A Night of Panic in the Land of the Morning Calm

“Can I buy ye a green beer, or perhaps dance a jig with you on the dance floor, lovely lady?” asked a man dressed from head to toe in green.

“No thanks,” I politely responded.

“Oh, come on, darlin’,” the man continued in hist best Irish accent.

I looked into his bloodshot eyes. “It’s just us girls tonight,” I said.

He stared back at me, drool seeping from the sides of his mouth, sweat dripping down his overgrown sideburns–his feet planted into the ground.

I was disgusted. This was the third time I’d had this conversation in the past hour; someone had spilt whisky and Coke onto my dry-clean-only dress; and I was getting dirty looks from the girls across the bar wearing jeans and giant green beads.

So much for the highly anticipated “single and fabulous” night out I’d planned.

A week earlier, forgetting all about St. Patrick’s Day, I had sent a Facebook message to a handful of girlfriends, inviting them to a night of tapas and martinis, to help my sister mend her newly broken heart. “While some might see this breakup as a negative, I think we should see it as a celebration–an opportunity to experience new and different things–a chance to grab life by the balls,” I had written. The note ended with a reminder: “Dresses and lipstick required.” And a declaration, “Here’s to being single and fabulous!”

So here we were, in our frocks and pantyhose, surrounded by drunken, overgrown leprechauns–pink lipstick stains on our beer mugs.

It was time to leave.

“I’m gonna catch us a cab,” I told everyone. “We need to go somewhere fancy…somewhere fabulous!”

In a hurry to turn the night around, I left the bar and ran across the street to catch a cab. Determined to beat the couple heading for the same taxi, I did my best to sprint in 4-inch heels.

But I didn’t make it.

A few feet away from the cab, I lied face-down on the asphalt, crowded by people, blood streaming from my nose.


“You got hit by autobike,” said the doctor in broken English. “Remember?”

“No, not really,” I muttered, trying to make sense of where I was, what had happened.

My sister came running to my hospital bed, tears flooding her face. She stood over me, too afraid to touch any part of my body. Her eyes were red, face full of worry. No more fancy lipstick.

“Everyone’s here, and your roommates are on their way,” she said. “Are you ok? I love you so much. I’m so sorry this happened. I just love you so much.”

She stood by me through the night, making sure I was ok–holding my hand as I walked to the bathroom, offering to wipe after I peed. My roommates and girlfriends fell asleep on the cold plastic chairs in the lobby.

This was definitely not the night I had in mind for my baby sister.

“Breakups are so hard,” I had told Carley a few days before. “I’m so sorry you have to go through this. Just know you’re not alone…I’m always here for you.”


It’s been a week since my accident, and Carley’s called and emailed me every day. She’s come over to cook me dinner; she’s done my dishes; she’s fed me medicine. She’s been my support system in a country 8,000 miles away from home.

Yesterday when we were watching movies, I asked her how she was doing with the breakup. “I don’t even want to talk about that, Jen,” she said. “The only thing I care about is that you’re okay.” Her blue-green eyes were filled with tears.

As I looked at her I thought, Carley didn’t need a night out to remind her to grab life by the balls. She’s a warrior.

And she made me believe that I’m one too.

4 thoughts on “A Night of Panic in the Land of the Morning Calm”

  1. Yikes, sorry to hear what happened to you. =(

    You know, just like every true blood Korean, I want every foreigner to like their experience in Korea. Obviously, your accident doesn’t add to the positives….

    How do you like Korean healthcare?

  2. Oh my god, I’ve heard horror stories of people getting hit by motorbikes but its always something that happens to a friend of a friend. I hope everything is okay and that this hasn’t spoiled your desire to experience life overseas. You really are a trooper, to put it mildly. If theres anything I can do, let me know, even though you seem to have a good support system.

    -Emily Everhart

  3. I am a little behind on the posts, but I’m literally in class, (while my fellow students are doing presentations,lol) reading this in the last row in the corner and crying. I love you guys! I’m so glad you have eachother over there!

  4. Thanks for the comments 🙂 Joseph, compared to what I had back home, I love Korean healthcare!! Now in the process of sending my bills to the police….hoping I can get them paid for, since they never caught the guy who hit me 🙁

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