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The Truth about Living in a Guesthouse

Even though my adventures in Korea have been over for quite some time now, I’ve decided to keep posting some stuff that I didn’t post while I was there, or that I just thought of, so you will see some more posts popping up over the coming weeks/months.
Besides, I have to keep this blog warm for when I’m going back to Seoul, right?

So this post is about living in a guesthouse in Korea.


It can be pretty rough; every time you want to take a shit, someone’s taking a shower; when you want to sleep because you have to get up early, someone’s going/gone clubbing and thus crazy loud; and when you want some privacy you’re shit out of luck because you’re sharing your room with 1 to 7 other people.
But even though, especially in the first months, I considered moving to a hotel many times, it didn’t take me that long to discover the positive sides to living in a hostel.

The first full month I stayed there was December, and my room (8 bed mixed dorm) was always filled with incredibly loud and obnoxious people. Unlike when doing volunteer projects, the people you meet in a hostel definitely aren’t all awesome. In fact, most of them are assholes. But after the neverending waves of clubbers and “I done gon’ screw me sum yellow pussy” people in December, I got to experience the real guesthouse life.

I shared my room with one, sometimes two people, and they were usually very well behaved. Some people came in who would also start living there for a longer time; my Korean hyung Kwang Bong, who was in his thirties but always acted like a kid; the Kpop crazy Swede Caroline and later on the tallest and manliest motherfucker ever, Daniel.
Aside from that, the staff was also incredibly homely. Watching TV together, eating pizza, drinking somaek, Jin always greeting everyone with a cheery ‘good morning!’ even though you stumbled out of your bedroom looking like a zombie at 15:00; it’s all stuff that you would never get to experience in a hotel room.


On top of that, I realized living in a hotel would be so lonely. At Pencil (my guesthouse) I met about 10 new people each week, if not more. And even if 9 of them were assholes, that’s still 1 good person every 7 days! I thinking living there has made me a bit more social, and I’m sure it kept me from getting depressed because of loneliness many times. Hell, I even let myself be persuaded to head out clubbing with them sometimes, and whenever there were some people there who were just in Seoul for the weekend to get drunk, we had drinking games and lots of great times in the communal living room. Maybe knowing the chances of ever seeing one of them again was so small had made people a little less cautious, but there’s a lot of great stories I got to witness while I was there staying sober while people went out and came back from clubbing.


One situation stands out in particular..One morning I woke up and stumbled to the downstairs bathroom to take my morning wee, but found it was locked, a big sign saying ‘BATHROOM IS BROKEN, I HAVE CALLED THE PUMBLER -DJ’ plastered on the door. All morning people were talking and complaining about it, wondering what had happened. Some rumors started flying right away, because people had heard some drunk chick had flooded the upstairs bathroom which had led to water damage even downstairs. A little later, a guy came down to explain to us what had happened; one of the American guests had had a liiiittle bit too much to drink the night before and had decided to take a shower. Subsequently, she passed out while the water was still on. The drainage in the upstairs bathroom wasn’t very good, so the water started to rise and fill the room almost up until the threshold when he walked in and saw the girl sleeping on the floor, water almost completely covering her mouth and nose. She could’ve drowned if he hadn’t lifted her up to put her in bed.
That wasn’t the end of it though. I didn’t actually know who he was talking about yet, because he didn’t mention her name, but somewhere in the afternoon one of the girls came down the stairs. As most other people, she was complaining about both bathrooms being locked and unusable when I asked her about her night. She said she only remembered stepping under the shower and then woke up in her bed. Some pieces of the puzzle started coming together and the guy explained to her it was her that caused all the damage. It was totally hilarious to see this sudden realization, let me tell you. “I DID THAT? FUCK. I ALMOST DROWNED? I BROKE THE HOSTEL? I BROKE THE HOSTEL! FUCK!”

Even though I learned to enjoy such antics and the constant presence of other people, I sometimes needed some time for myself. I usually retreated to the table in the kitchen that no one ever used, hooked up my laptop, and ignored everything else. The table was kind of out of sight so usually I’d be ignored while people were talking in the living room.


Over the course of my time there, Pencil really started to feel like home to me, and I miss it dearly.
Even though I am planning to get my own room when I go back to Seoul, I’m pretty sure I will try to stay there again, if only for a little while.



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This entry was posted on 15 March 2012 by in Korea, Travel and tagged , , , , , , .

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Forgotten Tomes


  • 25,091 Minds Expanded


There's just no stopping this guy!
Season 2 #GSL champion #김대엽 #Stats  is also your Season 2 #SSL champion!
In an amazing back and forth, the #Protoss ultimately managed to defeat his #Zerg rival #박령우 #Dark.
As the #Starcraft season is coming to a close, I can only look forward to more of the same next year.

#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #SC2 #스타크래프트2 #스타2 #Starcraft2 #esports #gaming #progamer #Korean #gamer #videogames #tournament #저그 #프로토스 #경기 #게임 #프로게이머 #champion #Splyce From #temples to #churches.

#church #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #religion #Christian #Christianity #cross #Korean #spooky #spoopy #filter #woods #교회 #무서워 #서울 #기독교 I had a great time working with #SBS on their new program #내방안내서 in the beautiful #Mihwangsa #temple. I'm sure that @zazimusic has made @haemin_sunim proud with their song based on his book, #멈추면비로소보이는것들.
며칠동안 #미황사 에서 시간을 보내는 게 큰 인상을 주었고 만난 사람들 너무 친절하게 챙겨서 감사하는 말 밖에 못 한다.
다들 #수고했어.

#Korea #SouthKorea #tv #filming #television #tvshow #Koreantv #Buddhism #Buddha #traditional #절 #불교 #텔레비전 #쇼 #촬영 #버라이어티 #발송 I came back to #Seoul yesterday. Waking up to the sound of cars passing under my window and people shouting instead of the sound of the waves rolling over the beach and bugs chirping, I realized again that a part of me hates this city, no matter how much I love it. Now I understand why #혜민스님 makes the trip back to #미황사 so often even though he lives in Seoul as well.

For people living in a big city like this, it's important to #slowdown and not get caught and lose yourself in the flow of things. Life in the #countryside and in a #temple is so different, so much more #empty, but so much more fulfilling.

#Korea #SouthKorea #Mihwangsa #color #peace #reflection #religion #Buddhism #Buddha #tranquility #traditional #절 #평화 #불교 #해남 #108배 #전통 #역사 #생각 #자성 #내이야기 #미황사 에서 사흘밖에 안 보냈는데, 그래도 #생각 을 많이 바뀌었다. #성찰 하면서 내 한국 생활도 생각하고 한국 사람들의 #촌 을 생각하면서 왜 한국이랑 사랑에 빠졌는지 다시 깨달았어요. 한국에서 사는 것이 선물이니까.. 잘 살아야지.

#절라도 #절라남도 #절 #평화 #불교 #해남 #혜민스님 #Korea #SouthKorea #Temple #Shrine #tranquility #peace #reflection #religion #Buddhism #Buddha #혜민스님 의 #미황사 에서 #멈추면비로소보이는것들 많다. #절 의 #평화 를 느끼고 마음을 비우면서 깊은 생각도 하고 한국 생활을 #감사 하는 생각도 많고.. 한국이 역시 #아름다운 나라입니다. 
Another gorgeous #sunset at #Mihwangsa #temple.
I am so thankful to #SBS and 혜민스님 for letting us stay here.
Just like the title of his book, there are many things you can only see when you #slow down. Staying at the temple and talking with the staff has taught me once again that Korea is an amazing country, and I couldn't be happier to be here. 
#nofilter #Korea #SouthKorea #island #traditional #tranquility #nature #wood #meditation
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