Summer book


It’s taken a full 7 years 8 months 17 days to publish this blog, from the depths of a drafts folder on a blog I rarely even think about, though the experiences I had and the memories I made in Korea live with me every day since. I’m sure I’d like to come back at some point and give a little retrospective on my time since writing my previous forlorn post, and maybe fill in some of the blanks I left between posts.

No doubt I was too busy jamming just as much kimbap into my mouth as possible, marvelling at the urban sprawl, desperately trying to learn Korean, or whatever inane crap floated around my mid-20-year-old head at the time, to actually maintain a decent narrative. It certainly wasn’t with any concern for spell checking. Right now I can see that I wrote the word “peninsular” in the first paragraph and large red lines now loom underneath. Perhaps that’s more an inditement of the technology available at the time. I now live by the sayso of Grammarly and Google Docs.

Anyway, here comes the blog, I’m going to interject some narrative too. We’re starting at a completely jarring moment which resoundingly did not happen three minutes ago in 2018. Enjoy:

About three minutes ago a Korean teacher complained of the heat and declared that real summer was here. We’ve had a calendar month chequered with blazing sun and thunderous rain, but this confirmation by a native is enough to convince me that now the struggle starts. I’m not typically good with heat,  let alone humid, humid heat on the Korean peninsula.

To the ends of cooling myself down, I’ve bought a few short sleeved shirts. One was a bit too thin and didn’t leave much under it to the imagination. Sad face. I’m wearing a probably too colourful shirt I bought from Uniqlo. This coupled with my recent haircut which relieved a surprising number of grey hairs (I’ve had a few since I was 13, it’s not a big deal), every time I catch myself in the mirror, I feel like my own uncle.

I have decisively leant-in on the white hair (it was never grey), there is plenty of it running through my still dark hair and I now have something of a shock of it in quite a large beard I wouldn’t have dreamt I could grow back then.

It’s probably something to do with having (nearly) a year of activity in a foreign country, but I feel like my life is speeding up. I’m getting a yearning for a real, career job. Some sort of path. Surely, to quote Dylan Moran, I’m just a tall child holding a pint of beer.

While not even being in “real” employment beyond the level of temporary office bod, I had lurching future career panics. For a while last year I was utterly convinced that I’d gone wrong at A-Level and should have followed the path of the photographer. I still feel like that’s a career I could really live. I’ve gone through the long wait to get enough money to study a Master’s course in a field of Biology. I’m interested in London but still haven’t quite got the necessary cash together, let alone the inclination to live there. Every time I’ve been it just seems to be teeming with rude people.

I got there! I went back to Uni, got a MSc in Biological Photography at Nottingham with the incredible £6k I managed to save in Korea. After a few paid photo gigs decided that actually I prefer sitting around in an office so I became a graphic designer. That was via marketing, which was, in fairness, fucking dull.

Change of subject

The Koreans

I just finished reading the above book. I read it in my usual fashion of torturing myself over a couple of pages for about a month (or longer) after buying it then falling headlong into a pattern of addictive reading over the course of a week.

And here’s where the blog originally ended. Quite the fascinating review, I wonder what it was that I was going to say. Looking back at the book, I reference it every so often when talking about Korea (to anyone who can tolerate me doing that any more), and I have just discovered to my delight that Michael Breen has just (well, last year) written a new book, which was an insta-purchase over on Amazon.

Perhaps I’ll come back to the blog once I’ve read that to give a more full analysis.