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Archive for June, 2007

Mul issoyo

or: ‘There is some water’

or: ‘I have water’

or: ‘You have water’

or: ‘He/She/It/They/We has/have water’

Bloody Korean and its subjectless sentences.

After the staff at my academy told me to get a phone number off my washing machine, I tried to do so. Unfortunately, the washing machine failed to answer. The following day, they told me someone would come and look at it. Later on, after confirming what the problem was, they told me it had been sorted. And it had.

Around about the same time I had a conversation in the evening with Drew in London (or thereabouts) and Pete in Halifax (the Canadian one) (or thereabouts) (woohoo: sequential parentheses!). I mentioned that someone at work had said a couple of weeks beforehand that the rainy season was due to start the following week (the week following the statement about the monsoon season’s commencement. Not the week following my IM conversation with Pete and Drew. Nor the week following the time of writing this post. Just to make that clear), and that since then it had basically rained once.

It might have been that very night that the heavens opened and it rained heavily. The chaotic crackle of the rain on the building woke me up and kept me awake for a while. Thunder rolled. It’s also raining right now. If this is as bad as the rainy season gets, it’s not that impressive – particularly given the situation with flooding in Britain at the moment. Drew said Yorkshire had been washed into the North Sea. I’m pretty sure he was joking.

After my Korean class today I spent some time with my classmates. We didn’t necessarily do a huge amount (had a meal, investigated the possibility of seeing Transformers (there weren’t any seats available at convenient times (some of the times displayed were 25:05, 25:30 – evidently the cinema operates on a 26-hour clock (woohoo: nested parentheses!))), went to a large bookstore (I bought a book by Thomas Kuhn), then to a hof – actually, I suppose we did a fair bit) but it was pleasant.

Some time after I got back I experienced a bit of a memory lapse. I was reading an item about the car bombs discovered in London – the map included on the web page showed part of Hyde Park. It sparked a memory of travelling to the capital to find a place to live. I was sure that I’d stayed a couple of nights, but I had no recollection whatsoever of where I’d done so. I could visualise the area of Kensington where the lettings agency was (and presumably still is), but that was all. I did, however, know that wherever I’d stayed was within walking distance – in fact, I’d walked across Hyde Park a few times while going to and from the agency. I went to Multimap to look at a map of the area.

Kensington is on the southern side of the park, so I navigated towards the northern side. I noticed Bayswater Tube station – and that was definitely familiar. Scanning the nearby streets I saw Leinster Square … and it all came back to me. I’d spent a couple of nights in a hostel there. The French-sounding young guy on reception when I first got there wasn’t happy that I didn’t have my passport. On the first night I had a six-bed dorm to myself; I was going to sleep in an upper bunk, but when I got up there I realised how narrow they were and that there were no bars at the sides, so I changed my mind about that. On the second night I shared the room with another man – although only briefly. The floor or the ceiling (or both) was (or were) disturbingly warped on one side of the dorm.

And so my memory (of that particular detail) returned.

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Mul opsoyo

or: ‘There isn’t any water’

On … um … a day earlier than yesterday (Saturday, I think), the water pressure in my flat went down. There was still water coming out of the taps, but at about half the usual rate. Without thinking too much about it I went ahead and put some washing in the machine (maybe I did this before the water pressure went partially AWOL – I can’t remember exactly). This load – while it’s supposed to take about an hour – took at least a couple of hours maybe three.

While the taps had gone down to about half their usual pressure, the water coming into the top-loading machine was flowing at a bare dribble. So I started filling the machine up with tap water using a jug. Then realising that would take a long while, I switched to using my large saucepan. Eventually, I filled up the machine to the point where it continued with its programme. It still had a couple of wash and spin cycles to do, but I stopped it after its next (rather ineffective) spin and put the damp clothes on the laundry rack to dry.

I did some more washing last night. The water pressure didn’t seem to have changed, but it certainly hadn’t become any worse, but the water was still dripping into the drum. I considered stopping it, but then decided that the task of filling the machine manually wouldn’t be too onerous. I rediscovered the red washing bowl in the pan cupboard that I rarely open, so the filling process progressed a little quicker. One definite benefit of manual filling is that you can use hot water – looking at the plumbing behind the machine I found that the hot water isn’t connected (which wasn’t a surprise). Fiddling with the cold water connection did nothing but reduce the trickle to zero.

A few minutes ago I informed the desk staff at the hagwon of the problem. They told me to get the phone number from the side of the machine. Presumably, they’ll call and arrange for someone to come and look at it (‘it’ being the problem with the machine rather than the phone number affixed to the washer’s side).

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Money, money, money

Yesterday I sent £1,000 to my British bank account; it’s something I seem to have been doing less frequently than last year. I went to the Nonghyup Bank branch that’s located directly under my hagwon and withdrew 2,000,000 won (in three batches, because the maximum you can take out in one transaction is 700,000). Then I made the five minute walk to the KB Bank on the street of clothes shops.

Filling out the Application for Remittance form took a couple of minutes – I copied from one of my previous copies – during which time the tall, young security guard gave me a ticket from the machine. Which is good, because I don’t much like getting a ticket before I start in case I get called before I’m finished filling in the form and because I often forget which button to press for the appropriate ticket (it’s the right-hand button of the left hand machine. Probably).

After that I sat and waited for 10 or 15 minutes until my number was up, and I sat down and handed over my newly completed form, the copies of all the other forms I’ve done (the printing on which is easier to read than my block capitals), my passport, my latest payslip, my Alien Card and, of course, my money. Usually, it’s one of two women who take my money and do all the banky doings, but yesterday it was another woman. On the plus side, she didn’t raise any objections (I thought the fact that the money I wanted to send was greater than the net pay quoted on my payslip might be a problem); on the minus side, she sent exactly £1,000 (which came to 1,907,000 or so won, including charges) instead of increasing this to include all of the 2 million I’d given her.

I checked my (Lloyds TSB) bank account this morning to find that the money had arrived safely. £950 of this I transferred to my savings account (bringing the total to £3,950). The remainder can stay in my current account to pay for random stuff … like the indeterminate sum I half-promised Drew for his forum-providing expenses.

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Exchange rate watch

1 GBP = 1,854.8 KRW
1 GBP = 1.4864 EUR
1 GBP = 1.9981 USD

2,000,000 KRW = 1,078.2894 GBP

Bonus Random Exchange Rate

1 GBP = 125.12 Icelandic kronur (ISK)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

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Firstly, Drew’s got a new forum up and running for us. It looks a lot like the old one – perhaps too much like the old one; I imagine the forum software comes from the same place. Once my account has been authorised I’m pretty confident I’ll get some work done on the game. It needs it.

One other thing has been resolved – my flight back to Britain is set for 14 September. All I have to worry about now is how they’re going to pay me at the end of my contract. Well … I also have to worry (I don’t have to I suppose, but I will) the behaviour of some of my students – I have a couple of classes that are nearly unteachable because there are so many students just talking constantly.

The D20 Modern game that Simon’s been running has been a lot of fun. The modern setting doesn’t really appeal to me as much as a fantasy one, and I spend a lot of time wondering what my character can actually do; but there’s been a good deal of humour in our responses to game situations – and that’s one of the best things about roleplaying. When the campaign is finished in a couple of weeks, we’ll hopefully be starting a Wheel of Time game.

My Korean classes are going pretty well, too. Every week we get introduced to a new grammatical function or two (‘Students, I’d like you to meet Grammatical Function.’ ‘Pleased to meet you.’) and although I’ve been thinking that I’d prefer something more situation-based (learning how to order things, talk about yourself etc), this method seems to be effective. In our last class we did ‘from’ and ‘to’ (in terms of time periods) and ‘after’. Best of all, I spent an hour and a half talking to the Canadian girl in the nearby Starbucks after class.

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A near-death experience

On Friday I think it was, a message appeared at the head of the forum that hosts my roleplaying game, Empire of Destiny. Essentially, it said that the board would be deleted on Sunday, and it gave a link to the provider’s support board. On this latter there was a thread offering to move forums over to another provider – all you had to do was post with the address of your own forum. A day or two later they posted a new thread that too many people wanted their forums moving and that they were thinking of charging people for a continued service or charge them for downloads of their boards’ databases.

Around this time I e-mailed my players with the situation (having already saved all the pages from the board). One of them got in touch to say he would create a forum for us – he just had to buy the web-hosting and figure out how to do it. Then I read on the support forum that phpbbforfree (the forum provider) would consolidate all the active boards on to one server and continue with the free service.

All of which has been somewhat annoying – although not as annoying as it would have been had the game been active recently. I really ought to do some more work on it. I’ve been thinking about it all through this period of inactivity, and, with these recent developments, have been thinking about it all the more. I feel that I’m closer to getting it back on track, but now I don’t want to do much because of the current forum’s uncertain future.

Even if phpbbforfree resumes normal service, moving across to another forum – one that’s run by one of us – seems like the thing to do anyway. Drew says he’s bought the hosting service and seems like he’s ready to get to work on a forum – how long that takes is another question.

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I just got back from seeing the doctor. It turns out I have pseudopolyps in my bowels, rather than real polyps – which means they’re not going to develop into cancer. The blood test also showed that my biochemistry is getting close to normal. I got a prescription for a month’s worth of medicine (on top of the several day’s worth I still have left over), and will go back in July for another blood test. I should also have another colonoscopy in a year’s time.

It’s raining outside (it would be worrying if it was raining inside, I suppose) – apparently this is the start of the rainy season. I’m going to have my second shower of the day (… so it is going to rain inside after all).

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