raising a child

Letter from Korea, June 2012.

South Korea
June 28, 2012


Dear Ireland,

Are ye well? I have been doing my best to find the time to write this month’s letter before the month is out for a very good reason. As much as I would like to write about Ireland’s disastrous showing in Euro 2012 and my efforts to watch each game at 4am, there are more important things to note in this month’s letter. The whole of my world as an Irishman in Korea has suddenly changed from its original Hemingway-in-Paris aspirations to an all too realistic situation.


From 6:30AM to 7:30: reading the news, writing, drinking coffee. The baby wakes permanently around 7:40, at which time all of us take turns in the shower. Watching him quiver excitedly in the blasting hot water is heartening. Around 8 we dress the baby, which is a two or three person job, as the baby struggles and screams violently whenever clothes are applied to or unapplied from his body. My wife, A., and I, rush through breakfast in less than five minutes. We have become like marines without the martial muscles; I slurp down every milked-soak grain of muesli in the time it takes to walk from the sink to the table, shoveling the slop down my throat.

Then we head outside, pile into a taxi, and drop the baby off at daycare. The driver always turns into a truefalse cul-de-sac which looks as if it leads onto the highway, even though it is blocked by several pointless boulders.

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