Archive for January, 2010

Saturday, 30th of January

I woke up naturally with the dim light filtering through the curtains. It was actually a perfectly bright-sun, blue-sky day, and it was a lovely sight to see through the windows of Adrian’s home’s windows. I went downstairs and said good morning to them both. They were sitting at the kitchen table in their dressing gowns and drinking tea and chatting. I went out for a run, jogging up the road and then ate some cereal and chatted with them too, and then borrowed my mother’s car and went to visit my second sister Angela, and collect some of my old clothes from her place. Then I came home until it was time to go to Adrian’s eldest son’s place for afternoon tea. We met his wife and children, and his wife’s sister and her children, and their son’s mother and her partner. It was a lovely, relaxing and sociable time.

After that I went to get some food for dinner. I ordered some fish and chips, and while waiting for them to be cooked for me I met an old friend from university. We chatted until she picked up her order, and then I waited outside in the afternoon sunshine before meeting my brother-in-law (Angela’s husband) Aman. He is my second sister’s husband, and he really likes loud, noisy rock music too. We met a workmate of his and went to see a very famous Australian rock band called ‘AC-DC‘. They were so loud that many people around the whole city could hear them playing very clearly! They were also a lot of fun, and I was very glad to see them, and to share the fun event with Aman.

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Friday, 29th of January

Upon arriving at the airport I went to the information counter and asked the nice people there for the best way into town. There were two quite old people there, both perhaps of retirement age. They were very friendly, and well dressed in bright yellow jackets, and they really wanted to be helpful with the gentleman even offering to give me a lift into the city if I could wait another hour or two, but, actually they offered very little information of any use at all, and even told me information which was incorrect or out of date on more than one occasion. Partly due to this inaccurate information in the end I only got to see my brother for about half an hour. Still, I did get to give him his birthday and Christmas presents from last year, we had a chat about life and work and the last year, I met some of his workmates (who are all bicycle couriers in Sydney), I gave him a hug hello and goodbye, and then went to get on the train back to the airport!

It would be easy to say the trip into Sydney from the airport was a waste of time and money as in the end I spent such a small amount of time with Sam, my younger brother, but actually I enjoyed the adventure of finding my way around a new town, and seeing somewhere different, and also just being in the warmth of the summer sunshine again was refreshing. Also, I found people to be really kind and helpful, and I enjoyed being able to speak freely and openly with anyone there.

Finally, in the early evening, I walked aboard the last airoplane to take me home to Wellington. I sat down in the aisle seat. The seat next to me was empty but sitting next to the window seat was a young woman with long dark brown hair. She looked to be in her late twenties or maybe early thirties. I said hello and chatted a little, making the occasional silly comment just to show I had a sense of humour and did not want any serious conversation. She listened and smiled and seemed open to conversation but did not really develop the conversation at all, so I took the hint and closed my eyes and had a brief snooze… but I kept waking myself up realising I was snoring! That was a bit embarrassing, so I took out my headphones and watched the start of the in-flight movie, which was one of Sandra Bullock’s movies from last year. She was playing a very silly character. She seems to enjoy playing silly female characters such as the one from the Ms. Congeniality movies, and even though she does it well I am sure she can do different roles just as well if not better. I really like Sandra Bullock as a person and as an actor though, so I kept watching the movie, and thankfully it became better. The other actors were also all really good. It was called ‘All About Steve‘. Sandra Bullock’s character falls in love at first site with Steve, a guy on a blind date set up by her parents. The story becomes funnier and funnier, and more and more absurd, and then of course right at the end it was both quite funny AND serious. Overall it is a good romantic comedy because it is so light-hearted it is impossible to take it seriously. I am a bit concerned that it shows women to be either quite silly or very desperate for a boyfriend, if not both, but then again, to be concerned with this would be taking this movie far too seriously!

Anyway, just before the end of the movie the young woman next to me on the airoplane started chatting with me. We actually had a great conversation and got to know each other quite well in the last hour of the flight. She works in a mine owned by Rio Tinto in Western Australia. She had actually been brought up in Wellington, but was going to meet up with her ‘partner’ (or long-term boyfriend) who lived a couple of hours’ drive from Wellington. We talked about life overseas, and work, and working in the mines, and New Zealanders living overseas, and sunglasses, and wine, and movies, and facebook, and ‘inappropriate behaviour’, and missing home and family, and reading books, and learning to enjoy reading, and different types of books. Then the plane landed, and we said goodbye, and she raced off to meet her partner, Nick. She was very funny and a very interesting person to talk with. She is also only about 27 years old. I hope I get to chat with her again one day. It would be interesting to see where she is living and what she is doing in another ten years!

I collected my bad and walked through the gate, and then dropped my bags again to give my mum a big hug. I also got a really nice, warm, big hug from her fiance, Adrian. They had both come to meet me. Then we drove home to his place, very nearby the home where I had grown up. We had a cup of tea and a brief chat, and then we went to bed. I slept very, very deeply!

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Thursday, 28th of January

I woke up to my alarm going off at the previously regular time of 6.40 a.m. I showered, ate, cleaned up some more, and then dragged my two bags and my sleepy self outside through the cold morning air to a taxi to the express bus terminal. The taxi driver was a nice guy, and I took a brief video clip of the drive to the bus terminal for a friend here in New Zealand who has never been overseas. Upon arrival at the airport I was happy to find the next bus went within 15 minutes, so I filled my water bottle and got on the bus. A nice guy was sitting in the seat across from me, and after the half-way rest-stop visit we started to chat a bit. It turned out he was a Chosun University student and lived in Jisan Dong! He was a postgraduate art student and was going to Beijing to study Chinese art for his Masters degree. We chatted mostly in Korean, as even though he had lived in Australia for nearly a year his English was not very good. He was a nice guy though and I was happy to chat with him. When we arrived at the airport I shook his hand and wished him good luck in China, and said ‘See you next time.. in Gwangju!’

In the airport I found my plane had been delayed by two hours. It was a Cathay Pacific flight, and they had prepared a vegetarian meal especially for me, but, my priority was to get to Sydney quickly so as to see my brother, so, the guy in charge made some phone calls and found me a seat on a Korean Air airoplane which was to leave and fly directly to Sydney (instead of stopping over in Hong Kong, as was my original flight).

The plane was full, but I was sitting next to two nice younger woman. One was ‘an Australian-born Korean’, and the other was Turkish but living and studying in Sydney. They were actually both students at Macquarie University but had not met yet as they were different ages and majors. The Turkish student was a mathematics and a Masters major, and, as it turned out, had a boyfriend from Indonesia. The other one looked Korean, but sounded Australian. She did speak very good Korean, but her English was also perfect, and with a real Australian accent. They were both interesting to chat with, but neither really wanted to talk much, so we all enjoyed watching different movies. I was happy to discover a couple of science fiction movies. I also really like Bruce Willis, and, have recently enjoyed watching animation clips on YouTube, so, I was very happy to finally see ‘Surrogate‘ and then watch ‘9‘. Both of them were fun and quite nice to watch in terms of the quality of the images, but 9 certainly had more depth in terms of meaning, although not as much as I would have expected. I agree with some critics that science fiction is one of the hardest genre of movie to make well. When you see a good science fiction movie, it should be both exciting and also so interesting that you want to think about it a lot for a long time afterwards. While both of these two movies were quite exciting and offered some interesting ideas, neither involved me so much that I wanted to think about them much after viewing.

The cabin crew turned off the lights and most people went to sleep. I adjusted my watch to Sydney time two hours ahead, and then relaxed and tried to sleep. The noise of the plane’s engines was really loud though, and I found it difficult to relax completely, but instead merely drifted in and out of sleep until the crew switched the lights on again and it was officially morning.

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Wednesday, 27th of January

Ohh… I felt really bad today. I did not drink very much at all last night, so I am not sure why I felt so slow and sluggish when I woke up. Maybe it was the cigarette smoke last night, but I think it was just being really tired, and giving myself time to realise it, instead of rushing off to work like I usually have to do.

I spent the day inside, pottering around (not doing very much) and just cleaning up my apartment, preparing to leave for my vacation tomorrow, cooking the last of my fresh food in my refridgerator and reading a bit online. I found another very interesting video on YouTube. It is a recording of a really fascinating guy called Michael Ruppert and is about the 9/11 disaster, peak oil, and what the government and other people are doing with the USA and in the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I went to bed quite late again, but I am happy that I am ready for my trip home to Wellington tomorrow. … Happy, and excited, at last!

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Tuesday, 26th of January

The last day of class – yippee!

The last classes for the ‘year’ for me went well enough. I feel positive about the writing course. I think Chris The New Teacher will be fine, and the students will look after him well, haa.

I really enjoyed our shared lunch together. I was glad that so many students did come, and, I was very surprised when Mr. Lee so kindly payed the bill for us ALL!  Haa haa – I will have to forgive him now for not coming to every class!

In the evening I shared a final meal with my good friend Jordi and his nice wife Yealim. They are leaving Gwangju soon to go to Europe to work and study and to give birth to twins. Wow! Jordi’s life will be very busy. Yealim likes similar kinds of food to me, so, I treated them to the vegetarian buffet meal down town near the police station on Art Street. We had a great meal, and chatted openly about the last year and the future. It was really nice. I was glad to spend some good quality time with them. I hope I see them again in such a relaxed and happy atmosphere.

After that I went to catch up with some co-workers who were celebrating the end of the first half of the holiday semester. They were at the sort-of Italian restaurant near the back gate. It was nice to spend some time with them, as often during the work day we are all to busy to just sit around and chat about life and work and everything else. It was a relaxing way to enjoy the last night of the work semester for me, even if I did get home later and more tired than I had expected!

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Monday, 25th of January

Yay! Today is the second-to-last day I have to get up early to come to school. I will be on vacation on Wednesday!

Classes were good again today, although some interesting things happened. Firstly, most students came to essay writing class, and they were mostly on time, too! That was great to see. Two NEW students turned up today though. That was a bit strange, but, ‘The more the merrier!’ I like having more people in class. It helps other people to learn.

Secondly, when I went to meet the library study group today, I found that they were talking about ‘Sexual assault’ especially relating to children and women. It was another interesting topic.

After lunch today I went for a swim in Yeomju Swimming Pool. I had a whole lane to myself for most of an hour. It was really nice!

Then I went to the immigration office at the other end of Yeomju Dong. I got my passport stamped and so I will be legal for another year in South Korea. Yay!

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Sunday, 24th of January

This morning, while surfing around the internet, I found another really good video clip. This one, however, is not from a movie: it is from a TV show.

Jamie Oliver is a very famous person in the UK and throughout Europe and even in North America (Canada and the USA). What is his job? He is a chef. He is a television chef.

He speaks quite fast, and he has a strong English accent, but he is also often funny, and honest, and, he is interested in the politics of food.

He made a special, expensive ‘gala’ dinner for many different people, and this involved dressing up in nice clothes and using nice plates and cutlery (knives and forks). It also involved him actually killing chicks and a chicken live on TV, so people could see exactly what they are eating.

He also talks about free range chickens, and visited some different types of chicken farms.

… It was very interesting to watch the reactions of the people in the audience. You can watch the whole show here.

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