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November

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…’


Hwaseong Again

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.


Yangyang Traditional Market

Across Korea traditional markets are still a common feature. Taking place every five days in towns and even cities, the markets give a brief insight into an older part of Korea. For the most part these markets are straightforward occasions and possibly a bit like you could imagine in the so-called olden days, drawing in all the local populace for not only business but also social reasons.

Throughout you can see people meeting and doing business, while at the same time there is a good quantity of back slapping and hearty laughing by the stalls. There are rows and rows of people, mostly old women it has to be said, selling what is clearly the excess from their small gardens, and for them it seems to be as much a chance to get out and meet people, with the added benefit of actually making some money.


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 […]

Is it December Already?

So now that Halloween is over we can all start getting our Christmas decorations down and checking the fairy lights are all working. While we’re at it, order a turkey, and for christ’s sake start knitting that jumper, there’s a 12 Pubs of Christmas on somewhere… Is it a bit early to be joking about […]

Suwon: A Great Place to Shite

Korea is not afraid of honouring the unusual. With any number of festivals for all sorts of reasons throughout the year, there is definitely a culture of self praise. Suwon, where I humbly reside, is no stranger to such honorific displays, and today myself and Herself decided to visit a recently famous tourist location in the city, Mr. Toilet House.

Yes, that’s right. It is a house that was built to celebrate toilets. And why not says I? Sure, isn’t it one of those things which we shit down on all our life and never actually turn around and congratulate for the good work they do, day in, day out, all over the world. So, toilets of the world, I salute you.


November

I like November and I always have. The month just sits there, almost Christmas but still far enough away to be still kind of normal, and long enough after any summer holidays so any pining is well gone. Even though it can signal the true beginning of winter, a season I don’t shine too, with all the cold rain, wind, the leaves losing their leaves, I still look forward to November every year.

I think it’s one of those reliable months. I know it will be colder because the wind will suddenly pick up a notch and the temperature must drop a few degrees further. Despite this, I can prepare well. November is a great time for dusting out those heavy jackets, wooly jumpers, thick socks, gloves, scarves, and hats in warm, earthy colours of browns, burgundy, and dark greens to keep me cosy.


Letter from Korea, November 2011

Suwon, Korea
22/11/2011

Dear Ireland,

A few months ago I was elected as the new Chairman of the Irish Association of Korea. I suppose I had it coming to me. So, what about it?

The Irish Association of Korea has been around for over ten years and primarily seeks to promote Ireland and Irishness in Korea. We do have a few other mandates, such as fundraising for a memorial to honour the Irish who died in the Korean War, but essentially we try our best to promote Ireland as a country rich in culture which is distinct from the many other countries busy promoting their cultural identity in Korea.

As I’ve written about the lack of general knowledge on Ireland in Korea before, I won’t go into it now. I think it would be appropriate to give a little information on what I’m hoping to do for the promotion of Ireland over the next year, aside from hosting the usual events such as Paddy’s Day and our annual céilí.


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