By Aaron Falzerano
I’m trying to read the Korean instructions on this medicine…10 days, three times a day? 27th of March? Sick in Seoul! Free from work for the day, it’s been a time to contemplate, rest, and drink as much water as possible. Also, a time to take a three hour trip to the doctor and pharmacy. SINCE I work at a Hagwon, it is required that I get a doctor’s note in order to get paid for my sick day. Going to the doctor was the most stressful part of my day, and all she did was recommend some meds, and tell me to go rest.
Being sick is a time to do nothing. In fact, many believe that this is the reason our body gets sick: so it can stop having to do work. In Mexico, they call it Susto, a mysterious illness that occurs when the stress of labor becomes desperately mundane and someone falls ill, waiting to be nursed back to health. Admittedly, I’m fascinated by healing. I once stared at someone who was unconscious on the ground at a concert, and just like that they hopped up and were fine. It was delightful to think that maybe there’s a little bit of magic to it all.
Of course, magic is best ingested, and food plays a big part in health and healing. Last night I stopped for samgyetang on my way home from work…a full baby chicken stuffed with rice and garlic cooked in a hot broth with ginseng root. It felt good, powerful. Later, bored, I called a Korean friend to ask for more suggestions, and she told me to eat some bonjuk. How perfect does it get?: Hot rice porridge full of fresh chicken and Chinese herbs. There was even a nice Korean woman working at the restaurant who was my substitute mom for half an hour. I coasted through this illness full of chicken and liquid, arriving chapped but happy on the other side.
Being sick is also a time to enjoy the wonders of revival. Getting better is a state of mind. The science of healing is half unexplained, and no one understands that better than East Asia. Poor health needs positive energy, no stress, the return of our lives back to our bodies, where they began. We let our thoughts die down and nature comes in, setting everything right again. As some proverb must say, we are like stones getting smooth in the water.