On your birthday in 2003,
we went to that Japanese restaurant
in the Seoul Hilton
and spent 240 000 won
on an a la carte dinner (another 300 000 on a camera?),

the only condition
being to get something off the menu
we had never gotten before.

I miss the Hilton,
not just for that night,
that one memory, but
it does go a long way.

Life has been like that since,
a series of things we have never
tried before.

I hope to go back, though.

To the Hilton, the Westin Chosun,
all the old haunts of the time in Seoul,
the finger food, the cho bap, the budaejigae,
the kimchi from the solleungtang place in
Shinchon after a long night.

I imagine when we go,
I will keep uttering
what’s next?
like some
maniacal infant.

Trying desperately to spend
another 240 000 won
for a point of comparison,
something to equate
perfection with.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

One thought on “Two birthdays, two paychecks”
  1. next time you come back, i’ll get you a 10% or more dc at the hilton so it’ll only be 216,000…or will that screw up your point of comparison?!! either way, looking forward to your visit!

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