On June 3rd at 12 o’clock midnight, our 14 day mandatory covid-19 quarantine here in Gangnam district, Seoul was officially over. I had, however, just one more responsibility as a global citizen. This responsibility and also mandatory act was to go back to the Gangnam Public Health Center to get another nose and throat swabbing for Covid-19 screening. The public health center is open every day from 9am to 6pm to assist walk-ins with Covid-19 testing but also to assist people who are showing symptoms. Even though I had all day, Nabi and I had plans. So I loaded Nabi’s play pen up with a bi carrot to gnaw on, water, and toys, kissed her goodbye a few times and headed out around 9:30 am. This was our first time separating since arriving here in Korea so, gotta be honest, I was a bit nervous. I hopped on the super clean and convenient Seoul subway system and arrived at the Public Health Center by around 10:00 am.
There were probably about five or six different tents set up in the parking lot of the Public Health Center’s main entrance. The biggest, main tent was set up for people waiting for testing. The other tents all looked to be set up to examine and assist people who were feeling symptoms. I walked in to the main tent which I had entered in back on the night of May 19th. It was surprisingly, a bit busier than I expected it to be this time at 9:30am. I was approached by a very kind woman who seemed to be the main coordinator. She asked me if I came because I was feeling sick. I answered, “No, yesterday was my last day of quarantine so I came to get tested”. I also told her I was from America when she asked which country I entered in from. She had me sit down at the first table station where I filled out my basic bio, passport, and contact information on a testing form. After this, I was given a slip with “073” on it. This was my place in line for testing. I moved to one of the desks set up behind the station one table and waited for my number to pop up on the digital screen. Luckily, when I sat down at my desk they were already at number 50.
After waiting for maybe a half hour, my number came up on the digital screen and I made my way up to the front of the tent. There were three single chairs spaced out in the very front of the tent for people who were on-deck for testing. So, I sat down in the 3rd chair. Each time, someone came out I moved to the 2nd, then the 1st. Then, before I knew it, another very patient and kind health worker in a hazmat suit (all the health workers in direct contact with testing fluids wore full hazmat suits) came into the doorway of the building and ushered me in. One tiny step through the doorway of the building and I was asked to sit down at a table with another hazmat-suit wearing worker. This worker went over the information on my test form and wrote some of it onto the orange capped testing tube which would hold my swabs. She also asked me if I was feeling any symptoms and listed a bunch; she also asked if I was pregnant or a smoker. To all of these things I of course answered no. After this mini-interview, I was ushered through two automatic sliding doors into what was pretty much like a double-sized public bathroom stall. I sat down on a stool inside and in front of me was a sink and mirror. To the left of the sink and mirror there was a toilet. I sat alone with the door closed for maybe two seconds and hazmat suit workers came in and swabbed my throat and nose much gentler this time. Last time, to be honest, my right nostril felt quite uncomfortable for a few days after the swabbing- this time no pain afterwards yay~! Immediately after the swabbing, I got up and headed out of the building, down the street, and back to the subway. Time to get Nabi out for a little walk, or maybe a big one. Check out my “coming back to Nabi” short video below and stay tuned for photos and videos from our trip to YangJae Stream Green Park!