Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday: day of prep

I'm sitting in the lobby lounge of the Foreign Language Education Center,* typing this blog entry while enjoying very speedy Wi-Fi service, having successfully avoided my Ajumma's entreaties to join her at church.** I was, to be honest, surprised to find that this building was open on Sunday, but open it is, and there've been plenty of students coming in and going out of it while I've been sitting here. Are there Sunday classes, or are Dongguk students just nerds who can't stay away from classrooms?

In any case, I'm banging away at my keyboard, thinking out loud in prose. I have many things on my "immediate to-do" list. Here are most them, some of which will get done today:

•Re-walk the route to my yeogwan so I can get the path down straight in my head.
•Study the textbooks that I've received from both Dongguk and the Golden Goose.
•Walk around the Dongguk campus, learning the names and serial designations of the buildings. My schedule for the fall semester lists the buildings by a single letter: Building A, Building K, etc.
•Pick up Sean and Jeff at the airport on Monday; take them to Itaewon and sit down to discuss how they see their week in Korea unfolding.
•On Thursday the 14th, train down to Hayang to do one final international wire transfer to the US. My US account will be in the red by then, and I'll have $72 in overdraft fees to deal with, but that's pretty normal for me.
•Call the KEPCO branch in Hayang and confirm that it received my final payment.
•Collect a bottle of Metamucil from Tom, who offered it to me after I bellyached about not having had any psyllium fiber in nearly a year. Whole giant bottle, unused, according to him.
•Re-pack items to be shipped out to my yeogwan on the 18th.
•Visit that Dongmyo market again and buy a set of bathroom slippers.
•Email my boss at the Golden Goose some of the information he requested re: my mother. He had graciously elected to help me figure out how to get myself on an F4 visa.
•Continue to talk with my brother David about voiceover work for his firm.

That last item is a very recent development, and it might not pan out at all. David said that his PR firm will be looking for voice talent, soon, to do voiceover work for some of the videos his company produces. The work pays an astounding $900 per hour, but the major hitch is that the work is not normally done asynchronously, i.e., I wouldn't be able to record a track, send it, receive a critique later, then re-record even later than that. Normally, the voice talent would be in studio at the same time that the company people would be listening in. Feedback should ideally be instantaneous, as should re-dos. One of my cousins has a recording studio, strangely enough, and I've asked David whether it might be possible for me to record a track, send it quickly, and Skype with his Stateside crew at the same time. No response yet to that proposal, but I'm sure one will be forthcoming once David gets back from camping in the Appalachians with his dog.

*The building I'm in is called the Hyaehwa-gwan in Korean; I don't know what the hanja for "Hyaehwa" are, but I'm pretty sure they're not "foreign-language education."

**Third Ajumma, typical Korean-style Presbyterian that she is, is worried that I've converted to Buddhism. When I said I wouldn't be going to church, she snapped, "You want to go to temple instead?" I smiled and told her I wasn't very churchy or very temple-y, and that I meditated only occasionally. This makes me, I suppose, a poor practitioner of two religions.



John from Daejeon said...

I know you are/were in a hurry to get settled in a new place before starting your new job, but I don't think you did your housing search justice by not asking co-workers and students about affordable housing in the area, especially if you are/were open to being a roommate for a few months until your build up your wad for your future pad.

Kevin Kim said...

Doubtful that I could have found cheaper, John. We searched for a few hours, and I had begun the search by taking your earlier advice and looking online. One of the ajummas we met ran a really nice goshitel (which I had found via online search), but she had no spare rooms, and this proved to be the case for other goshiweon and goshitels as well. According to her, this lack of rooms is because most of the students don't go home during vacation: they simply stay put, perhaps because they're unwilling to lose their housing and/or they're unwilling to move more than once a year.

For W400,000/month, I've got a place for which I pay no utility bills. Unlimited water, electricity, gas, and laundry facilities. (Essentially free A/C.) Plus, it's close to the university; I can be on campus in less than ten minutes. The closer to campus you are, the more expensive the lodging tends to be, and Tom and I did a pretty thorough search of the neighborhoods close to campus. Sure, there may be some hidden gem out there, but I doubt it. And no: I wouldn't want a roommate. Sorry. That's a deal-breaker.