Saturday, March 03, 2007

War Without End

It's been a chaotic week for someone in my line of work, with global markets tumbling and data feeds failing under the strain of the workload. On Wednesday, I stayed up beyond my normal 2am finish watching the Dow Jones Index fall steadily, thinking I would go to bed when it started to reverse. It didn't, and I eventually went to bed at 6am - 9pm UK time - when the Dow closed. Thursday wasn't much better, resulting in a 4am finish, and a 12pm awakening.

Within an hour of getting out of bed at 12pm, I was sat down in a Chinese restaurant with Korean Mother to have 'lunch'. At least, it was lunch for her, and more like breakfast for me. I may be working UK hours, but Korea isn't, and it's a bit jarring to the system having to wake up for a lunch meeting. Most of this week has involved waking up late morning, and finding very little time after catching up on post-market reports before I'm gearing up for the start of a new trading day at 6am UK time - 3pm local. I was shocked yesterday to discover it was Friday, I've lost track of time so badly.

Recently we've been going out less during weekdays and I've been making more of an effort to learn Korean, although I'm still very busy with other things. My vocabulary has grown to almost 100 words, which is fairly useless of course, and on the face of it little to be proud of save for the fact it probably represents about five hours cumulative work over five days.

My work hasn't been going so well since I came to Korea but it still brought in an income so I thought it worth continuing. After the long hours and increasingly late nights (or early mornings) of the past week though, I'm toying with the idea of easing off trading for a while to concentrate more on learning Korean. I think I could make great strides with the language if I made a serious effort, which I am honestly not doing at the moment. In retrospect I wish that I'd not started trading as quickly when I got here, but instead used more of my first couple of months to pick up some basic speaking skills, which would have then had months of reinforcement and given me more independence and satisfaction along the way.

I never wanted to turn into one of those foreigners who still hasn't learned Hangul after months of living here, and who still can't function even at the basic level in the language after a year or more - but aside from the Hangul which only took a few hours to learn - my lack of any other progress in the language is setting me up to be one of those foreigners. So I'm under an increasing amount of self-imposed pressure as the days tick by.

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