September 1


There goes the summer. Without a blink or nod of recognition Autumn is upon us. There has been enough talk about the weather already so I shall spare you and I further discomfort. The Irish summer is a subject best discussed from more summery climes. Regardless it does little to explain the speed it passes with.

Maybe it is because today is a day I previously would have returned to work after a long and hot summer break. But I’m not in Korea any longer so it’s of little consequence. What is notable is that in July I went back to work and pretty much worked all through the summer, for better or worse, for the first time in around six years. You grow used to creature comforts like a two and half month summer holiday, which I’m probably only just about to appreciate a little more now.

Second and even more significant was that in May Herself gave birth to our second daughter, who I suppose you can refer to as +2 (not wanting to break from convention or anything). This happening has basically swamped us with greater responsibility and fears, and with me going back to work a little earlier than at first planned the challenges have been compounded. It is because of this a variety of emotional and physical challenges have personified our summer, normally considered a more relaxing time of year, as a hectic and frustration laden season.

One of the biggest challenges has been trying to keep +1 at the forefront of our attentions, while at the same time trying to care for a new and bubbly little baby girl. It’s not that we care any less for either of them, it’s just that all the time in the world we had before has now been split in two. This has been the challenge, but I think with +1 starting Montessori this week things will change a little for the better.

And now you wonder what lies ahead for this autumn and the winter that follows? We will continue on in hope and worry about the next step that needs to be taken.

Probably with the summer over I can worry less about missing the whole of my favourite season due to work commitments. Myself and Herself would love to travel again, and while we will be in London this weekend with her parents, I miss the sense of adventure experienced when visiting a country I’ve never seen before. We check the Ryanair prices all the time, but in the back of our minds is a big planned return to Korea next spring to celebrate +2’s and Herself’s new niece’s birthdays. Aside from the obvious festivity which would surround a trip like this, we are both keen to return and catch up with many of our friends who we miss.

I think at times this past year we have both worried was it the right decision to leave Korea. It has been a long year, as we suffered many ups and downs with my work situation and Herself’s pregnancy was not the rosy cheeked adventure anyone who has never had kids might imagine pregnancy to be. I think we reached breaking point on more than one occasion but despite these tribulations much has been overcome and we look forward to the future optimistically again.

It is always reassuring that despite your doubts when you can turn to someone you love and who you rely on and they can reassure you that the decisions made were the right ones and that there is little to be done about circumstance. Deep breaths, short sleeps, laughterless afternoons, hour after hour passing are trials easily overcome with the support of a loved one, and especially one who is as tired and stressed as you are.

I’m an optimist at the worst of times, and I feel that this will be my undoing in the long run. I am sitting in a café on Dublin’s Harrington Street looking out the big bay window as I type and there is tall and broad, bright green sycamore tree in front of me. Through the tiniest gaps in the leaves is a streak of blue through pale white clouds, and that is where I look to. Not to right where the a dark summer rain heavy cloud lurks in its steady progress to take over my scant blue triangle in the leaves. These small glimpses through the leaves are what motivate me. There is always a chance that something good will come of even the worst summer many Irish living can recall. I wish and I hope, and I encourage myself to see the brightness in the dark, the colour in the monochrome, and find the warm cinders in the long dead ashes of a fire.

September I look forward to you, and to October and November aswell. Sure who knows what will become of you, or us, or the people sitting around in the café where I write this. I can only hope the best for everyone.

 

Thanks for reading, if you liked what you saw here please leave a comment below and share your summer story, or perhaps tell me and your fellow readers what motivates you to get on with life.

 

Korea in May


So why no blog post for a while you ask? Well I don’t know. I had something to think about then I realised…whatever…so I stopped. I could have been serious but that would have been something difficult. So I’m on the dry, blog wise. So to cheer you up here are some photographs from May in Korea, which is always a lovely month here.

 

All photographs were taken by me, Conor O’Reilly. I use a Nikon D5100 with Nikkor DX 35mm f/1.8 lens, and I edit in Lightroom only. Pictures were taken in Suwon, Jumunjin, Pyeongchang, Seoul, and Hwaseong. Remember to check my Flickr for more regular uploads, and I’m also on Instagram.

Of course, you’ll recall my post from Buddha’s Birthday, and Monochrome Seoul which have more pictures from this past month.

 

Korea – a country that loves a good Day!


Korea is a great country for celebrating a day – Valentine’s Day, White Day and Black Day for the loved and loveless in our lives, Pepero Day for the children, then there’s an unknown amount of nattional holidays for all sorts of patriotic reasons, the most recent being Independence Day (March 1), the name of which is debatable. Being a armchair know-it-all I’m basing this on Wikipedia – which is mostly edited by 25 year old males – but when I ask any Koreans, herself included, they all say that it’s revolution day, or the day that Koreans first rose up against Japanese rule. Perhaps revolution day sounds a little to red for the the right minded over here. Incidentaly, ‘Indepedence Day’ is called ‘Liberation Day’ – can someone explain to me the difference?

What other days are there? Well it turns out there are a lot and many of them revolve around love – which is lovely.

Actually, the list of love days is long and not limited to thos described above. You might have heard about celebrations between couples celebrating their first 100 days as a couple, 백일. The connection with the fourteenth of the month and love is not limited to just the early spring months. For some reason, the fourteenth of the month is a day when you should think about your loved one or if you’re single do something depressing and dehumanising… Here’s a breakdown of days and their significance and a lover’s responsibility on that day:

January 14 is Diary day – the day you buy a diary for your boyfriend or girlfriend (I assume so that they don’t forget important days, such as the ones in this list)

February, March and April 14 have been discussed extensively elsewhere (see above for a link)

May 14 is Rose or Yellow Day – on this day you should give yellow roses to your beloved. If you didn’t manage to get hooked up on Black Day you have a second chance because today you should go and have curry and hope for the best.

A yellow rose or a yellow curry?

June 14  is Kiss Day – this one speaks for itself but I’m not sure what single people should do…

July 14 is Silver Day – This is not as you would expect and certainly cheaper too, especially for me, because on this magical day  the oldest person in the couple must pay for their date. As for single people…maybe they have to drink liquid silver or stare in a silver mirror and look depressed…

August 14 is Green Day – Lovers must venture into the forest and shower themselves with the fresh air, otherwise known as forest shower (just as well there’s no Gold Day). Single people get a better deal on this day – they should go and drink soju, the quantity of which depends on how miserable you are because you are single.

Would you prefer a walk in the wild or just to drink all of this?

September 14 is Photo (or music) Day – Avoid Samcheon-dong, Insadong, and other areas know for their cuteness and photographers because today couples should go out and take pictures together. Single people should go to a nightclub and put o…I mean dance to music they like.

October 14 is called Wine Day – This day obviously should be every day, but going with the theme this also benefits both couples and singles as couples can be romantic and eat pasta with cream or tomato sauce (as this seems to be the standard option) and singles can have Bridget Jones moments with a bottle of red and some songs from their youth played loudly.

November 14 is Movie Day – you can tell that the person who came up with this nonsense was really running out of ideas. 

December 14 is Hug Day – what better way to finalise a year of lover’s days with a nice slap in the face to all those who need a hug the most by putting up a day where lover’s should hug each other.

There are a few other days out there too, like Apple Day on October 24, which is a day to apologise because apples mean sorry. It was apparently started off to stop school violence. There are no offical statistics to offer an idea on the effectiveness of the day. There’s also Ace Day which obviously didn’t do as well as Pepero Day.

However, the day of days is coming tomorrow and one that I will certainly celebrate with vigour.

3/3 or 삼삼

Samyeopsal Day!

Yes, I will have it all for the economy's sake.

 

Fire up the barbecue, chase those vegans and leaf-eaters down the street – today is the day for supporting the poor farmers who lost their livelihoods to foot and mouth disease!