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Home is Where?

Well, it didn’t matter. He’d had enough. He wasn’t going to try to understand anything anymore. He was going home.  
 Except that wizards can never go home.
-Terry Pratchett, Sourcery

I come back to that quote every once in a while. When I first read Sourcery, back in high school, I breezed right past it; during a more recent read, it jumped off the page and lodged itself in my brain, and so far, despite my best efforts, I've been unable to kick it out.

Home is something I think about a lot. I've moved so many times that it's taken on a sort of hazy, unfocused quality. There's my hometown, where some of my family is, the place when I spent my childhood. There's my mom's home, in a town I've never lived in. Is it Seattle, where I graduated college? When I say "I want to go home," what do I mean?

A Blessing in De Skies

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It happens abroad

Feeling homesick

To explore is a great gift

But the tug of the deeply familiar in the midst of differences

Emotions too hard to deal with

Sometimes can be a blessing

Away from home will help you to remember that you love home



My Korean Apartment

I Am Not A Tree

homesickBeing homesick sucks. Some days when I wake up in the morning, I roll over and hope to magically find myself back in my own bed. Or, as I’m shuffling through the line in the lunchroom, I take one look at the food in front of me and wish like hell that I was about to eat a hamburger. Harder yet is seeing new pictures on Facebook of friends and family from home as they continue to live their lives…without me.

I knew this feeling was coming. It was inevitable. But that hasn’t made it any easier to deal with. What has helped, though, is when I:


Letter to Korea, August 2014

Dear Korea,


No Direction Home

Wow, it's been a long time. All my grand intentions to keep up on my writing while I went back home for 2 weeks evaporated under the pressures of 3 towns in 2 weeks and more family and friends to meet than seems possible. I didn't even see everyone I wanted to, and I still felt like I needed a personal assistant just to manage my social calendar.

The oddest thing about being back home for two weeks was the way it made my life in Korea seem almost...unreal. As if it was nothing more than a very vivid dream. Now, part of this was caused by how much jetlag was addling my brain, making everything a bit more confusing and strange. It was a scary feeling, though. Before I moved to Korea, my life wasn't great. I was done with Seattle, and I felt like my life was on hold, like I wasn't moving in any useful direction. I was anxious all the time, frustrated, unclear about what I was supposed to be doing with my life.

A Month In

By now you will have gathered that I haven’t been blogging with the same level of ferocity as you may have been familiar with. I have given the blog a bit of a rest so that I can settle into life back in Ireland, as well as concentrate on other projects and writing goals. It […]

(The Last) Letter from Korea, June 2014.

Dear Ireland,

If you’re not already aware I’ll be leaving in about a week. I know I’m going on about it a fair bit, but it is what I’ve been building up to for quite a while and it feels appropriate to me to talk about it a lot. Right now, in terms of being in Korea, it doesn’t feel like there is much else I should be talking about. One thing though that I’d like to make clear though is my intentions.

Never at any point have I turned around and said I have to get out of Korea for some abhorrent reason, like the usual tripe you hear about the inadequacies of Korea, Koreans, or indeed the inadequacies of those who cannot accept that this is a very different country to the one which they were raised in. I could go on here, but I won’t.


Of Suwon No More

I am no longer a resident is Suwon. It’s a sad day, I suppose, but one myself and Herself talked about for a while. It may be a new idea to you but it’s one thing we’ve known about for some time.

Over the past week boxes were filled, as we’re plenty of those 100 litre rubbish bags. The bags went to the dumpster down below, the boxes to the post office. Thankfully there’s surface post from Korea to Ireland.


Undol -v- Radiators

In a classroom I teach in the heating hasn’t been working since who knows when. It has probably been broken since the summer. It’s one of those awful heaters that doubles as an air-conditioner, blowing out dry, heated air, in the winter, and flimsy puffs of cool in summer. Yesterday, I was sitting at a desk rubbing my knees and grimacing one of those ‘oh well you know’ friendly kind of faces towards the students who came in wrapped for artic exploration. I actually felt sorry for them because at least I could stand up and walk around for a little warmth.

I turned to one student, who I knew had lived in the UK for several years and proclaimed ‘what we need here are some radiators!’ to which she gave me a blank look. I remonstrated with her, trying to job her memory to which she replied ‘I prefer undol’. And I thought, ‘oh yeah…but no…’


Peter Clarke

By Ray Hyland

The first adults you meet in life will forever leave an impression. Family notwithstanding you rely on your teachers and headmasters to guide you along the early roads.


November in Yeongtong

Just as I had my camera on the way home from work last week, I had it again yesterday as I walked to and from work. This time it was nice and bright out and ideal for catching the last of the autumn leaves. In Korea you’ll never hear the end of the talk about […]

Walking Home at Night in Yeongtong-dong

Last night was the first real dark night I’ve walked home from this year. I left work around 6pm and by the time I had crossed the street and said goodbye to a coworker it was as dark as December. I won’t prey on your sensibilities with a slew of cliches about walking home alone in a chilly night in October. We’ve all been there. It’s a universal feeling.


Flea Marketing

Myself and Herself have half a kind of a hobby these days. By these days I mean Autumn, as its kind of a seasonal thing. We go to flea markets and sell our *ahem* stuff.

The reason why we say it’s kind of a hobby is because we’ve only ever done it three times, and at the same time we only have so much to sell. But yeah, we’re well into it. We’ve a big black suitcase packed full of old but decent clothes, a few other bits a and pieces, as well as our mat for sitting on, and we head off and start selling our stuff. It’s good fun, social, and we usually come out with a few quid in our pocket.

I think it’s kind of a fad at the moment, because there seem to be flea markets for all sorts of occasions. There are a couple of charity ones, and of course there’s one in Hongdae, and for some reason they seem to be getting a lot of attention of late. Don’t ask me why. Probably because of Hongdae, but who am I to presume?


Manoffin’s Spooky and Scrumptious Halloween-themed Muffins

In South Korea, you will find a Manoffin cafe at almost every subway station.


Letter from Korea, October 2013

Suwon, Korea
Ocotober, 2013

Dear Ireland,

It has been well over a month since myself, Herself, and +1 have been back in Korea, and what I expected would be my September letter got left by the wayside and is only being seen to now in October. You know you’ll get the usual excuses for not doing anything which isn’t vital to one’s survival, such as being busy with things which are vital to one’s own survival.

After two and a bit months in Ireland, returning to Korea for life, work, and more life, was less the shock we had thought it might be. A smaller home, no garden, no dog, less rain, and that view from all the way up at the top of our tower just seemed to be what was right at the time. There seems to be less culture shock the more we travel between Ireland and Korea.


Instagramming My Environment

Friend and travel blogger Steve Miller a.k.a. The QiRanger, has started a new October series of videos titled Eye on Your Environment. His aim is to look a little closer at the world around him, and to talk about what makes his environment special to him. I can see a lot of worth in this kind of post (and have tried myself before), but especially because Steve doesn’t live too far away from me and in an environment which is not too dissimilar to Yeongtong.


The End of the Summer

It’s still hot in Korea. By hot I mean warm enough to prefer shorts to trousers but pleasant enough to consider the walk, wherever it is you’re going, enjoyable. Only this afternoon it started raining the kind of rain that smells of the heat that has warmed it. Like some kind of stagnant puddle water. And as it drops and hits the ground the water mixes with all the other smells walked into the street, then stewed up to create a black paste which seems to follow every foot’s step in the city. It’s a summer rain true, but not a high summer deluge.

When we returned to Korea from Ireland a little under two weeks ago we were told we had missed the worst of the summer. The breeze which we found chilly was a much welcomed breath of life into a country drained to exhaustion from the hottest of summers. We were grateful that we had chosen our flight dates well.


Home to If I Had A Minute To Spare Towers

I kid because I love. But in this case I’m not kidding. I do live in a tower, a twenty storey high tower pitched between what seems like a thousand other twenty storey high towers. Although mine is made from concrete, steel, and glass, not ivory. This may or may not be a good thing.

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After a long summer away in Ireland, myself, Herself, and +1 have returned to our perch overlooking the ever present traffic which persists along that big long avenue that runs through Yeongtong-dong which I have no idea of the name.


Colours, Colours, Colours! A Good Vibes Post for My First Two Weeks Back in Ireland.

I’ve been back in Ireland for approximately two weeks. I promise that during this post I will not mention the weather too much. All I can say is that it has been unseasonal.

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When we return to Ireland we spend most of time in my parents home and my old stomping ground, Beechdale in Dunboyne. At the best of times it’s a fairly ordinary housing estate on the outskirts of Dublin, albeit in County Meath. We also managed to get down to Kerry for a few days, to show the visitors around (the visitors being Herself’s oul pair who are over here with us).

Well, we’ve been doing plenty of touristing around here (yes there are some things worth doing) and also down in Kerry. It has been a good few weeks.


A Letter to Daddy (on Father’s Day)

Dear Daddy,


Let Me Tell You Something about My Korean Parents-in-law


Playing With My New Toy!

Yesterday I told you about my new toy.DSC_0005

Today with the sun shining and no pressing business, I ventured out into the wilds of Yeongtong-dong in Suwon and played with it. I won’t lie I’m still using it a little like a point-and-shoot, but I still can feel the difference. The focus is by far my favourite, as well as the texture of the photographs. I can’t really go into what makes them look or feel different, maybe it’s just that they look more real.


Honey, Thanks for the Additional Calories! ^^

 

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Shop Local

I have some incredibly talented friends, not only are they knock outs on skates, but they're industrious little bees that sell amazing products.

If you have access to the internet, or find yourself lucky enough to be in or around Sheffield, you should check them out.

kNIT AND DESTROY
Home

“Getting There”

This is a short narrative post I initially set out to write for Groove Magazine‘s “Share Story, Win Trip” writing competition. The call came out for ‘funny’ travel stories where a lesson was learned. The winning pieces would be read out loud dramatically. Frankly, there just aren’t enough of these kind of encouraging writing opportunities in Korea. I could say more but I’ll get distracted.

I started writing mine and about two paragraphs from the end I decided that it wasn’t a travel story. So I stopped writing. I came back about a week later and took another crack at it, tidied it up but left it loosely over the 500 word limit, which kind of left it for any kind of flash litt and too short to be considered anything else. Still it’s a good story. You’ll laugh. I hope. 

Getting There


February

Home

I'm sat at my desk at school now and it feels like I've hardly been away, despite spending nearly 3 weeks back in England. Above are the pictures of my room when I walked in shattered on Saturday night, it would appear that without me there Nick had far too much time on his hands.

The month started brilliantly with some skiing at High One although alot of the time was spent on my behind in the snow, wallowing about the lack of skills I have when it comes to skiing. I blame roller derby and my dodgy knees for that!

The ‘City’ Below

I use quotation marks for city only because Jangnim, not (yet, hopefully in 2014) on the subway line, is in a lot of ways a world away from Busan proper. One girl posting on the Saha-gu Foreigner and Friends Facebook page commented that this area feels like a more authentic Korea. The only foreign food easily accessible is in the food of cereal at Home Plus or the Chinese restaurants owned by Koreans. For Indian, you’ll have to take the bus to the nearest subway station, then travel about 5 or 6 stops to the next hub. 

And, it’s slowly becoming OK. Is there adjustment passed? Thankfully, yes. Is there adjustment still to come? Surely. But, I’m adjusting.

And, with that, here is the city below, as seen from the public balcony located just outside my apartment:


Our Weekend: Food Diary

All I seem to have done since I've been in England is eat, eat, eat. I swear that I haven't heard my stomach rumble since the plane touched ground. This weekend has been a particularly food packed one.

On Thursday, after I had my hair cut, we went to St Paul's hotel and had one of their amazing cream teas. This comes with cucumber, salmon and cream cheese and ham and tomato sandwiches, scones with fresh cream and a small mix of cakes. Delicious.

On Friday morning, feeling the effects of all the food, we decided to go for a walk around Clumber Park's lake. It's about a three mile walk and took just over an hour, but on the way home, to reward ourselves, we called in at the Old School Tea Rooms and I had a ploughman's lunch.

Just say “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” to escape the Korean winter.

As I’ve said before, I’m not crazy about the cold. Yes, I’m from New England, but no, I don’t really ski, so winter for me is about the first magical snow (just one please, that’s enough) and then of course the oh so mature Christmas countdown. Sometimes January and February can leave me in a kind of funk. But this really hasn’t been the case in Korea.

drinks in korea


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