How my Broken Bed led to a Broken Toe… Right Before my Trip to Myanmar

I know that I am renowned for having bad luck on trips- but before I even get on my flight? Come on!
How my Broken Bed led to a Broken Toe... Right Before my Trip to Myanmar
It all started about a week before I left for my trip to Myanmar. I was in my apartment in South Korea and was having week of unfortunate events. For one, my unstable bed finally called it quits and broke on me. I could have probably put in some elbow work and put it back together but with only a few weeks left living in South Korea I decided to give up on it. Instead, I took it apart and put it in my laundry room.
Another issue in my apartment was that had mold. Again. I had mold in my apartment last winter and now it was back- and with a vengeance.
It was like a cycle. I would get mold, call my landlord, she would clean it up and slap on a new layer wallpaper. A month later it would be back. Each time she would give me a new piece of advice. Keep your windows open (even though it is -10 degrees Celcius outside), don’t put your nightstand against the wall. Uh…should I keep it in the middle of the room instead?
Worst was that she claimed I was the only person in the whole apartment with this issue. Like as if being a foreigner I knew some sort of witch craft to suddenly make mold appear. Nope, the mold had nothing to due with the fact that the building had poor infrastructure and insulation.

As ridiculous as her suggestions were I was desperate and would listen to her. I would leave my windows open all day when I was at work and kept my bed and nightstand away from the wall. I even bought little moisture absorber traps as an extra precaution.


But when the mold showed up this time I was more frustrated than normal. My landlord had been over just last week to remove it, and yes, slap on another layer of wallpaper. This time the mold was more than I had ever seen and it went all the way from the floor to the ceiling of my bedroom. Not even witchcraft could make mold grow this fast.


I was going away for the weekend -to another city in South Korea- and happy to leave my moldy bedroom behind. Eew…I never thought that would be a word I used to describe my room. My landlord promised to come by on the weekend and fix the problem- yet again.

Before leaving for the weekend I went to open the windows in my house- following my stupid landlords advice in hopes that she wouldn’t think I was a witch. My broken bed was in front of the sliding window in my laundry room so I had to move it to slide the window open.


My bed frame was on a raised ledge leaning against the window. It was so heavy that I struggled to pull it away from the glass to open my window. I managed to get the window open when suddenly my headboard slipped from the ledge and came crashing down on foot.


The pain was instant and I let out a loud shriek as if the louder I screamed the less pain I might feel. A stabbing pain was coming from my toe and I couldn’t believe how much torture this tiny limb was causing me.
At first I thought that this would be similar to when you stub your toe. I hurts like a B**** but then the pain goes away. I kept waiting and hoping for the throbbing to stop. It didn’t.
My friend was over at the time so they quickly ran to my freezer and put a frozen bag of vegetables on my toe to numb the pain and stop it from swelling.
I didn’t want this to get in the way of my fun weekend and figured I should still head out of town. My toe was gonna hurt whether I stayed at home or not- plus I didn’t want to be stuck at home in my mouldy apartment.
We wrapped up my toe and headed to the train station.
How my Broken Bed led to a Broken Toe... Right Before my Trip to Myanmar

On the way there the pain was overwhelming and I tore my bandage off of my toe because I couldn’t stand it. My friend had pain killers on him so when we got to the train station he quickly ran into buy me some water to take the pills. My foot hurt so much that I sat down on a bench outside and waited for him.

The stabbing pain kept growing and growing. It was such an intense concentration of pain in one little part of my body. It was becoming unbearable and I remember stomping my other foot on the ground as a way of coping. I must’ve looked like a crazy person.
Eventually my friend came out and I guzzled the painkillers down.
Once again we debated whether we should leave for the weekend.

My thoughts went back to images of the mold growing up my wall. My mind was made up.

We went inside and bought the train tickets. The next train didn’t leave for another hour. My friend suggested that I visit a doctor if we had the time.

The pain in my toe was not subsiding and I realized that I had clearly done more damage to it than I thought. The medical system in South Korea is insanely fast and the nearest hospital was only five minute drive away. We hopped back in a taxi and headed to the hospital.

Once we got into the hospital I was in tears and my friend grabbed a wheelchair for me to sit in. We drew a lot of attentions to ourselves being two distressed foreigners trying to figure out where to go.

Since we we so noticeable we were quickly approached by a nurse who ushered us in. Right away we were taken in to see the doctor.
After a quick look at my toe and seeing the pain on my face the doctor sent me for an X-ray. When the results came back I was told that my toe had been broken. I couldn’t help but think that this wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t mold in my bedroom.
They cast up my foot, gave me some crutches, prescribed me with a bunch of drugs and sent me on my way. We managed to make it back to the train station in the nick of time. I remember “running” through the train station to catch our train.


When I got back from the weekend I went for a checkup at the hospital.

They gave me another X-ray and sent me to a specialist. It was here that I was told I would need surgery. When I asked how long I would need to recover from the surgery I was told six weeks. Only one problem, I was leaving for Myanmar in a week!


On top of this I wouldn’t be able to walk or swim- not ideal for traveling.


I asked the doctor (and by me I mean my Korean coworker translating) when I would be able to walk if I didn’t get the surgery. He told me that basically as long as it didn’t hurt I could try walking. Well there you have it- that answer was good enough for me.

I refused the surgery and walked…well, hobbled, out of there.

To refuse a doctor’s recommendations in South Korea is quite insulting. Basically a doctor is the most respected position by Koreans and they idolize doctors. Coming from a more independent culture I have a more critical mind than the average Korean and don’t easily trust doctors here.

South Korea is also the surgery capital of the world, so I wasn’t surprised when the recommended me to get surgery. Surgery is the answer for almost everything in this country and so people don’t even blink an eye at the mention of it. In Canada surgery is seen as a last resort option and so when it came to a limb as minor as my toe I figured I would let my body naturally heal itself on it’s own. Plus I really wanted to go swimming!

So against doctors orders, I ended up boarding my plane to Myanmar. I was determined to not let my toe ruin this amazing destination for me.I left my crutches behind- worried that they might not allow them on the plane.


How my Broken Bed led to a Broken Toe... Right Before my Trip to Myanmar

The worst part about the whole trip was
probably the airport. I had a layover in Beijing and the airport was massive! Luckily I had about six hours to make it from one side to the other.
When I got to Myanmar I couldn’t have been in a friendlier country to deal with such an inconvenience. At one point I had a local boy give me a stick to use as a walking pole. When getting on the shuttle to the bus station the driver would let me sit up from with him instead of being piled in the back with everyone else. Every time that I checked into a hotel the staff would quickly grab my bag and carry it to my room for me.
How my Broken Bed led to a Broken Toe... Right Before my Trip to Myanmar
My huge foot cast was a really sexy look for me

I think that the kindest gesture was made when my friend and I were walking to a night market in Pathien. We were slowly making our way to the market, and I was using my friend as a crutch, when we stopped to ask for directions. One man pointed us on our way and we continued our journey as slow as molasses. Slow and steady wins the race?
About five minutes later- and probably only one block away given the pace we were going- a car pulled up to us. The driver rolled down his window and said, “night market?”


“No” my friend sternly replied- thinking he was some stranger trying to get us into his car. 

Given that we were in one of the friendliest countries in the world I couldn’t imagine that this would be the case. I took a better look at the man and thought that I recognized him. He was the man that we had asked for directions from. He must have taken pity on me and went to get his car so that he could give me a ride.

Before my friend could shoo him away I quickly exclaimed’ yes, please!” and jumped in the back seat. My friend gave me a look of surprise but reluctantly chose to trust my decision as she too jumped into the car.

Sure enough, the man drove us to the night market. He didn’t get out of the car- he was simply just giving us a lift.

How my Broken Bed led to a Broken Toe... Right Before my Trip to Myanmar
It is moments like this where I don’t know how to thank people enough for their kindness. It wasn’t so much the ride that meant a lot to me it was the kindness in his heart and thoughtfulness for a complete stranger.
While having a broken toe is not the ideal situation for travelling, I was very thankful to the people of Myanmar for helping me explore their beautiful land. And even if you don’t have a broken toe I promise you they will be just as kind.
How my Broken Bed led to a Broken Toe... Right Before my Trip to Myanmar
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