1.4 Spring 2020 (COVID Archives)

May 9, Lasers & Lamb Skewers

At 10am I met the middleman consultation company’s translator at the clinic.

One of the plastic surgery consultation companies had a sale and another YouTuber had the same procedure done so I figured why not?

The translator wore a loose green cream suit and I was only a little disappointed when she mentioned her husband. Going through a consultation service adds money to the overall cost of procedure but considering most clinics don’t (or are unwilling to) speak English, I’d rather pay for support in the form of a translator and guide.

She was also my advocate and stayed with me throughout everything, even when I tacked on one more unscheduled procedure. She adjusted my blankets, helped me find the bathroom, and the two of us talked at length about her previous job in Singapore and giggled about little things. I wouldn’t mind if we were friends too but I know, I know, that’s just her job.

(Sad face)

The consulting doctor confirmed that my primary concern areas, smile lines and mid brow 11s, are due to facial expression so Botox or injections are the only semi permanent fixes.

She was also surprised that I was not wearing any makeup. A good sign, I say.

I figured I don’t need to be ashamed of my laugh or frown lines and at 28 I’m too young to even consider Botox.

I did get Botox however.

On my armpits.

Nearly all Koreans and Chinese genetically lack the gene that codes for apocrine glands— the gland responsible for sweaty and smelly underarms. Even if East Asians sweat they will not smell.

Botox injected into the underarm will stop the apocrine gland signals and prevent 80-90% of underarm sweat and therefore 80-90% of underarm stank. It should last 3-5 months.

Considering summer is upon us, the government won’t allow schools to run the AC due to virus concerns, I plan to be in Asia for at least two more years, and Koreans are unaware that my smelliness is genetic, I figured it was worth trying.

Since I was already at the clinic with the consultation company’s translator, I added that to my microneedling facial. After a few questions the doctor gave me an additional discount so the armpit Botox came to ₩198,000 ($160). Google later told me it runs about $1000 in the US.

They offered Botox for my 11s but I declined, even though it would have less than $30. I’ll admit I was tempted for the bargain alone.

During the laser facial (not the official name) the doctor commented on my good skin complexion and after an extremely painful session where increasingly long needles were punched into my skin I too wondered what I had been thinking.

The process started and ended with consultation and ran about three hours. The facial portion which included the fee for the translator, Aquapeel facial, and micro needling-RF treatment cost $525. A bargain compared to the average $1300 in the US, which doesn’t even include the initial facial.

Not quite 24 hours have passed and I look like I spent two hours too long in Daytona. Redness should last another day and then the peeling begins. I’m grimly excited to see myself shed.

Around 5pm I met a friend to explore my neighborhood and felt compelled to show her my apartment. She actually gasped.

“It’s so small!”


But she added that it was a compromise since my area is so busy and bustling.

On impulse I dragged her into a store next to my Chinese supermarket and I could kick myself for never having gone in before. This surprisingly spacious mart with a garden section has everything: I found a USB charger which not even Emart had. All those mile long round trips to Daiso and Emart and here was this no name shop with everything all along.

There was a moment in which I thought I saw that guy and my heart stopped— like a hunting dog I stood stiff with my hackles raised. Had he found me after all?

Whoever it was seemed clearly in a hurry and continued speed walking into the endless Chinese market abyss and I could only assume the danger, real or otherwise, had passed.

There was nothing to do but continue on so I settled on one of the hundred Chinese restaurants that had the criteria of both a crowd and good smell.

We ate lamb skewers at a place not even a block from my apartment and there was a part of me that wondered if sitting in front of smoke was the same as smoking which the doctor had warned me against for the next three days.

Between the two of us we ate three servings and were amazed by the little machine that self rotates the skewers for you.

There was some confusion as we asked the waiters if anything had peanuts, my friend is allergic, and seemingly the main selection of lamb does. The waitress walked off with my friend’s ten year old hand written Korean allergy note and had to be chased down to retrieve it.

Because the night can never end without coffee, I took her to my local cafe and tried Dalgona coffee. It was probably the sweetest drink I’ve ever had and that checks out— Dalgona is actually a traditional Korean treat made of spun sugar and the drink was topped with several chunks.

I haven’t seen any other Western friends for quite some time so this was a lovely evening out.

Sunday promises rain, clouds, and a drop in temperature so I’m happy to stick close to home and relax.

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