Ruby Ramblings

May 25, 2009, 4:07 am
Filed under: South Korea Quarantine, Travel

Just to answer a few questions and make a few clarifications:

When I mentioned that blood was drawn, that was during our training period for the mandatory medical exam, not as part of the quarantine.

They sprayed all our rooms, hallways, bathrooms, with chemicals today. Although they said the chemicals may cause coughing, which is the main symptom they are looking for when deciding to put people in individual quarantine.

The staff has been really helpful with getting us food that appeals to our western taste, providing hot water for tea, and bottled water. We’re really comfortable (well, except maybe the smokers).

Kimchi Ice Cream to answer one of the questions on your blog, there has been very little face mask protocol. They are having a hard time just getting people to wear them, never mind following things like washing before taking them on or off. We’ve all had the same face masks on for days (although there are some others available somewhere). Some people really want to get sick so that they can go the hospital and just get the whole proces over with, some people really don’t think they will/can get sick, mostly people are in a good/positive mood and I just don’t think there is a huge sense of urgency.

I think the point was not so much to isolate us from each other, unless someone gets really sick, but to keep us isolated from the general public. We had already had so much interaction with each other it would be pretty irrelevant. The one thing I am confused about is why none of the staff of the training center, or the trainers that were the classrooms with us were required to come here. There is speculation that they were trusted with monitering their own home quarantine. (We just got word that all the adminstrators, trainors, and other people that came in contact are under house quarantine.)

Although two people have tried to get out (not seriously to run away, but as a joke), one was on accident. Apparenlty one young man went out to sneak a smoke, and the door to the fire escape locked behind him. He then tried to scale the side of the building to get back in a window, and then fell through what he thought was a roof top of a smaller building, but was actually just a canvas tarp. He was taken to the hospital for minor scraps and bumps, but then brought back here. There is a rumor that the nurse at the hospital touched his open arm wound with her bare hand.

They just informed us that they are bringing our text books so that we can prepare for our classes for when we get out of here. I guess that means they probably aren’t going to deport us?

I would also like to clarify that everything I post on here is my opinion and observation and not that of the group. There may be people with very different perspectives from mine. I had started blogging about this to keep my family informed, but it seems to have drawn a bit more attention, and is in no way meant to be taken as factual news. Most of what we are experiencing here is heresay and rumor anyway. Especially given that we have been informed that it is Korean culture to keep patients out of the loop until absolutly necessary.

6 Comments so far
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I’m with The Korea Herald, can you please e-mail me if you are willing to be interviewed for a story. Thanks. Matt.

Comment by Matt

I am shaking my head in disbelief while at the same time believing everything you write because it just reaffirms everything I’ve seen during my 4.5 years in Korea . . .

Please keep writing. Anyone with half a brain knows this is not a NEWS blog. That being said, it’s the only source of real time factual news that any foreign teacher is going to get about how quarantines are being run.

The totally messed up thing about all of this is that other quarantines, if, and WHEN they happen, will likely be completely different (and hopefully not worse) as there never seems to be any uniformity of action and procedure when it comes to how the government treats and deals with foreign teachers . . .

Stay well, and be safe.

Comment by Jason

Oh, by the way, be very careful about interviews with Korean news media–the story you tell may not be the story that is published. Also, other Korean news media will do selective picking of things you say and then spin them in the Korean language media along the xenophobic lines usually spun about foreigners . ..

Comment by Jason

Thanks Jason, I figured as much about the media. We’ve been asked not to talk to them, but it’s not really my style anway. Do you think I should be afraid of them taking things I post here and spinning them? Please let me know if there is anything you think I should take out for the safety of the folks here that I may have overlooked.

Plenty of time to write is one thing I do have!

Comment by therubycanary

Well . . . I kind of doubt the Korean language news media are going to find your blog until one of the Korean English news media links it/writes about it–IF they even do that . . . hard to say, but at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if the Korea Times and/or Korean Herald try to sensationalize the situation . . . and then somehow a Korean language news media person makes a call in Korean, finds out just enough to make their own sensationalized story and things are already two times removed from the source and are being used for whatever the agenda is of the news source at that time . . .

All this being said, I think as long as no one is named, and details are kept to a required minimum . . . well, I can’t say.

I often write using innuendo, irony, satire, and metaphor to avoid being pinned to the wall for anything . . . of an ‘interesting’ nature (wink wink, nudge nudge). Native English teachers can decode the meanings . . . just watch out for literal interpretations of irony and satire . . . those things completely escape your average Korean English reader.

Comment by Jason

I just deleted the last post I wrote.

It is not my intention to incite a panic. I just think that all too often foreign teachers don’t have access to info that we need. All too often there are expats who know things that need to be shared so that others can avoid the pitfalls and blind spots of life in Korea. I think the stories you’re writing are needed.

Please keep writing.

I will check from now on with you about anything I link to and write about your blog first via email.

My email is,

Take care,

Comment by Jason

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