Saturday, August 29, 2015

arrived, but not settled

Am resting. It's been a long day.

I prepped half my affairs last night, then did the rest at a slow, steady pace this morning and early afternoon; the mover wasn't going to arrive until around 3PM.

When the mover finally came, he turned out to be an older gent: short, loud, cheerful, gap-toothed, and energetic, with a tendency to overdramatize everything. Together, he and I wrestled my boxes and bags and furniture onto his truck; the mover threw a net over the pile and secured it with an infinitely long, heavy-duty elastic belt. I said my good-byes and thank-yous to the landlady and did a final sweep of my empty studio, then the mover and I shoved off and quickly stopped by Dongguk's Biomedical campus so I could hit a Shinhan Bank ATM and pay the mover his fee in cash. We then trundled off to Seoul.

The drive was long. As we were leaving Goyang, my buddy Tom texted that it had rained torrentially in Seoul that morning, but by the time the ajeossi and I were on the road, there was no rain and things were drying up. Traffic was horrible; it was Friday afternoon, and the driver (whose accent was amazingly hard to understand) said that Fridays were always the worst. We crawled along the road that followed the north bank of the Han River, eventually crossing the Han and heading straight to my apartment building, Daecheong Tower.

I hopped out of the truck and asked the front-desk guy where we could park so as to move my stuff into my new place. My boss at the Golden Goose had also called and warned me that I would be charged W20,000 just to use a reserved elevator for the move-in. It's a good thing he'd called: otherwise, I'd have experienced a very unpleasant surprise. (My landlady also unpleasantly surprised me by removing another month's rent from the W3 million I had thought I would be refunded.*)

The move-in took several trips and a lot of sweating by yours truly, and some obnoxious Tower denizens failed to read the large signs plastered next to "our" elevator—signs that said, "For Moving Only." Eventually, though, we got everything into my new place.

I use the word "new" loosely: Daecheong Tower is actually a fairly old and dilapidated building, and my apartment looks a bit worse for wear. (I'll write more later in a "frank" post.) There are some perks, though: slightly more floor space, a very large fridge, a huge bed provided by the company (my own bed will now become a guest bed), and the building itself which, despite being old, is huge enough to be a city in its own right: there are restaurants and shops on the ground floor and in the basement levels; there's a gym on the fourth floor; the neighborhood has schools, athletic fields, trails, a local mountain, and even more shops and restaurants. The feel is that of a hive or a warren: there are people everywhere—charging into elevators, milling about, or walking aimlessly. This might take some getting used to after six months of country-style quiet in the hinterlands of Goyang.

If all goes well, I'll be mostly settled in by Sunday night. If not, then definitely by my birthday on Monday. I need to decide how to lay out my furniture, especially now that I have two beds. I had hoped for a much larger apartment than the one I'm in; the whole "guest bed" notion is predicated on having some space and breathing room for the guest, as opposed to having both beds crammed side-by-side so that my guest will be forced to witness my snoring, drooling, and farting. In the interest of space, I might have to get rid of one of the beds. The problem right now is this: the company-provided bed is actually nicer than my own, which makes it difficult to send this bed away. Meanwhile, my bed, while less comfortable, is my bed: I purchased it—I invested money in it. It'd be a shame to suddenly throw that bed away.

So I'm here, but I'm far from settled in. I'll work on the place all day Saturday; Saturday night, I'm tutoring, then Sunday evening I'm meeting my buddy Tom in Gangnam for a pre-birthday birthday celebration. On Monday, I'm going out with a certain lady for lunch at Braai Republic in Itaewon—a place I've heard many good things about. After my birthday, I start my hiking/exercise regime in an effort to slim down for Sean's upcoming October wedding. While I'm busy working and slimming down, I'll finalize the marriage-related paperwork for Sean; I'll get my F-4 visa stuff done, and once October has come and gone, I'll finally be able to settle into a routine at my new full-time job.

Watch out for a "frank" post sometime this weekend. I've taken lots and lots of photos.

*Initially, I had anticipated paying rent up until September 4, but the landlady had texted me a few weeks earlier to say that I'd only need to pay through August. I adjusted my budget accordingly... then she pulled this shit. Either she was being tricky or I had misunderstood her text messages. Both options are possible.



  1. Hold on to your bed as you may need it in a few months if things don't work out at the G.G. Come February, you may find yourself back in a classroom. Better safe than screwed out of the cost of another bed.

  2. Braai Republic, my old nemesis! Hope you have a good time.

    As for the bed, I would agree with holding on to it if you have the space to store it. It's not really a matter of your bed being something that you purchased or invested money in--it is, after all, a sunk cost, and money that you're never going to get back. What's more important is that you can't take the company bed with you if you leave. But beds are big, and if you would end up having to pay for storage just to have a place to keep it, it may be more economical to toss it or see if you can sell it off.

  3. John,

    I'm going to be in this current job for at least two years—assuming I do get a year-end bonus when my year-long contract is up, and assuming I do indeed get the raise I'd been promised. If anything's going to force me to leave, it'll be the sheer dreariness of working in an office, clacking away at a keyboard, for 40 hours a week. But I've voiced that fear several times on this blog, and have come to terms with it, more or less. I think I'll last at least two years.


    I think it's simply wasteful to buy something, then throw it away. I've dumped over $100 into that bed, and I'm getting ready to spend another $90 to get it a proper mattress.

    But who knows? Things may change once I'm out of debt and have money to burn. I might just decide to upgrade all my possessions, giving away, throwing out, or selling my old-and-busted things in favor of the new hotness.

  4. Well, I'm not suggesting that you throw perfectly good stuff away. In fact, I would be the last person to suggest that--I personally think that the new hotness is generally overrated. There are a lot of factors to consider, of course, like whether or not you will need it again.

    But if the only reason that you're holding on to it is because you spent money on it, well, I was just saying that it is a sunk cost and that factor alone shouldn't determine what you do with it.



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