Thursday, March 03, 2005

the hovel and EC tour

I've moved back into my old digs in Jangui-dong, in the northern part of Seoul, not far from Korea University. Here's a shot of the iron gates that protect me from the howling masses:

Let's move inside, shall we? Here's the main room, which my EC colleagues will immediately recognize as substantially larger than the living space provided by EC:

Sorry for the mess, but I was still moving in at the time. And hey, we're not done! I've got a whole kitchenette to myself! Behold:

It was skanky when I arrived, but nothing a little Windex and elbow grease couldn't solve. Next up-- the full-size fridge:

To think-- I got that fridge for free from another relative. Amazing, eh? I think the only thing I paid was delivery cost. Finally, a look at where I shower and shit:

That wraps it up for my home, though I might post another shot of my house's front (i.e., inside the gate) so you can see the layout more clearly. There are three residences, one of which is currently unoccupied. The main residence is on the building's second floor; it's where my K'eun Adjoshi and his family used to live for decades. They moved out to Ch'ang-dong, to a really nice apartment, but the folks in Jangui-dong still pay rent to Adjoshi.

The first floor has the other two (much smaller) residences. The building is old. Clint Eastwood old. It smells. This morning, the pipes were breathing kimchi-- no joke. I assume the lady upstairs was dumping red kimchi-water down her sink, and I was getting the brunt of it since my bathroom is directly beneath her kitchen. Wouldn't surprise me. My place also has some of the nastiest moldy wallpaper you can imagine, and it's a haven for bugs, especially in the summer. The windows are the worst part: I turn the heated ondol floor up high, but 90% of the heat is wasted because the windows are so old and drafty. The only way to survive during the evening is to sleep against the heated floor, with a blanket over you to trap the heat. You also have to wear a hood, because the draft would otherwise keep your head too cold.

Adjoshi is convinced this is the best apartment in the world. "It's warm in winter, cold in summer!" he says proudly. Actually, it's the opposite, but I'm not about to say that to him because, you know, it'd hurt his feelings and all that. I've already given up trying to reason with him about the goddamn electric fans. Actually, I'll be happy to be out of here in a month or so. If I can find a nice, modern place, that'll be perfect. I always feel like I might end up catching some disease (or dying of black lung) while at Jangui-dong.

Onward to the promised EC pics.

Here's one of my co-workers, Valery:

She hails from Pennsylvania, talks really fast, and pronounces "about" like a Canadian.

Here's one of my favorite students:

He's planning to go to school in America-- private high school and then college. His English is already quite good; it just needs the kind of work that only immersion can provide.

Here are two of the front desk elves, Sarah and Jinny:

Jinny gave me a really nice gift along with her tearful goodbye. She's a truly sweet person.

This is Rbt. That's how his name appears on the chart. Rbt holds a terrible secret. I can't tell you what it is, because it'd make your head implode at the speed of light squared, converting your brain and skull into pure energy and lighting up your city for a few brief moments before winking out of this plane of existence.

A terrible secret.

Strangely, Rbt's a Canadian who pronounces "about" like an American. Maybe I'm wrong about how Americans and Canadians pronounce "about."

This is Penny:

She's not always drunk on the job, but on that particular day she had to lean against me to stop listing. She's got a South African passport but is more of a Malawian. She's got a South African boyfriend. "Keeping it in the continent," as our resident Englishman cracked.

Speaking of the English, here's Jonathan:

Jonathan, our token Brit, is the resident pedagogical stud and has a damn good-looking sister. But she's married. Speaking of married people, this is Nicole:

Nicole's got a Canadian husband, and she pronounces French words quite well.

This is Minji, who speaks fluent Spanish along with fluent English:

That's a student with her; didn't catch the name.

As you see, just about everyone's wearing a lab coat. The lab coat's a requirement, you know.

This is Katy:

Katy got promoted to assistant manager, if I'm not mistaken, but she's been pretty good about not lording it over us.

One of EC's new teachers is Heather:

I wish her luck. Does she know what she's gotten herself into?

Here's Dennis, who lived in Boston for a few years. Dennis was my most recent partner teacher. We all teach in teams composed of one expat and one Korean. Dennis rocks. The women love him. Too bad, ladies: he's already got a very good-looking girlfriend. Behold your Dennis:

Here's a picture that makes my skin crawl:

The above is your first and only look at Imelda (not her real name), one of the prime reasons for me to leave EC. Let's move on, shall we?

Here's me doing my Stanley Kubrik look:

EC drives a person nuts. Surely you understand. The above pic was taken right before I applied a power drill to my balls.

Here's another asylum shot for you:

EC rooms are small, designed for one-on-one classes. When people aren't looking, I can usually be found crawling on the walls like Regan from "The Exorcist" or that possessed girl at the beginning of "Constantine."

One of my students was a cute little high schooler. She went to Japan on a trip with her family, visiting relatives she has there. When she came back, she was so glad to see me that she gave me a little head:

And that's all, folks. Scroll down to see my salute to EC.

The ass frightens you, doesn't it. You find yourself strangely attracted to and repelled by it, yes?


Now go and sin no more.


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