Saturday, 1 May 2004

Korean And The Orphanage

Another day in the ongoing transformation of me from being a useless drunken waster to a useful, productive and positive member of society. I'll be a Christian before you know it.

I slept in however, till 8.30am this morning, a rare slumburious luxury. I'd been out last night, not drinking but seeing a DVD with Matt (who had a very amusing tale which I'm sworn to secrecy about and can't possibly tell here, I'm afraid). We saw Cube 2, which was like Cube (1) but slicker and even more cryptic. I could watch endless films about people stuck in cubes, just shove them in there, film it, and I'm a happy, happy young man.

Anyway, so I got up, did some light revision and was at the YMCA for before 11am, where my weekly Korean class takes place. As you may know, all I have done in the last two weeks is hardcore studying of Korean. I've been up at 7am each weekday morning, do two hours of study, go to work, then do an hour or two in the evening after work. My social life has evaporated into nothingness, but I don't care. I'm hugely enjoying learning the language and in two weeks I've come from knowing almost nothing to now being able to (slowly) string sentences together, past and present tense.

However, I always get a bit nervous before the Korean class, because when you've devoted your week to learning the language you kind of hope the class will go well and reflect the work you've put into it.

And today went by brilliantly. I understood everything that happened. My written Korean isn't bad at all, and now I'm managing to transfer that to speaking, and now that I understand the grammar and sentence structure, it's just a matter of learning words. But after two weeks I feel I've made massive progress, and if I can keep it up then I hope to be able to hold a reasonable conversation by... I have no idea. I want to leave Korea being able to speak the language.

So I left the 2 and a half hour class feeling great, had lunch with Tim and Ericka, then went back to my apartment before heading off to my orphanage.

Ah, the orphanage. My key to having a good CV, impressing girls with my sensitive and caring nature (already having an impact), my ticket to heaven and also a free meal. The food's crap but if it's free I'll eat anything.

Yeah, when I was asked by the Korean teacher in my Korean class what I was doing this afternoon, my answer (oh-hu eh - orphanage(I forget the Korean word offhand) - eh kayo) elicited what was almost a woo of wonder from the teacher and a couple of other young ladies. They seemed less impressed when I was asked how often I went and said "Every Saturday, as long there's not football on."

So, the orphanage was fun. Some slightly chaotic alphabet lessons followed by football, whereby I can pretend that my terrible ability is better than it is when surrounded by small children. For a rubbish player like myself, there can be no greater satisfaction than cruising through a field of players before rounding the keeper and scoring.

Unfortunately it looks like I may be in the orphanage fund raising football match in June. This will be against actual adults, and the sheer folly that is me attempting football will be impossible to mask. Some of you may recall I played - inexplicably - as captain and goalkeeper for my university department football team, something which looks far better on paper than on the pitch.

(I let in over 60 goals in 8 games.)

Here's some Korean for you. This would, of course, be written in Hanguel, the Korean script, but non-Korean computers wouldn't be able to recognise the characters so I'll transliterate to English.

eonul eoje yeol-si eh Matt chingu-lul mannayo.

That means, roughly: 10pm tonight I'll meet my friend Matt.

I can do much more but my mind is resting from Korean right now and will get back into gear tomorrow.

So I'm meeting Matt tonight, and join up with Eileen, Maebh and Denise. A few quiet drinks but I hope to be home by 2am at the latest, and I won't get drunk.

I don't know what's happening to me either.

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