My week started with the biggest project I’ve ever had to do for the writing: a 52 page, who-knows-how-many word beast that I finally submitted on Friday with a massive smile on my face. All research towards the book, I’m awaiting news on the next stage, but I’m assuming it’s going to be to start writing instead of mess around researching any longer.

With that out of the way, this week turned into the kind of ongoing uber-party that I feel is completely justifiable bearing in mind my exertions. Not that I normally bother with the justification…

Friday night was another night out with IZM. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: IZM Design are the greatest English students in history. I know, that pretty much means nothing to anyone outside of Berlitz, but wow! Whilst most of our students are dour businessmen, these guys are work-hard play-hard alcoholics who have more personality then they know what to do with. Normally trying to persuade an English teacher here to drink with their own students – never mind anyone else’s – is camel through the eye of a needle type stuff, at least after the first few weeks. Generally we’re all pretty sick of correcting people and broken English by the end of a working day. It says it all, then, that every night we go out with these guys more people come.

This one was particularly good: Marielle’s birthday at midnight meant a ‘singing room’ inspired (it sounded good when we’d had a few) Birthday Party. The fan came out, we took it in turns to stand in our home made wind tunnel and belt out bad renditions of shocking K-pop songs with a heavy ‘wind’ blowing through our hair. Of course we had the usual BBQ beforehand and the chicken and beer pub exertions afterwards (Koreans literally cannot drink without food in front of them – very bizarre), so by the time we stumbled home at 4am Saturday was always going to make for a pretty tough day. You call it drinking; I call it cross-cultural exchange….

Sunday I finally moved in with Helena – something I’ve been anticipating for a while but still find almost as scary as exciting. I guess I’m just wondering how long it’ll take me to annoy her! It’s been great so far, mind, so touch wood that’s how it’ll stay. For the time being we’re living with another guy called Stuart, who also works for Berlitz, though he’ll be going home in a couple of weeks and we’ll have the place to ourselves. The main issue so far is the complete lack of furniture – as both of us came from furnished apartments – so we’re currently sharing a mattress surrounded by huge heaps of luggage, but we’re working on it.

Our new neighbourhood – which is a whole 500 metres from my old one – is far more Korean, full of old men playing board games in little side streets (probably trying to escape the batty old Korean women, who seem to be pretty much intolerable); high quality BBQ restaurants (mmm) and tiny little flower filled back alleys. There are still foreigners about, but we’re in a massive minority compared to the other side of the main road. I love it.

Helena’s just started a new job in which she works a massive 3 hours per day (I’m insanely jealous) and basically spends the rest of the time enjoying Korea and relaxing. Her new colleagues seemed really nice from night out Mk 2 on Saturday as well. I’m convinced that after my recent work efforts if I ever only had to work three hours a day I wouldn’t know what to do with myself after about a week. That kind of fantasy will have to wait until after Korea, for now it’s all work, sleep, write and occasionally party to forget about it all. Until my second North Korea trip in two weeks that is…

J x

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