During my summer in Canada, before bedtime, after a day of piling wood or mowing grass, lying on the beach or eating bacon, I would often take a walk around the house or a seat on the patio, and attempt to count the stars. I hardly grew up in the city, but never before had I seen a sky so completely covered with tiny, twinkling spotlights as those summer nights in the Canadian country. The silence was glorious, if not a little intimidating. I have never experienced a more peaceful mind.
Last night, before bedtime, I took the lift down from my 10th floor Bucheon apartment, and took a walk around my building. I looked left, looked right, and looked left again, stepped out of my doorway, and jumped desperately out of the way of a kamikaze chicken delivery man on a scooter. At 1am. On a footpath. I looked up, shielding my eyes from the neon Norae-bang and PC-bang signs, and strained to find the stars. On a clear night, I saw not a single one.
We are 1 day short of a week into our 3rd contract in South Korea and in many ways it feels like we've never been away. After a brief fling with a civilised public school existence, we're back to whoring ourselves out to the cut-throat hagwon industry. We had our reasons, trust me. It is important that I remember them in these difficult early days.
Canada, and the UK even more so, seems an awfully long way away. Without internet or a mobile, it is almost possible that I feel more cut off from the world now than I did in rural Ontario, despite the non-stop noise and business flooding 24 hours a day through my senses.
I definitely underestimated what a huge shock to the system my return to Korea would be.