Let me be honest I am not a person of routine. I can only stick to a routine if I am so busy I have no other choice. If you hear me say my daily routine know that it is a lie. One that I’m telling myself as much as you. All of this is why when my routine fell apart, I should have never been surprised, but it wasn’t just my lack of discipline that caused this to happen. It was the stress of being quarantined alone for 14 days in a foreign country. Everyone, well, everyone who took covid seriously, I should say, can relate to the toll isolation has on you both mentally and physically.
Isolation is no new struggle for me as 31 year old perpetualy single person. I have lived alone on and off over the past 12 years. I still feel lonely even now, connecting with others through zoom calls and constantly chatting over messenger with friends, family, and other quarantined teachers. Take it from me, someone who has dealt with living alone for years. Physical, social connections face to face are essential, and no amount of zoom calls can change that, especially after a year of not being able to rely on the tools that help ease loneliness. I no longer go to bars and coffee shops to read and talk to people or take a day trip to get away and explore when the feeling of loneliness was too much. Covid had left me without suitable coping mechanisms for my loneliness.
It didn’t help that I was hungry all the time. Being constantly hungry got to me. Somewhere towards the end of that first week in quarantine, I realized I was eating 1000 calories or less a day and went to bed every night, feeling my stomach growling in pain. I cried one night.
So I broke and started to eat some of the food in my lunch boxes to see if they were safe. I could have died.
I didn’t say that to be dramatic. I mean every word of it. I have severe life-threatening food allergies. These allergies cause my throat and whole body to swell, making me look like a balloon animal while forcing me to take off all my clothes since it hurts to have anything touch my skin, including the carpet under my feet as I run to the bathroom. With the pain comes the itching and the hours over the toilet dry, having and shitting everything in my body out. As my reaction is at its worst, you can hear me wheeze as I breathe in and out between my gasp of pain as I curl up in the fetal position hoping the pain in my stomach will subside. As I said, I don’t say this to be dramatic. The fact that I could die by eating something is just a fact.
Before I just dug into the meal boxes delivered to my door, I did a taste test of my food and wait 10-15 min to see if I had an allergic reaction. I had done this in the past when I have gone to a new restaurant and let me tell you it’s not foolproof. Plus, this time, it’s different. I couldn’t ask what was in the dish or have the chef leave an ingredient out. I had to rely on smelling and tasting in hopes that I made a good choice. (Please do not follow in my not a Doctor steps if you have food allergies. This method could kill you).
You may ask why risk it. Why did I decide to risk my life? I was a low place. I knew that part of the reason why my mood went from happily productive to dreading getting out of bed and walking five feet to my desk was that I was hungry, too hungry. Food nourishes you physically and emotionally. It is essential, sensual, and luxurious all at the same time. I had underestimated how much I needed to eat. I had to be kind to myself and make some extraordinarily dumb but successful eating decisions to help me get through the next week of quarantine. (I’m still astounded that I didn’t have to use my Epi-pen).
Another thing that aided in the downfall of my routine was that getting bottles of water to drink was like pulling teeth. It was also depressing hearing that other people had an even worse time than I was. It just got me down. Even though I was lucky compared to other teachers who had to deal with dirty rooms with bugs, vegetarian meals that had shellfish or meat mixed in, and a few even had allergic reactions for the first time to the water or, even worse, the food. It just sucked. The topping on the communal not having a good time saw the meals the other quarantine site for my program got. They received fruit, snakes, doughnuts, and Burger King, while we received ice-cold meals of little variety with a side of fruit that was often spoiled. It was frustrating,
If it wasn’t for my family and friends, both old, lots of naps, video games, books, and binge-watching Shitz Creek for the first time(my salvation), I don’t know how I would have made it through that last week of quarantine. But I did. I made it!
After a year of setbacks and two long isolating weeks in quarantine, I was finally living in South Korea!
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I am not a medical professional there for anything I say or do on health, mental health, fitness, or anything medical related. None of the information or advice should be seen as advice from a certified medical professional. Only a certified medical professional can advise you on what’s suitable for your Health. Anything you do or try after reading this site and blog, you do at your own risk, and I am not liable for it. Please seek the advice of a medical professional on everything medical, health, and fitness related.