Wednesday, August 06, 2014

beachhead established

I'm in my temporary digs. Third Ajumma's being very nice; we've agreed that I'm here for a month or less, but she's consented to let me stay longer if I'm willing to pay a little rent. Meanwhile, after talking with my buddy Tom today, I think my best option is to hunt around for a humble, cramped goshiweon within walking distance of the campus. I want to find one with a private shower and toilet—none of that communal shit for this forty-five-year-old. I'll live a super-cheap lifestyle in the goshiweon for a few months, build up a W5 million reserve, then try my luck at finding a better place to live sometime around winter vacation.

In my current digs, I have no microwave. I have no refrigerator. I have no washing machine. I have almost none of the trappings of a typical place to live. Instead of a bed, I have a pile of blankets that I'll fold in half and use as a mattress. There's no air conditioning; because my fan is on its way to me via taekbae, I'm borrowing one of Third Ajumma's fans. I told her I'd give her fan back as soon as I got mine, but she said I could still use it. Two fans are definitely better than one, especially when there's no A/C.

Luckily, I've got a Wi-Fi connection: I'm siphoning it off my cousin's computer and router, one floor beneath me (it's the ubiquitous "iptime" Wi-Fi service). The connection is slow and it breaks on occasion, but it's good enough for most of my purposes.

So I'm going to head off to the local Costco to buy myself a Brita pitcher. Armed with that pitcher, I'll have an infinite supply of fresh water from my kitchen sink. Water and kimbap ought to be sufficient to keep me alive for a month. When I told Third Ajumma that I wanted to go out to Costco to buy the pitcher, she said I could just get water from her own water dispenser. When I grumbled that I didn't want to be going constantly up and down the stairs just to get water, she playfully flung some dishwater at me from her fingertips and barked, "That's why you're fat!"—implying I was being a lazybones for not wanting to negotiate a single flight of stairs. It's more than just laziness, though: what normal human being in a civilized country needs to come begging to someone else for water? It's an affront to my dignity, and that's not an easy concept to explain to Ajumma.

Things get worse before they get better. That's normally how it's gone in my life. I'm in a nosedive, but I'm slowly pulling out of it. A few months from now, I'm hopeful that things will be much improved: I'll be in a more respectable living situation, I'll be pulling in a decent salary from at least two income sources, and I'll have enough to start paying down some big personal debts before I move on to paying down my huge scholastic and car-related debts. So there's a light at the end of this tunnel, but we've got several more months to go.


1 comment:

Charles said...

Welcome back to the big city!