The art of Acquiring.

Being Irish means that you are born to get away with a lot of things.  Thinking that potatoes are the only food worth eating is ok because you’re Irish.  Describing things as “yokes” is perfectly acceptable because your Irish.  Drinking a lot is expected.  Being the outdoorsy type who knows the difference between a cow and a heifer is necessary to being Irish.  But what really makes Irish people stand out is that they are so cute.  And I’m not talking about looks.  Oh no I’m talking about the fox-like cuteness that helps them “acquire” items. 

Since moving to Korea, I seem to have excelled at this sport.  Easily half the items i my apartment have been acquired from one person or another. It’s not easy.  Our group has about 30 people at any one time so to be the first to acquire is a definite talent.  Here’s how to make it happen;

1. Comment on the preferred item in advance.  When visiting the persons apartment, casually drop in a “wow, a __________, I’d LOVE this is my apartment”. You now laid the seed in their minds. 

2. When the opportunity arises, mention how you are thinking of buying the preferred item.  This way you know that they know that you really want it.

3. When you know they are leaving, tell them straight up that the preferred item is yours and if they don’t give it to you, they will no longer have a soul. 

4. Be nice to them all year.  That way they will think of you as a good friend and worthy of he desired item. 

In the case that you happen to se an item on the street the only method of acquiring should be to pick it up and run home with it as fast as you can.  This was the situation with my full length mirror. 

Ok so let me go through what I have acquired over the last 2 years,

1. Convention oven and stand

2. Full length piano (my favourite and proudest item)

3. Wall world map

4. English books (acquired in rather dodgy circumstances from my old school)

5. Full length mirror.

6. Clothes (about a 1/4 of my current wardrobe)

7. perfumes, medicines and beauty products.

8. All kind of kitchen items, knives, forks, saucepans etc.

9. stools, a suitcase/weekend bag and a big backpack.

The best story is how I acquired the piano.  So a good friend of ours, David, bought this piano.  He, unfortunately, decided to leave Korea in a hurry and on the qt.  So this piano became available for acquiring.  Now, I knew I had competition for it so Alexa an I decided that as we were the closest to his apartment, we should have first dibs on his stuff.  And what an excellent job we did.  Just as ell he wasnt coming back as he would have had nothing to come back to! So, after we brought the small items to our apartments, we had to get the piano out.  It didn’t look too heavy at the time so we decided we could totally do it ourselves.  That was or first mistake, the piano was deceivingly heavy.  But we got it down the 2 flights of stairs after like a long time.  Next thing we know, there’s a police car outside.  They ask us what we were doing.  In my excellently broken Korea,I told them we were simply moving apartment.   They were pretty cool and went to tell the complainant that we were simply moving apartment.  As it turns out, the person who complained only complained because we were speaking too much English (???????).  She was an English teacher in the local school and came out to apologise.  We were all like “oh its no trouble, don’t worry” but she felt so bad that she helped us carry the piano to my apartment.  Excellent.  What really makes me laugh is that the police never asked us whose piano it was or whose apartment we were raiding.  Clearly, a very trusting lot. 

All you need to know about Geumchon

So I don’t know what people think when they hear that they’ll be in Geumchon for a year.  Most people figure that if it’s not Seoul then clearly we have nothing of any interest/use in Geumchon. Before we get going let’s watch this video, made a few years ago by te boys at E.V.

 So here’s what you need to know;

1. There’s an Emart; Clearly Emart is the best thing since sliced bread.   A trip here will have you sorted with anything you need, food, clothing, makeup, jewellery, household items, stationary, party supplies, you get the idea…………

2. You will never go hungry; no matter what your budget you can find all kinds of delicious food in Geumchon.  Kimbap Nara is the best place if you dont speak Korean but have read this; We also have all sorts of Galbi restaurants and chicken places and about 12 million pizza stores so never a fear of famine…..And then theres the Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Cafe Tiamo.  No Starbucks yet but I’m sure we’ll eventually get one. 

3. Subway; Of course. Only 40 minutes to Seoul station (one train per hour) and 35 minutes from DMC (every 15/20 minutes).  We have 2 stations, Geumneung and Geumchon depending on which part you live in.

4. Buses; Yes, buses going to everywhere you care to go………

5. Bowling Alley; Near Geumchon station is a bowling alley.  Be careful what time you go in at though because the Geumchon Bowling team actually practice a lot. 

6. Hospital; Like at least 10.  Most have a 24 hour emergency room and most can speak enough English to get the point across. 

7. Pharmacy: Loads.  Most of them speak super English so your over the counter medicines are no problem. 

8. Shopping; This is my favourite pastime.  Not only do we have 1 premium outlet in Paju but due to the cheap price of land, we now have 2. It makes for seriously happy shopping and you can get all the usual foreign brands.

9. Sports/exercise; We also have Paju Stadium for anyone energetic enough to run laps of a track or play soccer etc.  If you’re more the gym type there are literally gyms all over the place, just take your pick.  Theres also a beautiful river walk that runs from Bongilcheon to Geumchon and a great place to cycle bikes, take a walk or run in the summer. 

Well tht’s it.  I literally can’t think of anything else. If you think of anything, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!

Better late than never………

So here I am, finally.  I’ve been in Korea for over 2 years and it’s taken me this long to finally get blogging.  It’s not that I hav super interesting things to say, but I figure someone might get a good old laugh out of the randomness that happens to me on a daily basis.  Let me tell you what happened last night and we’ll take it from there. 

Sometimes the best and sometimes the worst thing about being in Korea is the constant stream of friends.  Contracts here are usually a year long so each year we get new friends but lose old ones.  I’m so used to saying goodbye that it rarely affects me anymore.  So in my area (Paju), we’ve had a few new additions to the group.  Excellent, Geumchon was looking like it was going to die in numbers compared to Munsan (the other side).  So last night Anel and Johan, a South African couple invited us out to Gyoha to have a few drinks with old friends of Johans.  Now I wouldn’t have gone only there was the promise of a norebang.  And if that word is even being considered I’m there. I all kinds of LOVE the norebang or Kareoke room. 

After a late arrival, I was introduced to not 1 not 2 but like 8 new friends.  Happy Days.    And what great people they turned out to be.  After a great chat and general craziness (ye Doogs excellent first impressions) we headed to the norebang, where it is official that Anel and I are the new Ike and Tina, Bonnie and Cher or whatever great duo you can think of………… Just so you know, usually the norebang is a girls thing but the boys last night gave us a run for our money belting out some classics like “I’m a Barbie girl”, “YMCA” and others that shall not be mentioned.  Classic.