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A(nother) part o’ me

On Tuesday I was told to pack my things before I came to work on Wednesday so that someone from the hagwon could take my things to a new apartment. And that’s what happened.

I was expecting the new place to have air condintioning. It didn’t. It’s a little smaller than the other place – which is a good thing: it feels more comfortable. It’s two or three buildings down the road, away from the school. Like the other place it has shops on the ground floor and ‘officetel’ studio flats on the six other aboveground floors. My previous place was at the back of the building and received some traffic noise at night, presumably from vehicles coming to stock the shops. It also looked down on the occasional late-night ruckus. The new place is at the front of the building and it just has traffic going past all night.

The lack of air conditioning in this apartment is ridiculous, and I think Jon, the head foreign teacher who showed me there last night was a bit embarrassed about that. Clearly this place is cheaper than the other – and that’s the main reason for them wanting me to move again.

An example of it’s relative cheapness is the shower head in the bathroom. It’s the same connected-to-the-faucet type of shower, but the little bracket for holding it is facing you on the wall next to the mirror at face height. You have to either crouch next to the wall or hold the shower head to shower. Annoying, and in typical Korean fashion, the hose is long enough for the bracket to be located in a much more sensible place on the wall on the right. Also, the basin slowly drains when you fill it. And the gas burners seem to be missing the flat, round bit that sits on top, and don’t work.

Overall, not a great place to live – but I’m not alone: almost all the English teachers hereabouts seem to live in these buildings looking over the main road. I went to Lotte Mart last night and when I came back I shared the elevator with a very pleasant North American girl with a bicycle. I asked her if she was an English teacher (yes), she asked if I was new (also yes – kind of). She got out one floor up so the conversation didn’t go much further.

I’ve been promised an AC unit in the next couple of weeks. I can’t help thinking I’ll end up getting it just as the weather starts cooling down. Did I mention my hagwon lost 100 hundred students last month? The future’s bright, the future’s Korean.

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