Reverse-Reverse Culture Shock

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.

Love, Smithy x


From Canadia With Love

A quick glance over to the right of this page will show that I haven't posted a single one time in 2011. It's September. Now that simply isn't good enough, is it?

If truth be told, I've lacked the inspiration to put fingers to keyboard for the last year or so. I last posted in October 2010 when I was living amongst the Welsh in central Cardiff. The Canadian was a-learning and yours truly was a-working. That job was one of the weirdest of my life, and deserves a blog all of its own. I met some of the strangest people, some of the cruellest people and some of the most moronic people I have ever had the (dis)pleasure to - and that was just the management. Trust me, this is not bitterness. I had quite a decent experience. I'll just have to explain more another time.

Anyway, we left the UK in early July and travelled westwards to the United Republic of Canadia. Here, I have gained 10 pounds, learnt to drive a ride mower, rocked a fitted and met a retarded raccoon. It has been a hell of a summer. And it's nearly over.

Korea beckons once more, and my Canadian and I will once more fly west to teach English in the east. 1 more year of Asian adventure awaits and we couldn't be more excited. The E-2 visa process is nearly over for one more year (one that hasn't been much less eventful than last time) and we are counting down our last few days in Canada. Exactly what our role and location in Korea will be, I won't share yet. Simply because so much as gone wrong already that I'm not going to presume we're home and dry until we're actually home and dry. But all in good time, my friends.

Anyway, it is great to be back and I will definitely be keeping this updated as we navigate through our latest adventure.


Love, Smithy x