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Month: September, 2012

And suddenly, Namyangju Nausea.

Meg photosynthesises on the balcony. We have a balcony.

Worry not, loyal readers: I am fine, and retain all of my faculties and fluids. Meg, however, has been bed-bound more or less since arrival, so feel free to broadcast sympathies via the handy little ‘comment’ button I have now been made aware of at the bottom of the page (thanks Suzy…). To quote a scholarly and philosophical friend vis-a-vis the fairness of illness and the difficulties of dealing with it in a strange country: ‘it’s a man-eat-dog world out here’.

Feeling somewhat guilty about my self-imposed hermitage in the flat, I have managed to grace a local supermarket with my entirely incomprehensible self. Apparently, starting a sentence with mianhamnida (excuse me…) leads the locals into a false sense of confidence in my linguistic ability, and is indeed rendered pointless by my attempts to mime ‘soy sauce’ after the initial greeting (update: the lady I was asking at the time was, in fact, stocking up the aisle of soy sauce I remained entirely oblivious to for another good 15 minutes or so). I am now the proud owner of a 1.8 litre bottle of the elusive sauce.

Due to contagion we have been thoroughly rude to our wonderfully obliging director, Jun, who has now offered twice to take us shopping; alas, I cannot be trusted sans Meg to purchase anything of use whatsoever. For context: due to my efforts, we are stocked impressively with sweet chilli sauce, Frosties and Ferrero Rocher – but have no cheese, butter, or bin bags.

Suddenly, university does seem like a reflection of life to come.


‘Annyeong hasseyo’, he said…

…though he had meant to say ‘thank you’. However, ‘annyeong hasseyo’ (‘hello/good day’), seems as appropriate as any other way I can think to kickstart a Korean blog.

Henceforth the ramblings of a confused and under-equipped temporary expat shall begin; it’s our first morning in Guri, and rambling is about as much as I can trust of myself. The jetlag is squeezing our brains but we’re not quite hypochondriac enough to complain to everyone yet – not that we’d be able to, anyway. Prepare yourselves for misspelled/garbled attempts at the local language later.

First and foremost: we have our own house. This is a novelty by all accounts, as Having To Share My Stuff has been a consistent theme of family and university life equally. For the time being, we are instead feeding off the generous remains of the previous tenants’ food (thanks John & Steph for the beer, ketchup and inordinate quantities of dried seaweed) and marvelling at the sheer cupboard space. Ordinarily I would praise the fact that we have a balcony but for the current echoing screams of a perturbed child in the street outside.

First impressions and fatigue are impressing on us something fierce; once we can adjust to speaking in gestures to complement our vain attempts at Korean we shall be able to feed back with something a bit more Bryson, perhaps a bit less Withnail & I. For the time being, bohemia and lighter fluid shall suffice.


Ben & Meg