Monday, 24 May 2004


It's Monday now, and as the sun shines down over Daegu and warms the layers of pollution, I sit at my school to the (pretty irritating) sound of children playing. I've got a fairly hard day ahead of me, but I don't care because I had a great weekend, one of my best on Korea so far, and I didn't even get drunk.

Yeah, it was a wonderful weekend. Busy but never hectic, full but with space to relax. The sun shone brightly and each day started and finished satisfyingly.

Saturday began about 8am and a couple of hours of studying Korean before going to my Korean class. It was a good class too, where I felt my knowledge pushed but never too far, and I always understood what was going on. And I got 9/10 in the test, which was equal top mark. Such little victories can feel so good.

I had lunch with Tim after the class, then bought a couple of CDs and went back to my apartment. Not for too long though as I had to be at the orphanage for 4pm.

I think the impact we make as teachers at the orphanage is pretty minimal. There's no structure and the kids aren't really wanting another class, they just want to have fun. So while we make an effort to reinforce certain English words and the alphabet, it's all pretty freeform, and if a kid (all girls actually, for the English part) gets bored she just walks away. Or jumps on your head, as one little girl called Man Du (the Korean word for "water dumpling") was keen on doing.

Interestingly enough, an Asian American girl called Emily helped out at the orphanage for the first time that day. This is interesting because upon speaking to her, I discovered she was ethnically Korean but had been adopted when very young by American parents and brought up in America. She was back in Korea to study and learn the Korean language, and so helping at an orphanage was like going full circle.

So that was quite interesting. Unfortunately it was all that was interesting about her, as otherwise she was a bit boring (good looking though).

After the rather random English teaching we all headed outside. No football this time, as the orphanage boys were all absent for some reason, but instead I pushed an incredibly demanding little girl on a swing, and pretended to chase some other girls. They were very easily pleased. They'd inch closer to me, calling me "babu" (jokey Korean word for "fool") and if I even took one step towards them, they'd all run away screaming.

I suppose then that I have taught these orphans something. That is, keep away from the hairy man who says he likes children, no matter how friendly he may seem.

It was a beautiful day and everything felt relaxed, and after dinner at the orphanage I headed back to my apartment, where I relaxed for the rest of the evening. I could have gone out with Matt to see a film but I couldn't be bothered. And I made sure I didn't go out for even a couple of drinks because that inevitably leads to at least a 4am bedtime. Instead, and this is really quite shocking especially for a Saturday night, I was in bed and asleep before midnight.

But I was extremely glad of that in Sunday. For the first Sunday in ages, I was awake early, feeling fresh, and was out of the apartment by 10am. Compared to the hazy hollow wreck I normally am at this time, I felt wonderful. More shining sun and a whole day ahead of me. I did some shopping, then some stuff on the computer (actually, I'm about to apply for a job in Burma, very speculatively, but more on that later maybe), and got some photos back. Then met with Matt in town for about 2pm.

He was supposed to be going to see the football with me but changed his mind, so I went there myself and met with Greta and Mik, and later Eileen to watch Daegu FC lose 3-2 to Seongnam in a fairly entertaining game

Then it was curry time, back at the Pakistani restaurant of last week. Man, it was good. I stuffed myself like a filthy little piece of insect larva. I'm hoping they do indeed stuff themself otherwise my analogy is erroneous. But you get my drift. I also managed to stain my clothes with curry too.

Then home, where I watched some wrestling and eased into the night, where once again I was asleep by about midnight

What's happening to me?

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