermarkets, today I had Korean spicy seaweed ramen. Ooh, that was actually delicious and was just what I wanted (for 1000 won, or $1).

That and citron tea. The tea looks like a jar of lemon jam with lots of lemon peel slices in it. You put a spoonful or two in hot water and stir. It’s kinda like that lemon & honey or lemon & brandy remedy.

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