"What's happened to Nev?" seemed to have been a popular question this weekend, as both Matt and Tim relayed the message that a number of people had been expressing it.
Where am I? Well, nowhere really. The truth is,I have become very anti-social recently.
The football has exacerbated this condition, but my sociability index was on a steep downward trend for many weeks before it. Currently, my living schedule is: wake at 3.30am, watch football, study some Korean and do bits and pieces in my apartment till working from 10.30 to 7. I aim to be asleep in bed by 9pm.
I should mention that I'm hugely enjoying this new schedule and am seriously considering maintaining it even after the end of football.
However, it's killed my social life. And I don't care. I no longer have evenings free as I'm sleeping, which means that during the week I see none of my friends. And now, over weekends, as I don't go out drinking any more, this has resulted in most of my friends disappearing from my life. They're just a phonecall away, but to be honest, I can't really be bothered to see them anyway.
A few exceptions. Matt I still see every week. And through him, I see Rebecca also, who I like and get on with. We'll sometimes just meet for coffee, or go and see a film, or just piss about.
I see Tim a lot through both Korean class and the orphanage, which is where I see Mariano too. I also seem to see Laura quite frequently too.
The rest of my friends, increasingly little. A big goodbye for Kristi, who has now left Korea. I knew she was leaving in a few weeks, but it all happened much quicker than expected and suddenly she was having her leaving night on Monday. I knew about it but... just couldn't be bothered. I wanted to go to sleep instead.
The thing is, I'm gloriously happy with my life right now. I enjoy studying Korean, teaching might be tiring but is mostly enjoyable, and I enjoy having all this free time in the morning now, rather than the evening. In the morning I have energy to do things; in the evening I was always knackered.
The crux of the matter is that friendships (especially fairly new ones) need maintenance and I just don't have the time, energy or will for that maintenance. Weekdays, I'd far rather stay in than go out. Weekends, I'd rather wind down than get revved up. I suppose I'm also happy that if I ever want to go out, I can.
Yeah, it's likely that I'll still see some of these forgotten faces in the next month or two, but I'm afraid I'm a rubbish friend right now. I also haven't been drunk in a couple of months - maybe tipsy once. I think, possibly, a big drunken night might be looming. Matt seems keen for one, mostly because he's off his medication, and so is now allowed to drink again.
But when it comes down to it, given a choice between football and friendship, football will always be the victor.