I have rarely been accused of fervent nationalism, but living in Asia has made a few things apparent.  The first is that these days I identify as being ‘European’.  Such is the island mind-set of my native land, this is not something that has really struck me before.   Now I occasionally get a little pang, not only for green fields and cider, but for crumbling, yellow brick walls, old alleyways and wine.

The second is that, few and far between as we are here, I rather like British people.  For one, social interaction is just so easy. Quickly and simply a mutual understanding about the basics of life can be gained, allowing the conversation move to irreverent joking about everything and anything, and hearty chuckles about how it’s still snowing back home.

The Saturday hike I went on last week finished with a Busan club football game.  A couple of stands were filled, and gathered there was the largest collection of foreigners I’ve seen in one place since coming to Korea.  I was sat behind the regular group of foreigners who apparently attend all matches…  As they chanted to the tune of ‘coming round the mountain’, blew horns and banged a very large drum, I leaned across to a Brighton lad who’d been hiking with me and said ‘What do you reckon to most of them being British?’ He grinned and answered ‘I’m pretty sure they are.’

The funny thing is, I never went to a football match back in the U.K.  Yet surrounded by avid football fans who had obviously packed their passion to come to Korea, I felt a sense of curiously displaced comfortable familiarity.  Though not quite of the horn-blowing fan variety, my hiking/British comrade and I shared amused glances when the group got particularly enthused, and I still sometimes find myself singing: “Oh I’d rather live in BUSAN than GWANGJU…”

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