My Brilliant Korea

Three months and one day

Blogging | September 12, 2010

1. Pretending to look interested when I’m not.

2. Belting out the words to Eric Carmen’s 1987 hit, Hungry Eyes (with or without musical accompaniment).

3. Coercing people into talking about things they don’t want to talk about.

4. Choosing a nice bottle of wine.

5. Making a good cup of tea.

These are the things I am good at.

Some time ago, back when I did it for a living, I might have even included 'writing' on that list.

But something has happened to me in Seoul.

Or rather, nothing has happened.

Not. A. Word.

For three months and one day.

I cannot write.

It seems even my best friend has given up on me.

Well, to be frank, she is cheating on me with a television writer from The Age, and I cannot say I blame her.

I haven’t put out for months.

It has been difficult to watch their relationship develop on Facebook, but I know I have no one to blame but myself.

“Lorelei, I have been laughing about your summation of Prince Mani all week. Hysterically, spontaneously and publicly. I’m watching episode two now, and had to take a break from the heaving guffaws to write and tell you how much I loved your review. I wish I could quote my favourite sentences back at you but frankly I loved it all. Gem x”

I understand, Gemma.

You needed something- something I have not been able to give you.

So you went elsewhere.

But please Gemma, please don’t think for a moment that I didn’t want to provide for you.

As the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, I desperately scribbled down ideas.

I HAVE tried.

Some of the ideas, I admit, have not been particularly inspired.

Take for example, the crumpet concept.

On July 7, 2010, on the back of a receipt, I wrote the following:

“All that she wants is another crumpet,

“She’s gone tomorrow, boy.

“All that she wants, is another crumpet.


As you can see, the blog idea involved replacing the word “baby” with the word “crumpet” in the Ace of Base classic hit ‘All That She Wants’.

I had hoped to express the fact that, for a time, a crumpet (unavailable for purchase in Seoul) was all that I wanted.

Clever, no?



Other ideas have had more substance.

Like the note “little Korean boy, little Indian boy”, which I scrawled on the back of some scrap paper, while watching friendship blossom between a little Korean boy and a little Indian boy one Sunday afternoon.

Speaking in a gabble of Korean and English, the pair giggled, smiled and compared hand-held games as they sat next to each other on the subway.

With the Korean boy’s father standing to my left and the Indian boy’s father to my right, I watched the exchange with delight.

The Korean boy’s father smiled and shook his head in amazement.

I glanced to my right and caught the eye of the Indian boy’s father.

“Your son?” I asked him.

He nodded, his eyes glistening with tears.

“You must be so proud,” I told him.

He nodded.

“I am, so very proud”.

It was a beautiful moment.

As I exited in the subway and stepped into the street, I reflected on what I had seen.

“We’re all the same,” I thought to myself.

“Regardless, of race, gender, religion or language, we’re all just people.

“We can all be friends. Just, yeah, you know, give peace a chance. How lovely”.

With a blog concept firmly in mind, I began to walk home, but stopped at a convenience store to grab an icecream.

As I placed my melon ice-stick on the counter, an elderly Korean woman (an ajumma) shoved me to the side and threw her icecream on the counter.

“How much? How much? How much?” the ajumma barked at the shop assistant, while fanning herself dramatically.

The ajumma then slid into the small space separating me and the counter, and bumped me backwards with her bottom.

She purchased her icecream and left the store.

“No, we’re not all the same,” I thought to myself.

“We cannot all be friends. I don't want to be friends with her”.

My blog concept disappeared as quickly as my icecream in the warm sun.

Other ideas came and went over the months:

Western men in Seoul (and their over-inflated egos), joining the badminton team (and the gym teacher's perfect bottom), sick days in Korea (and the house calls that follow).

But nothing seemed truly blog-worthy.

In the end, I simply just forced myself to write something today.


Hence, the 772 words sitting on your computer screen right now.

I hope it has been somewhat of an enjoyable read.

And if not, the least you can do is pretend to look interested.

It is, after all, what I would do.


1. Gemma on September 13, 2010

I feel it is time for me to come clean. I've got this little secret from you, and as I keep very few secrets from you, and I'm not even sure why I am, I guess I must confess.

Because while Lorelei makes me heave with laughter writing about Mani and his awkward gait, you BK have made me pee my pants with maniacal hysterical guffawing in the following situations: camping, both Woodford and non Woodford related, while in bed with tea, while shopping in the supermarket, while sitting in the computer labs, via email, driving, talking on the phone, Skyping, on the dance floor etc.

Your funny is my favourite funny. Number one, numero uno, favourite ever funny. So I've been taking screen grabs of your status updates for some time. The whole time in fact, that you have been in Korea. I keep them in a folder on my desktop called, funnily enough, Blythe Korea.

Because when you moved to Korea I felt like you might be immersing yourself into a book worthy experience - you know that novel I know is in your tiny little hands. And I thought if I kept your status updates it might be a good way for you to reflect on your time there and the amusing aspects that might get lost in the bigness of the whole experience when you get to sit down and reflect on it.

That folder with your name on it is waiting for when your words come back, and you write a best seller about Your Brilliant Korea. So my love, I never gave up, I'm just waiting patiently for the dedication I know is coming (ahem, clearly I'm only in it for the glory). Because lets face it, Lorelei can never dedicate a TV column to me, no matter how brilliantly she pieces her words together.

2. R on September 13, 2010

I've had this problem with my meagre blog as well ... i've drafted a couple of entries, but haven't fleshed them out and pressed the "publish" button. Essentially because of the thought patterns you've outlined here.

3. Melody on September 13, 2010

After 10 years of knowing you I never knew that pretending to look interested when you're not is a special skill. This causes me to question many things. But not how much I love you x

4. DearKorea on September 14, 2010

You'll always be a writer, regardless of when or how often you put fingers to keys or pens to paper.

Any Comments?

About Blythe Seinor

When Blythe was a journalism student at the Queensland University of Technology she interviewed the former Indonesian president, Abdurrahman Wahid.
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