Umbrella Please!

I should probably preface this by pointing out that (in my experience) Koreans are an amiable, friendly, and warm-hearted lot! But naturally there’s always the bad apples…and I met one on Saturday night…

The setting was central Itaewon, it’s a very ‘foreigner-friendly’ place, which isn’t particularly my bag – but I was out with friends, and we were heading to the next place in high spirits…it was then that we were stopped by a kind looking middle aged Korean lady, who looked rather unassuming, and normal…if there is such a look. Anyway, she was stroking my friends arm, and speaking in a soothing voice, what exactly I am unsure. But after a few awkward moments we started to walk away, and that is when all hell broke loose. That was when I definitely knew what she was saying…

“SHEEE-BAL! SHEEE-BAL! KAAAAYSECKY! SHEEE-BALLL!”

(“Fuck off! Fuck off! CUNT! FUCK OFFFF!”)

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Yes, I know the swear words better than than the language itself, but let’s not focus on that issue! Let’s instead focus more on the fact that this stranger was suddenly spitting (literally) at us, for just carrying on our way. I actually didn’t know what to do – I don’t think anyone did who was there to behold the spectacle. She had just went from 0-100…from a sweet Minnie Mouse, to a mad spluttering Donald Duck. 

All I could do was try and dodge the spittle, because no matter how much I wished that I had an umbrella – I knew that wouldn’t make it suddenly appear.

KAAAAYSECKY! SHEEE-BALLL! KAAAYYYSECCCCCKY!” 

Her eyes were flooded with violence, as she wagged her arms like mad hate-filled propellers in our general direction. We stared in disbelief, and then just shrugged, and turned away…hoping she wouldn’t follow us further to give us an earful! Thankfully she didn’t – I’m assuming she must have met another unsuspecting group, and started the whole mad conversation all over again.

Single life, huh? Fun times. 

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YouTube Channel!

I have finally been granted my own unique channel link by the YouTube Gods! Not sure why, but I’m not complaining! I’m working on a ‘travel tips’ video at the moment after one of you lovelies requested it – so keep an eye out for that!

Oh, and here are the other YouTube videos so far, if you missed them the first time around! Perfect for a lazy Sunday binge watch!

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The Sad Eyes…

I find young children to be very attentive, certainly a lot more than people give them credit for anyway. It’s easy to look at them playing – pretending to be chasing after an imaginary monster, taking out evil ninjas, or goodness knows what else…and think that they are not clued in to the real world in the same way we are. But in actual fact they are a lot more involved in their emotions, and consequently less guarded with them – this is probably because they don’t have all of the usual adult complications, and worries. Well, that’s one of many reasons, but let’s not get into that!

What the hell am I rambling about this time? Alright, I’ll cut to the chase! You see the day that I was just wandering around, in a bewildered daze...I was actually feeling so lost. I am a positive person, or at least I’d like to think so anyway – but I have these drops down to deep, and rather dark depression every, now and again. Sometimes it just pops out of nowhere – like an evil little gnome….kind of…anyway, it whispers things into my ear, and allows for its wickedness to permeate into my living thoughts. Everything becomes tarnished, and everything becomes shitty in my view…a little bit like Cinderella – but in reverse. So imagine I had the fantastic chariot, the clothes, the dream life so to speak…and then this nasty little critter comes along, and suddenly all I see is a fucking pumpkin.

Pumpkin GIF

Not ideal. But anyway, this time around it was to do with the fact I’d just broke up with my girlfriend – we had tried to work out our problems, but they repeated themselves as they so often do. Sometimes you just aren’t making each other happy, and there’s not a lot more to it – just because you want people to change doesn’t mean they do. So this time it is done for good in my head…it’s not so much that I want someone else, it’s that I don’t want to be in a toxic negative situation. I’m certainly not installing Tinder, or hitting the town, and being all “hey good-lookin, how are”…okay, I’ll stop there because I’m making myself cringe. But yeah, I’m not doing any of that. 

I’ve told myself I can focus more on my work, write more – be more productive or whatever…which is a plus…but unfortunately I’m not a robot- so those in between days when you’re alone, those are the ones that sting. Those are the ones that the gnome comes out for…

So come Monday morning I was feeling a little better, but still sad. Still would have much rather just sat in my pants, feeling sorry for myself…listening to one of my favourite “boo-hoo lfe is so unfair to me” break-up songs – front runners are Kid Cudi – All Along, and Nirvana-Something in the Way – the gnome loves them too, they’re horribly beautiful – and make me want to shoot myself in the head.

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But anyway, I headed into school, desperate to not let it effect my time with the kids.  It would be unprofessional, and unfair after all. So, I made sure I was extra-lively, I put on my best Jim Carrey mask, and bounced off the walls even more than usual, my expressions were far crazier, my voices even more weird…the kids were smiling, and laughing – I was doing well, or so I thought until one of the children, Angela – tapped me on the shoulder gently…

“Are you okay?” she gazed up at my face, examining me without a single blink –

“Of course! Today we are going to the PLAY ROOM! WOOOOO!” I replied, with a silly little jig, as the other kids cheered…

“Okay? Really? Teacher…has…sad eyes.” 

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Well maybe it’s true…actually it certainly is. But there’s happiness out there, just have to find out where. 

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p.s. apologies if there aren’t as many posts during this weird time, once I’ve booted the gnome in his face, all will be well in the world again. And services should resume as normal! 

Table Manners (DON’T MATTER?)

I need your help here my friends! You see naturally there are different table manners, and rules – when it comes to different countries…so what should I teach my Korean kids? The Western ways…or…do I try and get on board with the Korean etiquette? Help me out, please! 

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Alien for Supper!

No big deal guys – just the time that an eel was skinned in front of me, and continued to wriggle on my plate. OH THE FLASHBACKS! THE HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE FLASHBACKS!

Still, hope you get a kick out of it! I certainly did making this!

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What is Success?

“What is success?”

And I know, I know…everyone has a different version of the definition – apparently...but we are all people, and for the most part this drives us to want the same things. To love, and be loved…to have a purpose, and a core motivation…to eat an entire family sized lasagna by yourself without being sick. See, that’s probably just me with that last one. But yeah, the question does confuse me – and if I don’t fully understand what it means to be successful, then how will I know when I have reached this grand milestone?

You see at the moment I feel like I have graduated from the meager caterpillar stage…wandering around aimlessly, just consuming everything – with no clear direction…and now I am in the chrysalis stage, locked away in my bedroom cocoon, beavering away…with the hope that I will somehow magically burst into life, like a vibrant butterfly, and spread my wings. Confident, and suave…the Kanye West of comedy writing.

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Precious, ey? Well, although it would be lovely if all that were true – and trust me, it’s what I like to tell myself during my various conversations with, well…myself. I don’t think it is what life is like. Not really. Although it isn’t a sleek, or glamorous metaphor; I reckon we are a lot more like the snail.

Yup. We just mosey on along…pulling along all of the baggage that we accrue day after day…yes, the moss…the dirt…it builds on top of us, but we keep on going, we absorb it…it becomes who we are. 

We can look back at any time, and see the trails that we once took, glistening behind us. Often we went the wrong way, repeated back on ourselves, or looped, and looped, with no clear purpose. But we are still here – and the only real decision is…where are we going now? 

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Well to success of course! Alright…but which way’s that?

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Cock Please

I’ve been asked to provide five possible short stories, which display language errors – for a Korean made English language book – I suppose the aim is to point out possible mistakes that could be made, so that English learners don’t have to make them personally! Anyway, I have to get them done by Sunday! Phew, that’s a lot of work! So yeah, rough and ready; here is the 1st of 5: 

Every once in a while, as Korean work culture dictates – the boss will take all of his employees out for a staff dinner. The set menu of this occasion is usually something like; meal, drinks, more drinking, karaoke, more drinking, then slump back to bed wishing you hadn’t had those last few soju shots. It’s a well established formula, and always makes for gossip fueled dramas, as well as silly memories among your work colleagues. Some people dread it, some people love it.

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What I wasn’t expecting to be offered was…errr…something other than food, alcohol, and the microphone…I mean I certainly wasn’t expecting to be offered “a cock”. 

You see there I was…happily chowing down on some grilled meat, and vegetables – when my boss leaned in to my ear – and whispered…“would you like – a cock?” Erm. Errr…well, I was frozen to the spot. I didn’t know what to say – no one wants to be rude to their boss, especially in Korea that is a big no-no! So I asked him to repeat his question…maybe I had misheard?

“Would you like a cock?” 

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No. I hadn’t misheard – that is most definitely what he had said – I looked around for someone, anyone to save me…thankfully I noticed the waiter next to me, and worked out that he actually meant to say Coke, as in Coca Cola! 

“Oh, yes!” I replied – “One cock, please!”

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About ME.

Many thanks to Andy Lawson and Susanne Leist who have both nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog” award – I appreciate it! Usually I don’t go for these things, but I feel this will be a good way for my readers to get to know me a little bit better…anyway…here are seven little facts about, well…me!

1. My full name is John Lee Bartholomew Taggart. I am just going to go ahead and assume that the ‘Bartholomew’ bit is leaping out at you as unusual…rather than say, the ‘Lee’ bit. Well yeah, I thought it would be amusing to pick that name when offered the chance during the Roman Catholic “confirmation” ceremony as a thirteen year old. Perhaps I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have, but I certainly stand by my decision.

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2. Despite being raised a Catholic I am not sure what I would call myself these days, possibly Jedi if I was being a little jokey, Wizard if I was being serious – I guess cynicism and doubt has creeped into my mind, which has pushed out things like religion and spirituality to some extent, or so it seems. I think this is a bit of a shame, but that’s just how it is.

N.B. If Jesus or anyone wants to come visit me, then my door is always open though. Or an angel…to like, tell me everyone has it wrong and I need to set up my own church – either way, I am totally and completely down. Drop by, or send me an email.

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3. I am one of five children – which basically means at some point in time we have all worn the same clothes – big families are just all about that hand-me-down life, that’s just how it is! Unless the clothing item is torn into shreds by some unavoidable bush, SOMEONE is wearing it. Think the Weasley family from Harry Potter, but a little less magic…oh, and yeah, not fictional.

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4. I am an ex-red head. That is to say as a young child I had bright ginger hair which somehow vanished as time went on…there are only a few photos which can prove this…but it is the truth! These days I am lumbered with all of the same inconveniences a red haired person may encounter – such as pale skin and a hatred of the sun, but none of the positive things – namely interesting hair. Instead I have mousey coloured hair…or dirty blonde…basically things that sound a little sewagey…that is the description my hair gets these days. Great.

Ginger GIF

5. I don’t make a regular habit of buying lottery tickets – simply because every single time (I have on perhaps three occasions) I truly and wholeheartedly believe I am going to win…like really, I honestly think that this is it, that any money woes are a thing of the past, and that by the end of the week I will be a multi-millionaire. I pick out houses, cars, fountains…I get in touch with statue designers and artists so that once the money comes through they can get to work on crafting out images of me that will be placed pride of place in my mansion for generations to come.

Then I sit down on the evening and find that none – not one of the numbers, has came through for me. I tend to enter a massive sulk for at least a week which totally consumes my whole life. Not worth the upheaval, not in the slightest.

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6. I am somewhat of an over-thinker…actually the single biggest reason I try and go for every opportunity (whether it be travel or anything else) is largely because of some weird notion that it could pave the way to an even bigger opportunity that in retrospect I would have been a fool to miss out on. I always think of myself as a decrepit old man sitting in a rocking chair, slowly shitting myself to death, thinking of what would have happened if I…anyway, that is usually enough for me to think – “RIGHT JUST GO FOR IT!”

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7. Oh, and last but definitely not least – I absolutely fucking love cheese.

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Here are 15 bloggers you should definitely check out, they are some of my faves anyway:

1. http://wandabvictorian.wordpress.com
2. http://thebritishberliner.wordpress.com
3. http://ladysteene.wordpress.com
4. http://openroadbeforeme.com
5. http://rjgreenphoto.wordpress.com
6. http://xiotteilegends.wordpress.com
7. http://redhottruth.wordpress.com
8. http://rockandrollsupermom.wordpress.com
9. http://auntdoris.wordpress.com
10. http://ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com
11. http://franciscalaureijs.com
12. http://10eveningflowers.wordpress.com
13. http://charlypriest.wordpress.com
14. http://apromptreply.wordpress.com
15. http://reluctantcatowner.com

Oh, and here are the original links from Andy and Susanne:

http://lawsonandy.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/awarded-one-lovely-blog-award/

http://susanneleist.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/one-lovely-blog-award/

Thanks again guys!