f you’ve been following this blog for a while – apparently there are a few of you – you’ll remember the working hours Berlitz staff used to put in over in Seoul. Rumour has it they’ve died down a lot due to the recession, a little like it has here. Except here we have the occasional week of madness, and last week was one of them.
The problem with combining more structured teaching with freelance work and writing work is it’s just so unpredictable. I’m sat here now with a big backlog of articles to write (sometimes the blog does take priority!), and next to no classes to teach for the next two weeks, but by the time my parents (and no longer so little Eleanor!) turned up on Friday night I was reaching Seoul levels of tiredness.
This weeks eclectic collection of articles that have made it to printare on OJ Simpson making an idiot of the justice system (for Bling magazine, back in South Korea); a travel article on South Korea in springtime (for Romar Traveler, an American web magazine) and the interview I did with Irish instrumental punk band And So I Watch You From Afar last week (for State Magazine, in Ireland).
Anyway, after my family arrived on Friday we managed to grab a decent nights sleep, and then headed off to do pretty much the same tour of Dublin I did with my aunt and uncle a few weeks back: Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, St Stephens Green, Trinity etc. Dublin is much nicer to see from another angle, especially knowing that I won’t be doing any work all weekend. Having it pre-determined that I won’t do anything seems to take my mind of it.
I think my parents probably saw the rough side of Dublin as well though. A man on the bus to the airport wanted ‘sponsorship’, and kicked up a fuss when he didn’t get it. He didn’t seem to have any intention of explaining what the sponsorship was for. In Temple Bar a bouncer gave some foreign guy a smack on the face well out of the way of any of the bar doors (who knows what he was doing there), and the crowd that appeared in Smithfield for the horse fair on Sunday morning were about as unsavory as they come. It didn’t pass them by, but I’m sure they had a good time anyway.
After the Dublin tour – and some fantastic drinks from the Butler’s Chocolate Café – we headed for the Guinness Brewery. I also went there a few weeks back, but it doesn’t get any less impressive – very well laid out, and it manages to stop short of an excessive ‘you must drink Guinness’ feel. The glass pint glass shape that fills the entire inside of the warehouse, holding around a days worth of Guinness (for the entire world, of course) is very clever. The Gravity Bar’s not too bad either. Throw in a good bit of Korean food, and Saturday was a good day.
I entered the Great Ireland Run several months back, with every intention of training properly. The training didn’t materialize (I think I did perhaps six runs in total to ‘prepare’ ), but I decided that I’d paid the entry fee, so I was going to do it anyway. So early Sunday afternoon, after mingling with the horses in Smithfield, we all walked the extremely long trek up to the far end of Phoenix Park for the run.
I think the last time I ran 10km was probably several months ago, so I thought I’d be realistic and aim for anything below and hour, and getting round the whole thing without stopping. I did stop once – to tie my shoe lace, honest – and got round in 56.29,(click and type race number 2360) which is more than 50% longer than my best time three years ago. I guess I really need to work on my fitness! Great fun though, I’ve missed the atmosphere of running events; everyone but the very best people are only competing against themselves, and it makes for a really fun, supportive vibe. I had to choose the colors of an Irish county to run in, so I ran in Mayo colors as that’s where Helena’s from. I’m not sure I did the county particularly proud!
To be continued!