The calm before the storm

With working hours like we have at Berlitz it’s hard not to feel constantly on the brink of burn out. Despite a quiet weekend I’m feeling totally exhausted, and worried as a quick look at the next few weeks shows lots of events that are just too good to sacrifice and an ever heavier schedule. Despite the difficulties at this stage, I can’t help feeling this really is the calm before an intense July storm (think of the money, think of the money…)

I had an offer from Mi Hyun (who has to be the coolest English student I’ve ever met) to go down to Yangpyong (about two hours away) for Friday and Saturday and hang out with the IZM guys for their ‘workshop’ (apparently workshop in Korean primarily means eating, drinking and not a lot of sleeping), which would have been amazing but I simply didn’t have the energy to do that and all the work that was building up at the time. I have a feeling it would have been great too, I’ve had plenty of offers from students to hang out in the evenings and weekends but never to go on a trip before! There’s always next time…

The summer sun is out in force in Seoul, and I spent a large part of the weekend – in between meetings about writing, moving from and cleaning my old apartment and a small forest of work related paperwork – lounging around with a book in the nearby park. On Saturday night Helena and I had a pizza and headed over to Dave’s house party, which was full of people I’ve never met before and a very crippled looking Jamie (who broke his leg dancing – pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Jamie!) DJing in the corner. Nice to meet some new people, but again energy issues forced me home at a strangely sociable hour.

Aside from lying in the sun, the weekends highlight was my first ever game of international football, and an odd one it was too: South Korea against North Korea in a World up qualifying game. Frankly the quality of football was awful, and a 0-0 draw fairly reflected the complete lack of attacking panache displayed by either side, but because of the obvious underlying political implications it was still quite an experience.

The North Korean flag flew over Seoul for a brief couple of hours (certainly not something we’ll see often); instead of there own national flags, locals waved the blue and white Korean reunification flag and both sides were cheered on with almost equal vigour. A highly surreal experience seeing as football fans are normally so partisan. No doubt it would have been a different atmosphere if both sides weren’t already through to the next stage.

It’s already been a long week, playing manager last week has drained me beyond belief, and the intensifying of next months schedule due to lack of teachers is already underway. Help! On the plus side, this weekend is likely to hold some really great moments interviewing the stars of a local festival. But then it might not happen, so I wont go into who just yet… watch this space! Back to fighting the good fight!

James x

PS – Happy birthday Eleanor, enjoy being a teenager! I hope you got your parcel of strange Korean presents ok, and that we can chat soon, love James x

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