27th December - Guitar Playing President and Gecko’s

After enjoying a day off to celebrate President’s Day and the political success of Roh Moo Hyun (popularly known by many as the guitar playing President) on Dec 19th, six days later, on Christmas Day, we headed to Gecko’s, a restaurant/bar in the heart of Itaewon, Seoul. There were Irish people everywhere, although one of our group was a Canadian by the name of Carmelo.

I have to tell you a little about Carmelo because he is a character. A few of the Westerners who teach in Korea are sometimes money obsessed and Carmelo takes things to extremes. Rather than pay the costs of a gym for example, he went to the local store and bought 8 litres of water and then put 4 bottles of water in a bag and 4 bottles in another bag. He now uses these bags of water for weight training.

3rd January - Snow and the Queen

Happy New Year everyone! Also, thank you to everyone who has written concerned about us being attacked by North Korea. It's not going to happen!!! No South Korean ever thinks or talks about the North attacking. When I mentioned my concerns a few times to Koreans they laughed. Despite the present tension these last few months between the North and South, no one is worried here except for the Westerners. One thing I have found confusing is that so many Koreans have plans to study in the U.S. on MBA's or plan to move there, yet Korea is very anti-American with almost daily marches to protest against the U.S. Overall though, it has to be said that Koreans are very kind and pleasant.

Well, we have had one of the two New Years Eve’s here so far. We have had the Western one on Jan 1st and we have the Chinese New Year at the end of the month, which is a bigger celebration here. You will all be happy to know though, that we didn't let the Western society down, as we downed a good number of beers on New Years Eve. I didn't think about it before, but last year I lived in 3 countries (Baltimore - US, Dublin - Ireland and then Seoul – Korea). The only resolution this year is to settle down a bit more.

Today the snow’s been falling like there’s no tomorrow. In the middle of the day it went dark, as a snowstorm lashed Seoul and it was a welcome distraction in one of my lessons. It meant I could look out the window as part of the lesson and discuss the weather at length, with the student. I missed the Queens [of England] Christmas yearly message this year being in Korea. Ah well. That speech is usually a good way of falling asleep on Christmas afternoon. Take care. (If you have not seen the new Harry Potter movie, take a pillow with you. It’s three hours long).

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