Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

    Helo welcom 2 my websight

New year, New home, New address!

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…

Richard Luijten
대구 달서구 호산동로35길 23
202호 (호산동379-9 청담하이츠)
704-947
South Korea


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.

3

Yes, I actually slept on that…*whatever* stained thing there…

1

At first I thought I’d never be able to fill this room up. Boy was I wrong.

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.

2

When this picture was taken, my room was basically a hobo’s shopping cart turned over into a room with a fancy desk stuffed up to the wall. It was kinda surreal.

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!

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18 comments on “New year, New home, New address!

  1. Anonymous
    7 February 2015

    Leuk om te lezen Ries!

  2. gemma
    7 February 2015

    Leuk!! Fijn om te lezen en fijn dat je wat voor jezelf hebt nu. :) ik vind t nog altijd retedapper dat je de stap naar Korea gemaakt hebt.

    En ik wil graag in een volgende blog lezen wat je irritant vindt aan wonen in korea, welke dingen je doet die je thuis nooit zou doen, waar je mee luncht, wat de grootste verrassing is geweest, hoe een gemiddelde dag er uit ziet, een beeldverslag van wat je eet op een gemiddelde dag, en een fotorepo van een supermarkt (ik hou van supermarkten).

    • Ghislaine Groenewegen
      9 February 2015

      Ja, die supermarkt! Dat wil ik ooooook!

    • Anon Of Holland
      21 February 2015

      Het eten en de supermarkten zijn vandaag getackled!
      Je andere vragen bewaar ik voor een volgende keer :3
      Thanks voor de ideeën!

      Het voelt hier ondertussen overigens veiliger dan in Nederland…ik woon op mezelf, heb alles wat ik nodig heb, krijg elke maand geld en wordt behandeld als een tiener die niets zelf kan doen so..dat verzacht de stap behoorlijk, haha.

  3. Kpop_everyday_
    7 February 2015

    Hey, ik volg je al heel lang op YouTube en ik wist niet dat je ook een blog had. Ik had wel een vraagje: worden er ook vakken gegeven in het Engels op een universiteit in Zuid-Korea?

    • Anon Of Holland
      21 February 2015

      In het kort: Dat hangt volledig af van de studie en universiteit, net zoals in Nederland. De meeste universiteiten hebben Engelstalige vakken, maar welke dit zijn en hoeveel dit er zijn verschilt per vakgebied en universiteit. Het beste kun je contact opnemen met de Universiteit zelf, of de homepage bekijken.

  4. Marcel Luijten
    8 February 2015

    Ik heb je net een e-mail gestuurd maar ik had het filmpje van je kamer nog niet gezien. Je hebt het leuk ingericht en je bed is inmiddels ook gearriveerd zag ik wel. Het is nu echt JOUW kamer geworden. Veel plezier ermee en nog van harte gefeliciteerd met het behalen van je score op school. Wij zijn trots op je hoor!!!!

    • Anon Of Holland
      21 February 2015

      Komende donderdag de volgende toets…ik denk dat die wat minder wordt hoho ;_;

      Maar m’n kamer wordt met de week meer mijn kamer, which I really like. Ik vind het haast zonde dat ik ‘m over een jaar op moet geven voor ‘n nieuwe..

  5. Kathy
    9 February 2015

    Hej kerel,

    wat fijn om te lezen dat het zo goed gaat. Ik mis het dnd wel heel erg hoor!!

    Ik hoop dat je het wel iets rustiger krijgt als het Koreaans wat beter gaat ;)
    hoe lang ben je nog bezig met alleen de taal?

    heel veel groetjes uit Brabant :3

    • Anon Of Holland
      21 February 2015

      Ik mis DnD in general ;_; Er zijn genoeg nerds hier, maar ze zijn net niet nerd genoeg om te DnD’en (maar ze spelen wel Magic…figures..)
      Het originele plan was om tot Augustus hier te zijn om Koreaans te leren, maar nu ik daadwerkelijk een idee heb van hoe onmogelijk het is om in een jaar een taal te leren, hoeveel lesuren je ook in een dag propt (iets wat de Koreaanse Overheid ook goed zou doen te realizeren) ben ik aan het overwegen langer te blijven als ik mijn master niet naar een Engelstalige kan veranderen. Life’s not bad, maar ik zal blij zijn als ik eindelijk een tekenfilm voor peuters zou kunnen begrijpen…

      Groetjes uit Dalseogu ;]

  6. Ghislaine Groenewegen
    9 February 2015

    Held! Ik ben vooral geïnteresseerd in eten, dus dat?! :P En misschien kun je ons hier elk blog een paar letters van het alfabet leren? Want steeds als je iets in het Koreaans post, voel ik me wat dom dat ik het niet kan lezen en blijkbaar iedereen wel…. ^^

    Jeeeej Richi zo tof :D

  7. ksujin
    29 July 2015

    Hello Richard, I am a 2015 KGSP Scholar and will be in Keimyung in less than 1 month.
    I am curious, I thought that it is a must to stay in the dorm during Korean Language Course. How do you get out?
    I don’t really like their 11 PM curfew.

    and by the way, I am friends of Lala form Indonesia :)

    • Anon Of Holland
      31 July 2015

      Hi Sujin,

      the curfew is the least of the dorm’s problems, so I understand your feeling. However..I heard they tightened up the rules for leaving a lot when we came and they have tightened it up even more for you guys, so it might be hard to live somewhere else. If you happen to be muslim you’ve got a lot of great excuses to get out (can’t cook your own food, roommate can’t deal with midnight praying, stuff like that) but for everyone else it’s a bit hard..you’ll need some actual reason why it would be better for you to live outside.

  8. Bourne
    31 August 2015

    Hi Richard. Did you ever experienced anyone leaving the KGSP Scholarship after joining it? If someone due to some reason do it after the first three months, you still have to pay back everything to NIIED?

    • Anon Of Holland
      3 September 2015

      Hi Bourne,

      I’m pretty sure I already answered this question for you on facebook, but in case anyone else is wondering: As far as I remember, you are always free to quit the program, but if you do so within the first 6 months (it could be 3, better to check the rulebook on that one) you have to pay back all of the money that you have received so far. After those 6 months quitting is ‘free’.
      Hope that helps!

  9. Pingback: My one room in Daegu | Anonymous of Holland           -A Dutchman in Korea-

  10. Pingback: RIP 2015 | Anonymous of Holland           -A Dutchman in Korea-

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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.

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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 Everything is more beautiful in #Jeollanamdo, even a #sunset.

#nature #Korea #SouthKorea #sea #island #절라도 #절라남도 #바다 #섬 #자연 #일몰 Away from the hectic Seoul life for a couple of days, enjoying clean #Jeollanamdo air and the #calm of the #Mihwangsa #temple.

#Buddhism #Buddhist #Zen #Relaxation #Balance #Nature #Korea #SouthKorea #미황사 #절라도 #절라남도 #절 #평화 #불교
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