Archives for February 2014

The Streets of India

In the last month, before returning to the States, we went on a whirlwind of a trip. We visited China, Hong Kong, Nepal, India and lastly England before hopping on the last of our ten flights that would bring us back to Oklahoma. Throughout our travels we saw some incredible sights, met the most generous of people, made new friends, crossed off items on our bucket list and had an unforgettable time. But before I get to recapping our trip (and going through the thousands of photos) I wanted to share a small bit of our time in India. While it may not seem significant, I truly believe that not only do we need to appreciate the main attractions in a country but also take in the sights, culture and experience of just everyday life there. So today, I want to share a small peek into what we experienced on the streets of India.

India is an attack on the senses to put it kindly. For better or worse. Whether its the streets filled with beautiful women in equally beautifully patterned saris and kurtas, street vendors with carts piled high with deliciously colored fruit, naan and masala chai being cooked on the street corners, or the incense in every store and street side temple that makes you want to stock up with piles of boxes (which we did). But then there’s also the inevitable downside in which we were warned about before we left. The smog and smoke from curbside fires that clings to your clothes as an unwanted souvenir and also makes the sun blaze a fiery orange. It’s as if it’s no longer the star that your parents warned you to not look directly at, but instead like something painted and smudged in the sky as the smog acts as a buffer between the two of you. You spend your days dodging past the tuk tuks that have gone rogue, testing to see how long their horn will blast without going mute and taking part in an unofficial race to get their customer to their destination. And not to mention, avoiding the wafts of odor coming from the outdoor urinals and what you hope is animal feces from the cows and dogs that roam wild. Animals, might I add, that you have to pay attention to if you don’t want to be head butted by a large cow looking for it’s next trash pile to rummage through. By the end of the day it takes you a few hours to process the chaos that you were just a part of. But as with each country, you have to take the good along with the bad and try to focus on the positive of the country you are playing guest in.

Our trip was a mixture of multiple feelings and emotions, like trying on our patience as we waited at the train station for our nine hour delayed train; chaotic as we rubbed shoulders with the almost 10 million people who populate Delhi, and at times we felt like they were all on the same subway with us as we were pushed and shoved to fit just one more person on; emotional as we saw poverty as we had never imagined before; and unforgettable as we wandered through the grounds of the Taj Mahal. It’s sufficient to say that it has taken awhile for us to process what we have seen traveling through the streets of India, but maybe that’s a good thing. As not everything we see while traveling should be easily understood. Some things are better when time is taken to evaluate them and therefore reevaluate what we know and what we consider to be our norm.

These are just a few photos we snapped of the streets of India during our ten day tour of the Golden Triangle. There are loads of places where you can book these tours, our included visiting Delhi, Agra (with the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur. In the following weeks I’ll be recapping the rest of our trip through the country.

agra india train station india snake charmer kite festival, jaipur streets of india elephants of india streets of india streets of india delhi streets

Plastic Surgery in Korea-My Dirty Little Secret

I have a secret. Ok, it’s not really a secret to anyone who knows me in person but I’ve never blogged about it so same thing, right? If you don’t blog about it, it never happened? Anyway, about a year ago, I decided to go under the knife and get plastic surgery in Korea (gasp! I know…) I realize that not everyone agrees with having surgery done to change your looks, and I respect that. This was a very personal choice and one that has strongly affected how I feel about myself. I strongly believe that as a women, we should be proud of who we are and love ourselves despite our flaws. But I also believe that the decision to get plastic surgery is a personal decision that no one but that person can ever truly understand. This is not a post condoning or bashing the use of plastic surgery, just simply my personal experience with it. And I won’t be going into much detail about Korean culture and their practice except to say it’s extremely popular and something about seeing my 12 year old students getting eye lid surgery to look more ‘Western’ is a little more than odd and troubling to me. End rant. (if you want to see more photos of common surgeries in Korea, click here)

This was something that I had been wanting to do since middle school. You see, I had extremely dark circles under my eyes. Not the type that you get when you’re tired or will go away with a cold compress (trust me, I tried all home remedies and almost every product on the market). This was the type that was hereditary. I went to several dermatologists over the years and they all said the same thing. There was nothing I could do. My veins were simply too close to the surface of my skin, giving me a purplish effect under my eyes that looked like I hadn’t slept in days and then got into a bad fist fight.
Before. The dark circles were improved by 30-40% after the surgery
So when I came to Korea and heard that it was a common procedure to be done, I was on board. Korea is famous in Asia for it’s plastic surgery. People come from all surrounding countries to have procedures done here for their experienced surgeons, cheap prices (the same procedure in the States is quadruple in price!) and high tech equipment. In the first and only consultation on a Friday night, the doctor sat me down and told me that my dark circles would never completely go away but he could improve them by 30-40%. It’s not what I wanted to hear but it would be such a change that would be worth it in my mind. Even that small of an improvement would mean that I wouldn’t feel like I had to put on makeup before running to the store real quick or before going to the gym or beach like I was used to doing.
The gist of the procedure was that they would remove fat out of my leg and put a thin layer under my eye to act as a buffer between my veins and my skin. So essentially I now have butt fat in my face. A fact that my husband was sure to point out. My doctor had great English but let’s just say it wasn’t perfect. When he was trying to explain the procedure he tried to tell me that the fat’s survival rate in my face was 30%. He slipped and told me that my survival rate was 30%. Well that’s reassuring. I went on to ask him how any of these surgeries he has performed. He paused, looked at the ceiling (while I was on the other side of the desk panicking) and came back with the answer of ‘Ohhh, around 1,500’. It’s a whole lot more common that I thought!
After the procedure that night, I would be able to go home just two hours later. I remember lying face down on the table (since they would first cut into my leg), starting to panic as they strapped me down to the table (something I’m sure doctor’s in the States do after the patient is knocked out), the nurses giggling because it was their first foreign patient…and then passing out. When I woke up in the recovery room my first words to the doctor were ‘I love Korea’. Yea, I don’t do so well with anesthesia.

korean plastic surgery My wounds the next day. The two small bandages on either side cover up one stitch each and are where they went in. Thankfully my glasses covered most of it and while my kids looked at me funny, most of them didn’t even notice.

The whole experience was far less painful than I had anticipated. I felt pressure on my face but with the light pain meds I was given, I was still up and around the next day. I could also take the two single stitches on either side of my cheek out the next day which Jeremy happily played doctor for. The only down side is that in true Korean fashion, I had no sick days so I had to return to work on Monday. The pain wasn’t a problem so much as the fact that it looked like someone took a crowbar to my face. And I wasn’t about to get any sympathy from my boss who returned to work two days after a breast enlargement and who did the same after breaking her collarbone. There were a few stares but for the most part I think people are used to seeing people walking around right after getting surgery done, or when they’re supposed to being the hospital. Like this guy who left the hospital to watch a rugby game.

All in all, I was very happy with my experience and the doctor I chose. But more than that, I’m happy with the results. I still wear concealor under my eyes most days but use a fraction of the amount and no longer feel like I have to in order to avoid people asking me what happened or if I was tired. It was a decision that while controversial, I am so glad that I went through with.