Letter from Korea, October 2013


Suwon, Korea
Ocotober, 2013

Dear Ireland,

It has been well over a month since myself, Herself, and +1 have been back in Korea, and what I expected would be my September letter got left by the wayside and is only being seen to now in October. You know you’ll get the usual excuses for not doing anything which isn’t vital to one’s survival, such as being busy with things which are vital to one’s own survival.

After two and a bit months in Ireland, returning to Korea for life, work, and more life, was less the shock we had thought it might be. A smaller home, no garden, no dog, less rain, and that view from all the way up at the top of our tower just seemed to be what was right at the time. There seems to be less culture shock the more we travel between Ireland and Korea.

Update: Some photos from the last month and a bit back in Korea

When we first came back to Ireland we walked around in a half-daze finding it hard to comprehend that the last time we were here was almost two years beforehand. Yes, we had been back briefly in April for a funeral, but this was different. With the funeral we knew that we only had so much time and that we would be busy, obviously, and the week passed quicker than we knew it before we were back in Korea.

Two months is in many respects a long time, but you know it’s never long enough some times. Every time I seem to go home I seem to leave everything I want to do until the last two weeks of my time. This includes meeting friends, going into Dublin, and a whole list of other things. Maybe because I just feel comfortable up to that point until when I realise that it’s all going to be miles away in a mere matter of days.

This August though, we returned relatively scar free to Korea and returned to the regular humdrum. It’s a humdrum though that exists for everyone after their holiday, regardless of where they were or how long they were away for. Maybe we’re getting better at it, and maybe we’re becoming more aware of what it is we should be doing and when we should be doing it. In this case, it’s getting on with our day in the middle of all the other days.

We go to work, we go shopping, we take +1 out for walks and to her little classes, we meet friends, we go for dinner, and on occasion I get a little drunk. We complain about the weather and things that aren’t working properly in our apartment, we say hello to neighbours we recognise and wonder why others still don’t pay any attention to us even though we’re living here three years. The sunsets continue to decorate that sky to the right when I look out the window around six or seven every night, and always we see our little daughter growing stronger and more mobile to the point that we are often lost for words. This is just a snapshot of everything that occupies us, and I believe we all have our comparisons tidied away somewhere.

At the back of all this foreground lies our future. We could not continue to move forward without knowing what lies there. We have been fortunate enough to be given the many opportunities presented to us, and we know each moment presents opportunity. Korea for all the things it is not is definitely a boiling pot of opportunity, you just have to fight harder to make the most if it. The life I have delved, almost accidentally it seems sometimes, has brought a mightly stew of changes in my life, and my family’s life. Opportunities have been taken and missed, but regrets are something we seem to have few of.

On the east coast of Korea in a small town called Jeongdongjin, right on the coast and just south of Gangnueng, you can see this happening but you need to wait around for a while.

Right beside the broad white beach is a small urban park, and the centre piece is a rather large cylindrical egg-timer. Yes, an egg-timer as I know it as, that drops grain after grain through a tiny hole bit by bit counting down until the end of the year, until it rolls over and starts again.

We never see a grain dropping and we would need to spend the entire year to see the results of this ever gradual change. But like most who see the change, we come and and we go and we see it at different stages of progression.

In the future we know that by sitting here and watching everything reverberate and rotate balancing on its fulcrum, we know that things change with every minute. From full to empty and half-full again, it is worth taking a step back and realising that we never see progress as it happens, only once it has passed.

We don’t need anniversaries or milestones really to see this, just the patience to allow each grain of sand to pass through the hole and for the mound of white sand grow and grow until we have our own little mountain.

St Patrick’s Day in Seoul, 2013


If you haven’t heard already, I’m chairman of the Irish Association of Korea, and every year around this time we organise a small get together. You might have heard of it, we call it Saint Patrick’s Day.

I won’t blether on too much about it as my brain is exhausted at the simplest mention of the event, however give this link a click and you’ll find all the info you need about the event.

St Patricks Day, Seoul 2013

For some photos from last year’s event, please take a look at my good friend Tom Coyner’s shots from the festival. Tom is also knee deep in this wee event that is taking place in Seoul and is celebrating Irish and Korean links.

irish korea

Go on, you know you want to!

Things you should do to make your writing more effective.


1. Write about yourself.

2. Don’t write about yourself.

3. Cook dinner.

4. Don’t describe anything.

5. Remember stuff you can’t recall.

6. Don’t write about stuff you don’t care about.

7. Don’t write about stuff nobody cares about.

8. Everyone cares about something. Write about it.

9. Check your spellings.

10. Don’t use fucking metaphors.

11. Be bizarre.

12. Be straight.

13. Write drunk.

14. Be addicted to something.

15. Sign up for facebook/twitter/tumblr/pinterest/linkedin/wattpad etc.

16. Delete your facebook/twitter/tumblr/pinterest/linkedin/wattpad etc. account.

17. Have sex with someone you shouldn’t.

18. Go without sex for years.

19. Break your heart.

20. Hate everything.

21. Travel.

22. Look at stuff.

23. Walk.

24. Read stuff that annoys you.

25. Listen to music loud all day in your bedroom with the door closed but the window open.

26. Take sentences and rearrange them.

27. Copy people.

28. Smell stuff.

29. Examine the contents of your hair, and I mean all your hair.

30. Sell something important to you.

31. Lose something.

32. Hurt yourself.

33. Hurt someone else.

34. Read.

35. Don’t read.

36. Don’t use punctuation.

37. Manufacture new words.

38. Rhyme every word/sentence.

39. Find out what syntax actually means.

40. Learn how to spell words you can’t spell.

41. Write with a black ink pen.

42. Write in circles.

43. Draw pictures.

44. Smell the paper.

45. Fix the keyboard on your computer.

46. Vomit in an alley.

47. Touch yourself.

48. Touch someone else.

49. Eat old yoghurt.

50. Watch television all day.

51. Buy a subscription for a magazine and never read it.

52. Steal free stuff.

53. Look at yourself in the mirror before you shower.

54. Leave your home.

55. Learn a new language.

56. Soil yourself.

57. Burn the tip of your index finger on your good hand.

58. Wear no socks.

59. Get married and start a family.

60. Read poetry.

61. Grow a plant.

62. Have too many pens and notebooks.

63. Be sick.

64. Have friends who always let you down.

65. Choose your favourite font.

66. Read the fine print.

67. Move to a cabin on a mountain.

68. Drink too much coffee.

69. Drive all night to get somewhere.

70. Turn off the lights late at night and sit there, wherever, watching the room turn bright as your eyes adjust to the light.

71. Sing out of tune.

72. Listen to a person’s story.

73. Question.

74. Clean something.

75. Pick your toenails.

76. Write a blog.

77. Read a dictionary.

78. Find a comfortable place to sit.

79. Ask someone to read what you wrote.

80. Read what someone else wrote.

81. Edit.

82. Delete everything.

83. Tell someone you love them.

84. Ask the way to get somewhere.

85. Eat too much.

86. Read a ‘how to’ guide.

87. Eat a whole lemon.

88. Roll a joint and smoke it all to yourself.

89. Pray.

90. Talk on the phone with a friend for a long time.

91. Sit in a bar alone.

92. Read the spam in your inbox.

93. Like/Retweet something.

94. Buy a nice suit.

95. Keep a secret.

96. Grieve.

97. Be cynical.

98. Be incessant.

99. Be old.

100. Be young.

 

HBC Fest – Rock n’ Roll (and some folk) Photos


Here are some more pics from May’s HBC Fest, this time I’m keeping all things musical this time and focusing purely on the live acts. I have a few more pictures of the crowd’s antics to post but I’m going to give the people who make the Fest worth going to some credit – in fairness it wouldn’t be much of a music festival without much music, right?

These photos are going to start from the beginning, around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I didn’t get to see everyone, but everyone I did see did get a photo included. I decided to go with a slideshow this time.

Enjoy!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

By-the-by, let me know what you think of how this was presented – did the slideshow work? I have other options for displaying photos that I’m currently exploring. I want to avoid the big long post of photos I’ve been doing in the past.

If you’d like me to send you some photos, please contact me.

 

 

Seoul Artists Network Open Mic – December 19, 2010


Not for the first time, yours truly took to the stage with a completely new collection of poems to be read for the wonderful patrons of the Seoul Artists Network Open Mic in Itaewon, Seoul. This Sunday’s event took place in Tony’s Itaewon, which I wrote about reading in before. This time though was a typical SAN affair without the usual levels of debauchery.

Piano Talking

 

When I First Heard Jazz

 

A Bunch of Grapes

 

Do I Look Good in This

 

Lyrics for Beginners

 

You can watch more of my videos on my youtube channel, conzieinkorea.