We spent the weekend before staring our new jobs in Itaewon. Itaewon was kind of the international area in Seoul. Actually, it is the international area in Seoul. If you wanted a taste of home, a big pair of jeans for your giant western arse, or to be attacked by a drunken American soldier, it was the place to be!
On the Saturday morning we visited a café owned by a Canadian couple for brunch. I had the most delicious French toast with bacon. It was so good! While we were digesting and enjoying our coffees, a group of Irish ladies entered, sat a few tables over from us, and started having a really loud conversation. Myself and herself stopped talking to have a nose.
It was fucking hilarious. It turned out that they were involved in the GAA set up over there. One of their team mates had gotten a bit too cocky for their liking, and they were tearing shreds off of her. I burst out laughing when one of them said, “She tells everyone that she’s from Terenure, but she’s Tallaght through and through!” They glared at me, but then started laughing awkwardly. It was a really nice moment; it calmed me and made me feel that I wasn’t actually that far from home after all.
Our current apartment was roughly an hour and a half train ride from the school. On the morning of the first day we got up early and treated ourselves to a cronut and coffees from the train station Dunkin’ Donuts.
We normally ate gimbap for breakfast. Gimbap was kind of the Korean equivalent of an Irish breakfast roll. It was lot healthier than the Irish version too. Basically it was a long, segmented roll of sushi wrapped in tinfoil. It cost roughly 50 cent. It was very filling, very healthy, and very disgusting to eat first thing in the morning.
I could never get used to seaweed, rice and fish first thing in the morning. This bogman liked his porridge! It’d be grand for lunch, or an early evening snack, but my stomach always lurched on those early mornings. I’d have to close off my nostrils before taking my first bite, and keep them closed until the first segment was consumed. I liked the bitterness of the pickled radish, but the seaweed’s texture and taste always made me want to puke. Herself loved it. She vocalised her love of it even more when she used to see me struggling, just to wind me up. It worked.
Herself got us a couple of large bottles of water and a few notebooks and pens from the 7/11. Apparently the school would be providing us with a traditional ‘British’ lunch as a welcome. I was getting pig-sick of people telling us we were British, but a free lunch was a free lunch.
Actually, I have to elaborate on this point. I’m not speaking for everyone on the island of Ireland here, I’m speaking for myself. I’m sure it is an opinion though that a lot of Irish people will share. I fucking hate it when people of another nationality assume I’m British. Ireland is a separate country, with a completely different cultural identity, language and traditions. It’s a level of ignorance that I really have a hard time accepting.
I don’t hate the Brits. I bear them no ill will whatsoever; it’s just that I associate a lot of negative things to the word British. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Flat, warm, flavourless beer and conversation
- Complaints over trivial matters in holiday resorts
- Destroying football stadiums
Look, we have some similarities, but we’re not the same. I’d apologize to my British friends for this hard-line standpoint, but they have yet to apologize to me for:
- The Famine
- Oliver Cromwell
- The X Factor
So they can fuck off!
Next time: Let us pray
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