Sunday, March 06, 2005

anybody got ten million won?

Goddamn if my control freak K'eun Adjoshi isn't at it again. Bringing one of his sons along this time, Adjoshi barged into my place while I was away and started snooping around. Good thing I'm not an avid collector of online or magazine porn, because Adjoshi and Son snooped around my computer, too: screen saver wasn't on. I'm becoming increasingly annoyed with some of my relatives.

I was in a PC-bahng earlier today, checking email, when I got a call from the son, Kang-yeol. "Kevin-hyeong! Where are you? We're at your place! When can you get here?" [Hyeong means "big brother," a term also used by my younger male cousins to refer to me.] I told them I'd be there in a half-hour, already anticipating the scene: Adjoshi snooping around like a drill instructor, seeing whether I'd done a decent cleaning job, and nitpicking the way I've arranged things.

Sure enough, it started as soon as I walked in the door: "Kevin, please don't leave the light on when you leave. There could be a fire. Kevin, please don't leave your digital camera out. Someone might steal it. Kevin, use Ja-geun Adjoshi's Japanese-style bed-- it's more comfortable than the floor. Kevin, don't turn your bookcase that way because it makes the room too dark."

It didn't help to complain to Adjoshi, either, because Kang-yeol, like the parrot on the pirate's shoulder, kept seconding whatever Adjoshi said, at one point adding the infuriating, "You should listen to your elders."

I know I'm an arrogant bastard. Part of that arrogance is the confidence of knowing when I'm right and when I'm wrong. When I'm sure I'm wrong, I'm almost always willing to listen. Since I know I can be wrong much of the time, I like to think I actually do listen to people most of the time. But when I'm sure I know what I'm doing, then I don't need your fucking advice, thanks. And I sure as hell don't need to hear about listening to my elders when I know my elders get it wrong time and again.

That doesn't matter in Korean culture, though. You listen and say "yes" even when your elders are wrong. Hell, maybe it's true in American culture, too: I never contradicted my Great Aunt Gertrude and Great Uncle Trav (both on my Dad's side, of course) when they were alive. Then again, they were both fully aware of their own flaws. Korean relatives assume the frustrating, culturally sanctioned mantle of infallibility.

A lot of Americans enamored of Asian culture don't realize how big a problem this infallibility can be until they marry into a Korean family. Being part-Korean just makes it worse: you're expected to just obey. I wasn't in an obeying mood tonight, so when Adjoshi told me I needed to start hiding my camera, I crossly told him I might as well hide my entire computer. That's what prompted Kang-yeol the parrot to squawk about listening to one's elders. Fuck you, boy. I'd kick your scrawny ass if you weren't related to me.

As you might guess, I'm not in the best of moods right now. It'll pass. Moods always pass. You just ride the emotion and let it go. But since the blog is my place to vent, you get the privilege of witnessing a vent in progress. Enjoy.

Adjoshi complained that my move back to Jangui-dong was too sudden. Problem is, he told my mother this past Christmas that I was welcome back any old time, since he hadn't done any renovating. I was deeply grateful for that and assumed the matter closed. Apparently I was wrong.

Adjoshi still wants to renovate. Tonight, he told me that the family upstairs is planning to move out by the end of March, and since I'm the only other resident, I'll have to move out by that time, too. Thanks, Adjoshi. I guess I'm not the only one making "sudden" decisions.

Luckily, I was already planning to move out. CDI has an option whereby you receive less of a salary, but get 5 million won as key money toward renting a studio somewhere. I'd probably still be paying a monthly rent, but it'd be only a few hundred dollars a month. The question is where to move to, and whether I really want to take the lower-salary option. I could always move to a teensy goshi-weon (per my previous post about that option), taking the high-salary option and saving money toward a more respectable place, but that'd mean being in a goshi-weon for months on end, living in yet another shoebox. It'd also mean using the money I'd have saved up (5-10 million won) on a key deposit, which I wouldn't see again until the end of my rental term.

It's the hole I dug for myself, I suppose, and one way or another I'm going to have to bite the bullet. Thinking out loud now... I might want to explore options near the Hwarang-dae area. Studios there, at the very end of Line 6, away from the center of Seoul, might be cheaper. Then again, Line 6 is a pretty popular line, especially with foreigners. Who knows? More on this as it happens. If someone wants to float me 10 million won as key money, it'd make my search a fuck of a lot easier. You'd get it all back, and if the hypothetical landlord were to try any tricks, I'd give you whatever he didn't.

CDI tells me that training begins tomorrow (Monday) at noon, and lasts until 7PM, Monday through Thursday, with work beginning on Friday. I'm to be teaching only four days a week for the next three months, which means I won't be earning much for March. April might be a different story... I was promised that, come June, I'll have the choice of more lucrative teaching options. Yes: teaching 5 days/week at 3.8 million won/month is what I was looking forward to, not this 2.8 million won BS.

OK... my current nasty cold isn't improving my mood, so before I sour your day further, I'll cut this off now.


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