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Family Cruise and Chillin Around the House

I’ve been back in the states for about a month now, and it’s been a strange transition . I lived at home during college, and coming back here almost feels like I never left. But thankfully my brother and his family have temporarily moved home around the exact same time so we’ve spent the last several weeks together. One of my greatest regrets living in Korea was that I wasn’t able to spend time with my brother’s family. I had only met his son Judah once, when he was wailing infant, and his daughter Eden I hadn’t met at all.

Here are some photos from just hanging around the house and a recent cruise we went on together.

This is how Eden eats every time. No matter how small the bite, the mouth turns into a cave.

Eden is wary of strangers – “stranger danger” Dennis calls it. This was still her first week meeting me, so she was still weary. Actually we’ve been living together for a few weeks now and she’ll often call out to me “ungerr”, but still wails when I pick her up.

LASEK in Korea and Recovery Process

Yesterday I got LASEK eye surgery and I want to share my thoughts and recovery. People tend to pay around $900-1200 here in Korea, compared to almost double that in the states, so I figure I better do it  before I leave. My eyes weren’t  bad to be honest (-1.25 to be exact), but just enough that I preferred wearing glasses at night and was a perpetual squinter without them.

I saw an advertisement on facebook for $700 at St Mary’s Eye Center in Gangnam and so booked an appointment. There are about a million eye surgery centers (or plastic surgery centers) in Gangnam, so the only real benefit at this place is that they featured English speaking staff. You’d think, with mandatory 10+ year English education in Korea, that more places, with their highly educated staff, would  offer this, but not so. So I booked an appointment here and went in for some diagnostic tests, which overall took around an hour and a half. They ran me through about 8 or so different machines, measuring such things as cornea thickness and eye dryness. My eyes were overall quite healthy, but slightly on the dry side. Then during the consultation session where all the surgical options were detailed, the girl explained that it was $700 per eye. Well, screw you and your disingenuous internet marketing I said to her – politely, through a text message, the next day. So I looked around for another clinic.

My friend read some good reviews about S&B안과 in Gangnam, so I booked a session over there. Now, my Korean is not good. Calling it intermediate is generous. But I did my best and was able to communicate semi decently with the staff there. They were kind  and spoke slowly so I could understand better but overall I understood about 30%. I genuinely worry that I may have answered some diagnostic tests incorrectly. I think I knew what they were saying, but still, what if I didn’t really understand what they were saying? Eventually I was quoted at about $1050 and went in for surgery.

Surgery was quite easy. They just threw some drops in my eyes, told me to lie down, and then the doctor came over, clamped my eyes open, and then tortured me for 10 minutes. Torture included grinding my eye down with a machine that resembled the tool dentists use to clean teach, then scraping my eye with a knife, then squiring freezing liquid on it, then burning it with a laser (producing a sickening metallic smell), and then more freezing liquid. And then repeat on the other eye. People told me this was simple and painless, not so. Not to sound like a wuss, but it was damn uncomfortable. At least it was over in 15 minute tops.

Here I am, right before surgery – feeling dapper in my robe and cap.





Day 1

Right after surgery they led me out of the surgical room, and then unceremoniously straight out of the clinic. I had thought there’d be some standby time to see if I collapse or have some adverse reaction, but I was mistaken.

My eyes felt funny and my vision was blurry but there was no pain and itchiness. They were slightly sensitive to light, but not uncomfortably so. My friend says that pain for him kicked in on the second night so I’ll look forward to that. For now though I was meticulously inserting my eye drops every hour, and was excited to strap on these gorgeous eye cups to sleep with.



Day 2

My eyes still feel fine. There’s no pain, and very little discomfort. Perhaps it’s possible that because of my very minor eye prescription prior to surgery, they didn’t have to damage my eyes as severely to correct them. Or perhaps  because I have a nice large cornea. Whatever the reason is, I’m thankful. The only thing uncomfortable is the constant blurry vision, which as a photographer, makes my job a bit difficult.

I spoke a bit too soon, writing that last comment in the afternoon. By nighttime on day two, after working for 5 hours at a school my eyes were tired. I had dinner with some friends and kept my wayfearers on throughout, douchebag look or no, my eyes needed a break. By the time I crawled into bed my eyes were irritated and running.


Day 3

Day 3 was by far the worst . I spent most of the day in bed, my eyes were irritated and runny. By far the worst part was that I couldn’t see at all. I am a reading addict and finally realized what it was like to be unable to read for a whole day. So I sat and listened to Malcolm Galdwell’s new book on David and Goliath. (Highly recommended so far, by the way – as are all his books.) My roommate had lasek about a month ago and said the pain was so great he went back to the clinic for some high level pain killers. Luckily my pain hasn’t been even close to this level, and I only took a little ibprofein this day to help me sleep. I’ve heard days 3-5 are the worst so I went to sleep expecting a continuation of this mess on day 4.



Rooftop Parties

Both myself and my good buddy Mike right now have nice rooftop access at our apartments overlooking central Seoul. We throw rooftop parties every few months or so and Mike had an incredible one last week. Paul brought out the big guns with some 5 star Mexican cuisine; Mike made some surprisingly delicious soju/watermelon concoction; and I brought some Sangria. Overall the perfect way to spend a clear fall evening.



Yesterday I went to the 억새축제, silver grass festival. Please stop me in the future if I ever suggest or agree to go to one of these on a weekend. One of the benefits of being a full time photographer is I don’t work regular hours during the week.

I would have gotten some more photos, but my camera died early on. Photographer fail.