Friday, May 28, 2004

sudden change in plans!

No, I won't be staying where I am, but I'm still seeking something closer to my current location. I might end up stuffing my large self into a goshi-tel for a month or two (or maybe a hasuk, which is arguably better, but still not ideal), until I can find some real digs. The more I thought about it, the more I realized:

1. I'd really rather have my own space, even if it's a cramped and rented space.

2. I don't want to turn what is currently a 40-minute commute (a walk to Dolgoji Station, three stops on the subway, and then a 20- to 25-minute walk to campus) into a nearly two-hour commute by moving back down south to Karak-dong.

3. I've bothered my relatives too much as it is. My #3 Adjumma came through for me in the 90s by letting me stay in the empty rooftop apartment of her building (she and #3 Adjoshi are the landlords there); my #4 Adjoshi let me stay at his apartment in Suji for the better part of a year; and finally, my #1 Adjoshi is the one who allowed me to stay at my current abode for so cheap. Enough's enough.

I've got until about 4PM before I need to go teach some classes. I'm going to keep house-hunting, and might continue on Saturday. Although my search was fairly fruitless on Wednesday, I was also not really allowing myself the goshi-tel/hasuk options, hoping in vain that I might find a weol-loom (a "one-room," something like a studio apartment) that charged only a tiny deposit. Dream on, Kevin.

FYI: a goshi-tel is a dead-quiet, quasi-dorm environment for students taking major tests (goshi, with "shi" being the same character found in the generic word for test, shi-heom). Generally, the rule of silence is pretty strict, but I've never lived in one before, so all I know is what I remember from touring through some goshi-tel in 2002. Rent at these places varies wildly. I visited some goshi-tel where the rent was about W80,000/month for a tiny little room (barely enough room for a small bed, and floor space to turn around in tight little circles), and other places where a slightly larger room cost around W200,000/month. I don't know whether goshi-tel have rules about who can stay there-- one question I need to resolve is whether I can store my stuff in an extra room, or whether these rooms are reserved only for students. I saw some goshi-tel rooms in which the occupants had pretty much set up camp: huge piles of clothes and books everywhere, makeshift clotheslines to suspend drying laundry and various knick-knacks. It would be a cramped life, but it'd be only for a couple months.

A hasuk (or hasuk-jip) is a type of boarding house. Monthly rent (is "rent" the proper term here?) used to be around W350,000/month in the mid-90s, but I think it's closer to W500,000/month these days. A hasuk's owner, usually an adjumma, will provide meals (generally two meals a day) and laundry service for the price of rent. Not a bad option, and the room is generally a bit larger than what you'd find in a goshi-tel, though it's still pretty cramped.

Keep the tentacles and antennae crossed. By the way: if things look a bit zig-zaggy here, cut me some slack: I got my notice to move last week. As my brother David said, this is Korea-- land of sudden changes in plan. If you're going to adapt, you need to learn how to roll with it.


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