Helo welcom 2 my websight
Okay, so it has been an inexcusably long time since I last posted here, but I have a really good excuse, believe me!
It’s not that I haven’t had anything to post, but more like I haven’t had the time to do so.
Since my last post I took my first TOPIK exam, successfully finished Level 2 of Korean with a test score of 98 and started level 3 which consists of going to class for 6 hours on every single weekday (and studying on the weekends if you can make yourself do that without going nuts) this month while foreign students at other schools enjoy a month of vacation.
Also, and this was and continues to be a pretty big time drain: I moved out of the Keimyung dormitory.
The dorm was cheap and included food, and it was close to my friends here but…at the age of 27 I just couldn’t live being treated like a 17 year old. Having no privacy whatsoever, only being able to shower at allotted times and not having a fridge really got to me, so I decided to move out on the 4th of January. At first, it wasn’t easy. Especially financially, because I had to buy all my furniture myself and obviously start up costs were high since I didn’t bring anything from the Netherlands, but nowadays I’m fairly comfortable. We don’t get so much money that I can do whatever I want and I can’t really go out and do fun stuff anymore like how I used to, but it’s worth it for the freedom of living by myself.
Also, before I forget, my new address, should you want to send me things like..I dunno..cards, or borrelnootjes, or presents, or tomato soup, or paprika chips…
대구 달서구 호산동로35길 23
202호 (호산동379-9 청담하이츠)
Anyway, before I show you guys my sweet new pad, I wanted to tell you all something about the process of getting a One Room (what we would call a studio apartment) in Korea, since it’s pretty different from what we’re used to back home.
The best way to go about it if you’re a useless foreigner like me without any contacts, is to visit a 부동산 (real estate agency) and tell them what you’re looking for. Interestingly enough, they will basically ignore all the things you tell them and just show you whatever they want anyway, but at least it helps to show that what kind of price range you’re in. Instead of the slow way this kind of thing works back home (look at some pictures, read some descriptions, talk about what you want and where you’d like to live and stuff like that) they just put you in the backseat of their fancy car and drive you around to visit the homes they have on their sales list. Everything else is equally 빨리 빨리; as soon as you step into a room they ask you if it has “entered your heart” (the Korean way of asking if you like it) and if you wouldn’t like to sign the contract right now. When you tell them you’d like to look around more after viewing about 4 apartments they either give you a weird “헐, what is wrong with this foreigner?” look, start a huge rant about how you’ll never be able to find a place as great as this at this price (all in Korean, even though they know you can barely understand a third of it) or actually scoff at you. I guess studying is not the only thing the Koreans like to do quickly.
Anyway, after two days of searching (also pretty quickly in my opinion) I found a place that really 들어’d my 마음, right next to the 부동산 that was trying to sell the place to me. The price was a bit on the high side at 300,000 a month, but the only other apartment that was at least acceptable was 280,000 a month so it wasn’t that big a difference. So I paid my 2,000,000 원 down payment and my first month’s rent and moved in a week later with nothing but the clothes on my back and the crap that I’d bought in my 4 months of living here.
At first, things really sucked…hard. I had tried to find a second hand bed before moving in because I didn’t want to sleep on the floor and furniture is prohibitively expensive here in Korea, but I wasn’t able to because somehow I always arrived just too late to buy it. Luckily, another Dutch guy who also studied at Keimyung gave me a couch cushion I could sleep on, but it was thin, too short, and kinda smelly.. After a week of searching in vain I caved in and ordered a bed off of Gmarket, Korea’s eBay/Amazon hybrid.
While waiting for that to arrive, I scouted a Korean second hand café (what Koreans call forums on their Google equivalent Naver) in search of a desk at a reasonable price. A cheap, no frills three boards stuck together desk would run at least 40,000 원, and a decent one easily over 100 not even including delivery, so second hand was really the only option. I traveled to Daegu’s second hand furniture disctrict several times, but was kind of turned off by their prices for seriously crappy looking stuff, so I decided to just keep trying on Naver and ultimately that determination paid off. I wasted a lot of money paying something to pick the damn thing up with me because I don’t have a car, but for 100,000 I had both a desk and a desk chair, halleluja.
I still didn’t have a bed though, and I ended up having to wait for that for almost a month. Two weeks after ordering I had asked the seller what was up, and he had told me to call the distribution center, which promptly hung up on me because it was too much trouble for them to try to understand my broken Korean. After I asked my girlfriend for help, she found out that the bed wasn’t actually there, and after some angry mails and phone calls to the seller it turned out that he “hadn’t had time to send it yet because he had been so busy recently.” A week after that it finally arrived though and it was (and still is) like a dream to finally be able to sleep on a decent bed again. The bed at the dorm was Korean style – cheap and hard, with no real support. For this one I paid a bit more for a decent mattress and it really feels great.
Anyway, I doubt this is very interesting to read, so I’ll just talk a bit more about living here instead.
My place is about 5 minutes away from school, 10 minutes away from the nearest subway station and 20 minutes away from the Keimyung Dormitory should I want to go there for whatever reason. It’s also about 3 minutes away from my best friend’s home, which makes midnight drinking all the more comfortable. I’m doing well here, not forgetting to clean, cook, do the dishes and do my laundry. It eats up a lot of free time, leading to even less time to study, play games or do things like post here or skype with my parents or text my friends back home, but as I mentioned it’s worth it for just the feeling of freedom. In the dorm, it felt like you never really left school, and it definitely didn’t feel like living in Korea. You live inside this kind of bubble that consists of the campus only, and that was something I really didn’t like. Now, I have to deal with a bunch of shit and I never have enough money to do fun things, but at least I’m here in Korea and I’m experiencing life as it would be if I really lived here. So, I’m glad I made this decision and I’d recommend it to anyone coming here to study.
That’s all for now, but I was thinking I’d really like to hear from you if you have any questions for me. Writing on my own can be a little hard sometimes when inspiration just refuses to strike, but if you guys send in some questions I think I’ll easily be able to talk a bit while answering them. So if there’s anything you’re curious about concerning life in Korea, my life in Korea, studying the Korean language or anything else, please let me know and I’ll see if I can put it into a future post!
Ik heb recentelijk gemerkt dat het niet altijd even gemakkelijk is om zomaar wat te typen, ookal weet ik grofweg wat ik wil zeggen. Daarom lijkt het me leuk als jullie, als jullie vragen hebben, die vragen vooral stellen door ofwel hier te commenten ofwel mij een email te sturen. Ik zal die vragen dan in een toekomstige blogpost proberen te beantwoorden!