There’s a rather fantastic Korean expression – 꽃샘추위 , or Winter Envies The Spring (the cold envies the flowers, if we’re being specific); the phrase referring to the schizophrenic nature of early-year weather in Korea, where a few days’ unexpectedly hot weather is violently punctuated by a disabling cold/snow snap, leaving you in the delirious state of wandering into town with shorts, an umbrella and thick socks – just in case.
Now, however, it has been several months since my last post; the weather has changed from bipolar spring to the more predictable progression of summer, with the living-room thermostat climbing a digit every day or so. In true white-trash fashion, I’m finding vests to be an entirely suitable fashion statement while my rabid beast lolls up and down the apartment. We’ve had a few ominous thunderclaps to emphasise the weather’s confusion, but now I suspect we’re in for the long haul – and my quasi-albino complexion has a gauntlet to run between now and Heathrow.
A lightning-fast update for those who have nothing better to read – practically every weekend is occupied with some kind of inanity, so I’ll do my best to be concise.
Between then and now, the predominantly grey topography of wintry Korea has apparently exploded, leaving white-and-pink fallout fragrantly drifting to the green earth. Nonviolently speaking, spring has sprung like a well-coiled Slinky, and it’s driving the dog apeshit.
Speaking of the aforementioned minibeast, we’re proud to say that the pathetically tiny 2.4kg animal we rescued in December now weighs a whopping 4kg: that’s about the weight of a slightly indulgent bag of rice.
A few weeks [months] back, we and the ‘Mericans ventured into Hongdae, douchebag central of students and nightlife in Seoul, wherein lies the exclusive percentage of the local population daring enough to show any skin from the neck down. I don’t mean to say that was the inspiration for going, but that it proves how wild they get here. I might have seen a bare collarbone at one point.
Our accommodation for the night happened was settled at Big Choi’s Guest House, a discreet and completely welcoming hostel ferreted away in one of Hongdae’s quieter back-allies for the more discerning foreign traveller. Concerning our accommodation, however, we were initially presented with a guiltily dark and quiet room filled with already-unconscious late-night frequent fliers. Our group being who and what they are, conservative use of sound would be a problem. This is the point where our Ukranian, skateboard-toting friend Phil Makarenko (Crackachenko to you, quoth he while skateboarding into a moving bus) reveals the slightly tatty gem of Big Choi’s: an Anne Frank-esque hidden ladder in a tiny cupboard, leading up into the mysterious Attic Room. By ‘mysterious’, I mean ‘mysteriously cosy despite the emphysema-inducing mould apparently used as wallpaper.
On the subject of new discoveries; greet the newly-adopted member of the Obnoxious Crew (actual group name to be confirmed): Anthony Shea, our very own super-duper secret military secrets have-to-kill-you-if-I-tell-you American James Bond. We tend to attract the exciting types.
However, Anthony’s initiation coincides with a decidedly more mournful occasion: our pec-dancingly handsome friend Shaun has left us for the somewhat envious shores of Hawaii. Given such a destination, our sadness is entirely selfish and we can only have schadenfreude hope his job is very, very tiring so he can only go to beach every other day (if Shaun’s reading – we love you really. You have been, will be and are missed something fierce). The leaving ceremony predominantly involved a surprisingly English stubbornness to have a barbeque despite the pissing rain, and the pleasure of having the EOD workshop’s enormous female bulldog, Shelby, enthusiastically humping everybody’s leg.
On a more political note, I gather there’s been some hulabaloo with them familiar-yet-completely-different-and-batshit-crazy neighbours up North: Mr. Kim Jong-Eun said some very hurtful and completely pointless things which were, have been and are entirely ignored by the actual populace of South Korea. It seems the entirety of the world outside of ROK (Republic Of Korea, fyi) had been biting their nails in a pseudo-Cuban Missile Crisis fashion, but the locals honestly couldn’t have given less of a toss. A few of my kids expressed their wisdom in the form of such sentiments as ‘North Korea crazy, teacher,’ or ‘Kim Jong-Eun is dirty psycho and is very very fat.’ With such moral and ethical safeguards as these children, it’s no wonder Jong-Eun’s backed off.