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Happy New Year

Last week I made arrangements to go out with my taekwondo masters for New Year’s Eve. When I got to taekwondo last night, Lee Sabeomnim, my main teacher, the one who speaks the better English (though still not very good), was evidently feeling down – in the office, she was sitting slumped with her head on her arms. She explained that her mum has some neurological disease like Alzheimer’s and she had to look for her. At first – and throughout class – I thought she meant look after her. At the end I realised that she really had to go looking for her mum with her friends – she’d gone missing. So our night out didn’t happen.

Earlier in the day Lee Sabeomnim had sent me a slightly confusing text message – although it was only confusing because I didn’t realise who it was from. A couple of texts later – with me having explained that I get up at midday and I was currently having breakfast – she called me ‘잠꾸러기’ (‘jamkkureogi’) which means ‘sleepyhead’. I texted back with ‘네. [‘ne’ – ‘yes’] -_- zzzz’.

Further back in time, the previous Saturday I’d been to Yongsan with our new colleague, Travis. He bought a couple of items he needed and I bought the new Nickelback album, Dark Horse (which I’d known nothing about) and Metallica’s ‘Black’ album. Which latter I gave to my two masters on Monday, in return for having received a diary as a gift from Lee Sabeomnim the previous week. So we did some of our exercises to the strains of ‘Enter Sandman’ and ‘Sad But True’ – until Lee Sabeomnim turned it off, anyway. I got my green belt, as well.

So back to last night – I considered contacting someone from my roleplaying group who’d said on the Yahoo! group that he was going out in Nowon. Then I thought I’d see what So-young and possibly Botond were doing. Bo was still out of the country, but So-young agreed to meet me for a coffee. So we chatted for an hour or so up until midnight, wished each other Happy New Year and goodnight and went home. I suppose I could’ve hooked up with the roleplayers after that, but joining a group where everyone’s already drunk isn’t a very attractive proposition – I’d rather get drunk along with everyone else right from the start.

So I went home and watched a bit more Green Wing and QI, played some Hammerfall and went to bed.

New Year’s Eve didn’t have the fireworks I was hoping for, but it was a nice enough evening. I’m not really disappointed. For much of my life the only thing I’d done on 31st December was watch TV, but last year I was in Varanasi, hanging out with Nathan and Adam at a hotel party; the previous year I went into central Seoul and watched the celebrations by City Hall and walked through throngs of people firing handheld fireworks into the air; the year before that I’d just moved to London and went down to Westminster to watch the firework display and the countdown projected on to the tall building next to the old Greater London Council building; and the year before that, in my final year at Bath Spa University College, I went out drinking with friends – but sadly the the expected fireworks didn’t materialise because of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

I texted Lee Sabeomnim again today – she found her mum.

Happy New Year, all.

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