Two Weeks of Tension

The past few weeks in Korea have been less blissful paradise and more hard work and effort. Between working hard to improve my fitness for Ultimate, to getting mild food poisoning, to running thin on money for the month, it has been a couple of weeks that Kris and I are be glad to have put behind us.

The major contributor to stress from the past while has been money. While we have never been in danger of not having enough, we have needed to be scrupulous to ensure that we can pay all of our bills. We have had to sacrifice some of the nicer luxuries like exploring Seoul’s food culture, travelling on the KTX to Ultimate, and visiting our friends. These are by no means monumental things to lose, but the sheer number of bills from March 2017 made sure that we had little choice but to give them up for a while until we receive our first paycheck.

Luckily (or perhaps unluckily for me), one activity that I did not have to eliminate is visiting the gym. We are fortunate enough to have a gym in our building that is available free of charge. This past week, I took it upon myself to work on my fitness in order to excel on the Ultimate field. This decision was wholeheartedly supported by Kris, and she made sure that I committed to going every day. This did mean giving up time that I would otherwise be spending playing games and gathering my thoughts before school. However, my short stint of working out has allowed me to feel more competent on the Ultimate field, and I will continue to work out going ahead. I might even reach my lowest recorded weight if I keep persevering. But for now, I shall keep it up and keep striving to meet my goals.

Sadly, these efforts have been impeded by the final significant event to happen these past few weeks – my acquisition of food poisoning on Wednesday. I spent a morning making friends with my apartment’s toilet and groaning on the bed. Whilst it was not the most severe food poisoning I can imagine, it was certainly enough to make my teaching day the most difficult and uncomfortable one that I’ve had in Korea. Why didn’t I just take the day off? Because I only get 3 sick days in the entire year, and I’d rather save them for a time if, like Kristen, something serious and unexpected happens that makes it impossible for me to work, not simply difficult.

So, between worrying about finances, making my body incredibly sore, and eating a dodgy burger, the last few days in Korea have been challenging. Nevertheless, we’ve pushed on and made it through. There are several good things on the horizon to look forward to, including a visit from a relative, a long weekend, lots of Ultimate, and finally getting paid, so the next few weeks look more promising than the last few!

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A Good Few Days

I have neglected you, dear readers, and for that I apologize. I bring much news! The time between my last post and this has been filled with positive events for Kris and I. I have covered my first Esports event, successfully applied for a Dota 2 magazine, played some Ultimate, and taken another step towards that opaque concept known as adulthood.

The news of which I am arguably most proud is my coverage of the recent HearthStone Seoul Cup World Invitational. The tournament hosted 8 of the top HearthStone players from around the world in two days of single-elimination competition. A few days before the tournament, an expansion was released for HearthStone, resulting in some crazy, fresh strategies to be showcased at the tournament.

While I did enjoy watching the games immensely, my most significant moments lay just outside of the arena. I managed to secure interviews with StrifeCro and Reynad, two prominent personalities in the HearthStone scene. Reynad is a name that I have known for a while, but never explored deeply enough to have a personal opinion on. He deeply impressed me with his knowledge of the game, and love for both HearthStone and Esports in general. I gained immense respect for him in our short conversation. I have long been a fan of StrifeCro, and he lived up to my every expectation as a kind, soft-spoken gentleman. I even managed to get his signature and a picture with him. My inner fanboy was bursting with glee.

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I transcribed these interviews and turned them into features for GosuGamers. The StrifeCro interview even managed to reach the front page of the HearthStone subreddit! I was happy that my hard work and overcoming my shy nature paid off. I believe that my interview with Reynad will be even more popular, but it has yet to be released.

Front Page baby

My other major Esports-related success came from the Dota 2 sphere. A few weeks ago, I responded to a post on reddit calling for Dota 2 writers to put together a magazine about Dota 2. There were apparently over 240 applicants. I was one of the 6% who were judged as worthy. I am working on my first piece for the first issue, and I hope to live up to the faith that has been placed in me.

After a busy few days of writing and teaching, I was happy to enjoy a long weekend. Kris and I spent most of Thursday and Friday relaxing, catching up with friends, and doing some Ultimate practice. It felt good to throw a disc again, and the practice would prove necessary. On Saturday, we had a chilled picnic for a friend’s birthday. Nothing went too out of hand, because we all had Ultimate the next day.

Sunday came around, and with it our first games of Ultimate for several weeks. We played three games, and had played some of the best Ultimate that we have all season. However, our team’s play was let down by small mistakes being punished by the opponents, and we lost all three of the games. Our team was a little downhearted, but we all enjoyed the day despite the losses.

This morning, I received word that I have been accepted for a credit card. Whilst this might not seem like that big of a deal, I was genuinely worried that I would be rejected due to the part-time nature of my job. I am glad Korea thinks me responsible enough for a credit card. I’m not sure I would trust me. When the card arrives, I will be finally be able to book plane tickets to Seattle for the holiday that Kris and I plan to take in August. As August is drawing ever closer, every day that we can have to complete the American visa application process may prove to be necessary.

So, all told, a good few days indeed. I am making my way in Esports slowly but surely, I am making sure I don’t turn into a pudgey doughball, and things are coming together for the big trip in August. I will strive to blog more regularly, and let you all know how things are going as they happen, and not all in one go like this. Here’s hoping that the majority of my updates are as positive as this one!

 

One Month in Wonju: Achievements and Goals

Kris and I have now spent one entire month living in the lovely, pokey town of Wonju. In our time here, we’ve done a bunch of stuff that I am proud of. On the other side of the coin, there are a whole lot of things that I would like to get done in the remainder of our time here, however long or short that may be. Here are five goals that I feel are most necessary to aim for in the coming months, and five achievements that Kris and I have made, in no particular order.

Goals

1.) I need to be far more pro-active in the mornings. Now that I have a more flexible job (see the achievements below), I need to make more effective use of my time. Whilst playing games is great and all, I need to start doing it on stream and creating content.

2.) I want to be able to play one more point of Ultimate Frisbee between each rest point. Currently I feel that my fitness levels are limiting my play, and I am sick and tired of feeling this way.

.3.) I should probably wear pants more around the house in the mornings.

4.) I want to find at least one paying Esports writing job, be it a once-off article or a recurring contract, in the next 4 months. Gotta start somewhere.

5.) I want to keep enjoying life as much as I have in the last month!

Achievements

1.) Kris and I (almost entirely Kris) organised an Ultimate Frisbee team in Wonju, and successfully got most of the team to our first week of games.

2.) Kris and I both managed to renew our ARCs, so we can legally stay in Korea for another year. The details may be written in permanent marker, but apparently they’re legit!

3.) I managed to secure myself a great, flexible part-time job. It gives me time to write, and lessens my time with kindergarten children. My sanity is closer to normal levels than it was last year.

4.) Kris and I have extensively cut down on the amount of cold drink (soda for my American readers) that we drink. It was largely an unconscious decision, as buying soda just never settled into our Wonju shopping routine. However, when we noticed this, we decided that this is a good thing and haven’t bought cold drink for our house since. We might have a can or two when out and about though, but nowhere near the three 1.5-litre bottles that we were drinking every week.

5.) I have begun writing for GosuGamers.net with regularity again. During the move, I wasn’t able to write a piece for them for weeks. Now, I’ve done two this week already. I want to write more in order to get more exposure, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Overall, it’s been a stellar month. Whether it’s because we’re not nearly as overwhelmed by the newness that governed our teaching experiences last year, whether we’re part of a better community, or maybe because we’re honestly just enjoying ourselves more readily, Kris and I have had a good time of it in our first month in Wonju. Here’s to many more!