Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Daegu FC match report

I'm still deep in Korean studying, and a little Spanish too, and am afraid this diary is taking a backseat right now as I don't have the energy for amusing anecdotes while my head is swimming with foreign languages. However, here is a match report for the Daegu FC game on Saturday that I emailed to a few people.

>Daegu FC 5 - Incheon Utd 0
>On a beautifully warm day that turned pleasantly cool later on, Daegu FC saw off northern rivals Incheon Utd five goals to nil, in a one sided match that demonstrated the devastating potential for the home team. Attended by approximately 4-5000 supporters, including five Westerners by the names of Nev, Eileen, Maebh, Tim and Sara, the match kicked off to fireworks and the match provided some fireworks of its very own.
>Brazilian Jefferson dominated proceedings and scored a fantastic solo goal before the end of the first half, after having a goal earlier ruled offside by the idiot referee who blatantly doesn't know the offside rule, unlike Maebh and all other fellow females (of course) who grew up with a detailed knowledge of the rule. However, the referee made up for his mistake by later sending off an Incheon Utd supporter, a decision deemed harsh by Daegu supporter Nev, who was quoted as saying "That seemed harsh."
>It may have been a turning point, as in the second half it was all one way traffic, as Daegu pushed forward towards where their dedicated and vociferous band of blue-clad supporters were. Jefferson contributed to another fine goal scored by some guy with a Korean name, before being viciously and cynicially hacked off the field by the brutal Incheon Utd players. Actually, it appeared he had a knee injury, and after another sterling performance all of Daegu city must be hoping for a swift recovery.
>In his absence, Daegu more than compensated by a fantastic team display that saw 3 goals in the last 20 minutes. The Incheon defence were to blame for a number, as Daegu penetrated them like... well, the similie is unnecessary. A glorious day for Daegu supporters, and it can have been no coincidence that the number of new Western supporters equalled that of the tally of goals.

Saturday, 24 April 2004

Football and Korean

Have just watched Daegu FC beat Incheon Utd 5-0 in the 60,000 capacity World Cup Stadium (about 5000 people there). Before that I went to my Korean class and after a week of hardcore studying actually understood what was going on, and was able to speak and make sense. It's a lovely day again and I've got some sort of party in the evening, but I don't intend to get too drunk. So, it's been a very satisfying day so far. I'll write more, in theory, later.

Thursday, 22 April 2004

My Good Class and I Hate Hippies

A few people have commented on my last entry. Don't worry, I'm not becoming some sort of crazed hippy and I'm not about to become at zen with myself. I will still laugh when a child injures themself, enjoy drinking on the correct occasions and appreciate and often enjoy the corruption of people and the planet. I'm just stopping getting wasted regularly, and just for the hell of it. In doing that, much of my time is freed for other pursuits.

Anyway, I just had a very good class. They're young, rumbunctious or rumbustious, I'm not sure which is the correct word, if either, and they're using the damn awful and unusable New Parade book. There's 12 of them and they're quite a handful, because they speak very little English and are very excitable. They've improved recently, but the class can become chaotic if you're not on the ball.

But I absolutely had them tamed last lesson. It's easy to say and often harder to do, but the quieter the teacher you are, the quieter the class. I'm a very laid back teacher, and I don't shout, but often I'd find myself raising my voice just to be heard in that class. So today I reversed the approach, and spoke calmly and quietly and any child making too much noise would be approached and promptly hushed. It worked beautifully. They were attentive and obedient. I barely had to control them, they controlled themselves.

Maybe I am at zen, and my students are getting zenned just by being near me.

God, I hate hippies and zen and all that new age crap. I hate herbal remedies and auras and mysticism and spirituality. Especially spirituality.

I like pure mathematics. Pure, cold, hard, brutal science. I like a vast, empty, cold, unforgiving universe that exists for no reason or purpose except as a series of equations.

Anyway, better go, some toddlers to speak at.

Tuesday, 20 April 2004

Self Improvement

Something's happening to me.

I'm becoming clever again. I used to be quite clever as a child, went a little downhill in later secondary school, pretty much lost all my intelligence during university but managed to sum up one fantastic last bout of inspiration to get my degree before finally blasting my brain to pieces in the hedonistic years that followed.

But now, I think it's returning.

First of all, it's having to work weekdays in the morning, in a job that has mental demands. It means I don't drink heavily during the week. Recently, I've started taking a Korean class at 11am on Saturday morning, so Friday nights are out. But now, after last Saturday, I've lost the inclination to go out heavily at all.

Saturday night wasn't a bad night by any means, but just utterly standard. For the last 7 or 8 weeks, it seems I have some drinks in Communes, then finish off trashed out my face in Bubble Bar. It was fun for a while, but now I'm fed up. My Sundays are spent recovering from average and routine Saturday nights. This Sunday I woke at noon, and just sat and flicked through my TV channels all day. Nothing else. It was pathetic and a total waste of my day.

So I'm changing.

I'm on a language binge right now. I've started to really get into learning my Korean, and am getting up each morning at about 7.30am to study. On top of that, every Monday I've started to go to Spanish lessons that Kristi teaches (she was a Spanish teacher for 6 years). Plus, me and Matt have decided to learn Russian so are going to get a book and study it.

Getting drunk is just going to get in the way of this. I've decided that going out for a special occasion - a party or anything that sounds interesting - is fine, but just going out because it's Saturday isn't.

Also, I've got plenty of friends now, and I'm very happy with my group (the core: Matt, Eileen, Maebh, Kristi, Greta, Mik, Denise, Rebecca, Laura, Tim, Sara, Jesus Chris and associated spin offs). I'm with people not just for the sake of knowing people, but because I actually get on with them. Getting wasted on Saturdays in unnecessary, I prefer just to meet up with them for a drink, a film, a meal or something else.

There's also the orphanage which I started, and really enjoyed. Though my altruism may be questioned (CV/attractive girl motivations...) I got a real kick out of it. The kids were a little wary of this crazy bearded man at first, but by the time I was leaving they'd accepted me and I actually had the feeling I'd done something constructive. I enjoyed playing football, even though some tiny child totally outplayed me. The kids were all very sweet, and it was tragic to think they were orphaned or, more often, just abandoned. They weren't disruptive, far from it.

So, back to my new found intelligence. I've spent that last few years just enjoying myself and not really involving myself in anything too mentally demanding, so my brain was getting out of gear. But after a week or so of studying, I'm starting to sense it kick into action again. I'm understanding Korean, or at least when I'm seeing it, it no longer seem incomprehensible. Spanish, by comparison, is much easier.

Don't worry. I'll always be a drinker and a waster, but for the time being it's not going to be an active pursuit. It's time to learn a few skills and involve myself in something other than slow self destruction.

Sunday, 18 April 2004


I went to the orphanage yesterday. It was good. It was a very warm day.

Part of me wants to write, but I simply can't be bothered.

I've also decided to do the trans-Siberian railway with Matt next year, after visiting North Korea. We're going to find the dodgy Russian man Matt met in Seoul that owned a nightclub that only allowed goddesses in.

Tuesday, 13 April 2004

Chopstick Success

A Korean complimented me on my chopstick use today!

Monday, 12 April 2004

Toothless But Painless

Well, the tooth extraction turned out to be a pretty smooth process. I was expecting to be butchered and left bleeding, with a vastly swollen face and in pain for days.

Of course, not meaning to belittle the traumatic experience of war veterans, but getting a tooth taken out is on a par with a limb amputation, so it was still a very distressing experience for me.

As it happened, there was absolutely no pain, and against dentist's orders I was even perfectly able to go out and get drunk. I was hoping that combined with my medication, I could get completely messed up, but no more so than usual as it turned out.

I did wake up with pizza EVERYWHERE though. God knows what I did when I got home, because I have no memory, but somehow I managed to smear pizza all over myself and my apartment.

So now I've got a gap in my teeth, but it's pretty hidden and I've got to show people for them to notice. My face didn't swell up at all. I'm considerng not bothering with the implant, because it's going to cost me about 1.5 million Won, almost a months wages, and to be honest, I'd rather save the money for North Korea and keep the gap. Already the gap has become a familiar friend. I'm sure I could still a lump of chewing gum up there and it'd be indistinguishable from a real tooth.

So, my weekend was simply a case of getting my tooth out (and covering the dentist with blood, incidentally), waiting to suffer but not, then getting drunk on a fairly average night out.

Tonight I'm learning Spanish. Kristi used to be a Spanish teacher for 6 years so is doing Spanish lessons, and I reckon there's no way it can be as hard as Korean so I'm going to give it a go.

Wednesday, 7 April 2004

The Joy Of Implants

Please, read my miserable previous entry which I have just written. I looked up some details about dental implants on the internet and found this.

I've heard that dental implants are expensive. How much do they cost?

Well, first you must determine the measure or the gauge or yardstick by which you would evaluate VALUE. An implant costs, in Australian dollars between $3,500 to $4,500 - which is a small amount to pay for a Jumbo Jet or cheap to pay for a Bionic Ear. Compared to what is an implant cheap or expensive? A holiday for the same price is gone after 2 weeks, the memories faded after a year and 5 years later, you might actually
lose by forgetting some of those tranquil expensive days.

Dentistry is HIGH VALUE. It is with you walking, talking, eating, singing, and making love, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week probably for the rest of your life. The same money spent doing up the car or the front fence is far less VALUE given that your interaction with it is less frequent and that a moment of absent-mindedness could reduce it to rubble.

So, obviously my annoyance is for nothing, as a new tooth is a joy to behold whereas a holiday is just a waste of money and memories.

Pissed Off About My Mouth

I'm still pretty pissed off about my damn teeth.

The pain, mercifully, had subsided last night but I woke this morning to find the left side of my face so swollen I couldn't see out of my left eye properly. I looked like I was disfigured.

I had a dentist's appointment at 10am anyway, where they messed about with my mouth, spurted some blood, and made the left side of my face swell up to lunatic proportions. Half of me looked like me, the other half looked like a fat cartoon version of me.

They don't take the tooth out till Saturday, and this ruins all my Saturday plans. These were to go to my new Korean learning class at 11am, and then go to the orphanage later that day. However, as I'll be bleeding and in great pain, all these plans are scrapped in favour of home suffering.

I also can't drink for a while. I can't even drink anything cold for a few days.

I have 8 months of treatment ahead.

I suppose there are a few silver linings. Obviously I'd have preferred none of this was the case, but given that it is and it was going to happen at some time, it's better it happened now than last year, for example. Last year, in Scotland, it would have been more expensive and I had no money. At least in Korea it's cheaper, and I've got the money - just. Also, if it had happened next year or maybe the year after when I have pencilled in plans to travel, it would have been disastrous.

Still, the prospect of an entire month's wages being blown on numerous dentist's trips and lots of pain doesn't fill me with excitement.

They gave me some drugs, but I don't think they'll be of the quality to make it all worthwhile.

I was going to describe my weekend but can't be bothered now. Basically, went to a learning Korean class on Saturday, then had a brilliant night out that night with Matt, Denise, Greta and Rebecca. All sorts of stupid things happened, like me making this fat bearded man with a silver helmet dancd with me, and stuff like that. Sunday, I spent the first stages with Denise and then with her and Greta went to a barbecue which was good, but eventually the toothache retired me.

Anyway, I'll be cheered up later. I'm just pissed off now.

Tuesday, 6 April 2004


Due it being "Arbor Day", something to do with planting trees, we had a long weekend with Monday off. The first half of that weekend was great, and I hope to catch up with it later, but the second half was dreadful.

I had toothache which just gnawed and gnawed away at me. Sunday night I got perhaps half an hour sleep, I managed a little more last night. The pain is less today but the left side of my face is swollen.

I went to the dentist (the upside here being that I got to miss my Cosmos class, who can be pretty hard work) and the problem appears pretty serious. Removal of a tooth or two, and replacements needed. Estimated cost: 2 or 3 million. That's up to £1500.

There may be cheaper options but I think that whatever happens won't be cheap. But I've got little choice, seeing that I'm not spending the rest of my life with a swollen face and gnawing pain. Plus, I've barely been able to eat for the last couple of days.

So I'm not at my cheeriest right now.

Thursday, 1 April 2004

Teaching Hungover... Again

Teaching with a hangover is not any fun.

I ended up getting carried away last night, and drinking till 5am, finally finishing in a galbi restaurant. At 10am, when I somehow woke, I was an almighty mess.

Somehow, though, I survived the first few classes really well, my teaching wasn't affected. I think I'm adjusting to Korean lager now, although I pity the kids in my first couple of lessons because I was hellishly flatulent. Mind you, I don't think 6 year olds care.

Last night was an Irish girl's - Jane - leaving night, which basically meant meeting up in Communes and drinking. Not meant to be a heavy session, but all it takes it for one other person to still be drinking and I'll keep going. I like to be last man standing. In this case, it wasn't pansy Matt who wasn't drinking (again) because of a morning class the next day, but a Canadian girl Denise. She doesn't work till 3pm though, so it was fine for her. Alas, after a few drinks all my sense dissipates and I work myself further into a frenzy of alcoholism.

On a different note, I've noticed I'm becoming more violent with the kids recently. If they're not paying attention I like to hit them on the head with a book. Not a big book, or a hard hit, but it's escalating at a worrying rate. It's possible I'll be spearing them within a couple of months.

All I can think of right now is Carrefour pizza and how good it will taste.

Hang on! Today is Thursday which means David buys pizza for the staff! Yes, this is a good day after all. I'm going to be munching pizza like a god damn dervish.