Korea is still gripped by fear of the Middle Eastern Respiratory Disease (MERS). The number of people sporting preventative face masks is increasing every day. The disease features prominently in most conversations. A major Dongtan elementary school has even confirmed that it will not re-open this week, and wait another week for the quarantine to take effect. Kris and I have largely been shutting ourselves up in our apartment, out of a combination of introverted nature and a desire to remain healthy. We have, however, ventured out into the world three times this weekend so far, and each time has been an enjoyable experience.
The first was last night, where we went to our favourite local chocolatier for hot chocolate, dessert, and great conversation. It was more wonderful than we’d expected. We ended up spending the majority of our time there with the permanently-cheery owner of the store and get boyfriend, taking turns playing songs on ukuleles. There were pop hits, old classics, Korean favourites, and constant smiles from all involved. And then after we’d left, we still had amazing chocolate to devour. Most worthy time spent outside of our small apartment.
The other two times were both today, and involved spending time with our coworkers, something we have done far too seldom for the quality of their company. First, Kris and I spent over an hour throwing a frisbee with some of them. I was surprised by how well they could throw! And as always, it fascinates me how much a small, flat piece of plastic can entertain for extended periods of time. Once again, frisbee united people in the experience of simply throwing to each other.
Finally, I spent most of my evening tonight with another coworker and his girlfriend, nerding out over Hearthstone. A more subdued time than our other two, but a heartening couple of hours. I have played more of the game than them, but I saw the same glimmer of love for the game in their eyes as I get on my good days. It’s a pity we can’t play against each other, as our accounts are on different servers, but sharing our war stories made me feel that warm fuzzy feeling one gets when you share your views about something you love.
While the majority of the country is in tizz about a disease that is remarkably hard to catch, us teachers are hoping that the hysteria carries on just long enough to get another week or two off. In the meantime, we will keep our balance of introversion and seeing the outside world, and make the most of our surprise holiday break.