Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Leeds vs. Seoul

Things have changed. I now spend more time everyday staring at a computer screen and making phone calls than i do sleeping. I live with my parents. I own a pair of shoes. I can overhear conversations and i know what people are saying. I drink infrequently, normally only on weekends. I live in a small city in northern Europe not a massive city in East Asia. It all feels slightly unnatural. It’s almost as if i don’t really belong here which is weird because it’s where i’m from. This is home. Home is obviously very different from Seoul which was the last city i lived and worked in. So obvious that i’ve made a list:

In Seoul the drunk people on public transport are old men. In Leeds they’re teenagers.

In Seoul different ethnicities stand out. In Leeds we all blend in.

In Seoul you can use public transport to travel large distances with a small amount of money in a short period of time. In Leeds you can use public transport to travel short distances for a large amount of money over a long period of time.

In Seoul you can buy a huge pitcher of crap beer for £3.00. In Leeds you can buy one pint of great tasty beer for £3.00.

In Seoul the teachers assault the students. In Leeds the students assault the teachers.

In Seoul everybody loves Manchester United. In Leeds everybody hates Manchester United.

In Seoul everybody hates summer. In Leeds everybody loves summer.

In Seoul when it snows everybody goes skiing and snowboarding. In Leeds when it snows everybody avoids going to work and throws a snowball in a friends face.

In Seoul people riot and protest over anything. In Leeds people write a strongly worded letter to their local politician.

In Seoul the parks are tiny, few and crap. In Leeds the parks are massive, plentiful and great.

In Seoul fat people are a minority. In Leeds thin people are a minority.

In Seoul old people are seen as a part of the family, community and society. In Leeds they are seen as a hindrance, a tax burden and an inconvenience.

In Seoul the Han River is home to windsurfers, kite surfers, pleasure boats and water taxis. In Leeds the River Aire is home to disused shopping trolleys, dead animals and police divers.

In the centre of Seoul the buildings are drab blocks of dull functional concrete. In the centre of Leeds the buildings are Victorianesque classic gothic old gnarly things full of character.

In Seoul the gargantuan shopping centres and enormous multi-level supermarkets are shiny cathedrals of commerce and capitalism where people make a weekend pilgrimage to spend as much money as humanly possible on things they don’t really need for no reason what so ever. In Leeds the supermarkets are only on one floor.

The truth is i don't really care how different (or similar) the two places are. I miss Asia. I miss the buzz and the rush for the future whereas England (and probably most of western Europe) is continually lurching to the past ungratefully dragging itself forward. I'm working a job in Leeds saving cash, going through the motions waiting. Waiting for another Asian high, some more English teaching and traveling tales.

Between now and next month i'll try and do something worth writing about. Until then thanks for reading. Have fun.


  1. Hey Dave,

    I always enjoy reading your words.

    Take care,