Farewells & Bodily Malfunctions

There’s something very strange going on with my body right now. I seem to – for some bizarre reason – have developed a kind of on/off illness that hits me every so often and retreats back in to whatever dark hole it was hiding in. On Friday night, for example, I spent the entire night writhing around in my own sweat, audibly moaning and no doubt keeping Helena up in the process. I finally drifted off to sleep at about 4am, woke up with a slight headache and proceeded to work a completely normal working day on Saturday. It’s not the first time this has happened in the last couple of weeks, and it’s very, very weird.

Anyway, my strange illness (which seems to be fading, so don’t worry!) aside, this weekend was an odd one. Saturday night was Helena’s leaving party. I’m writing this on Sunday night, after she left for Malaysia, and the house is already feeling extremely empty. She will be back for five days on Sunday morning, but the reality of nearly two months in different continents is starting to set in, and it really sucks.

The party was a good one, a fairly peaceful farewell held in an Irish bar with an impressive turn out. I’m hoping mine – less than two months away now! – will involve a little more loud music and technicoloured projectile vomiting, but we shall see. In the midst of the party everyone’s attention was drawn to the final of the Olympic baseball. I know that acknowledging a love for baseball is tantamount of renouncing my UK citizenship, but I must admit that since coming to Korea I’ve developed quite an affection for it. I’ve been following my host nation’s progress through to the final – especially the double win against arch rivals Japan, which sent everyone over here completely nuts – with great interest. Yes, I’m sorry Mark, it IS more interesting then cricket. Though not more interesting than 20/20 cricket, but that’s another story…

The final was against Cuba, who –despite Korea’s undefeated record and victory against them in the group stages – were big favorites to take home the gold. Baseball is played over nine innings, and going into the ninth Korea had defied the odds and were leading the islanders 3-2. All they had to do was not conceded a run, but everything didn’t go to plan. The Korean pitcher completely capitulated, walking a series of Cuban hitters until the bases were loaded, with only one man out. In baseball this is about as bad a situation as you can be in – almost a guarantee of one run, most teams would expect three or four.

A new pitcher came in, played a wonderful ‘double out’ play and Korea picked up their first ever baseball gold in their first ever baseball final. Unsurprisingly, the locals went absolutely crazy.

The Olympics have been wonderful over here. Firstly, the clean up in Beijing has made a real noticeable difference to the pollution levels in Seoul. Clearly the Koreans weren’t making it up when they said all the pollution comes from China. Then there’s the medals: 18 golds for Britain so far, and Korea aren’t doing too badly either. It’s made for a great atmosphere, and quite a lot of friendly student baiting over our dramatic overturning of their medal table position. Sure, there’s been plenty of controversy: underage Chinese girls, drugged horses, what happened to the protestors licenses and did Michael Phelps win that race? Frankly I couldn’t care right now, it’s closing day and I loved every minute. Back to work,

J

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