St. Ophistel Apts


First full paycheck is in the bank! Last week I received my ARC (Alien Registration Card) which is kind of like a green card in South Korea and was able to open up a bank account. Now I just need to register my cell phone and I’m back on the grid! Being without a cell phone, car, bank account or computer for a month and a half was a rather surreal time, haha.

This last weekend was uneventful for the most part but quite enjoyable. Friday night I stayed in Daelim with some of the coworkers. The guys all met up at the indoor screen golf establishment across the street from our apartment building. Screen golf is interesting, I mean it’s definitely not the real deal and the fake plants and piped in birdsongs add a certain faux chesseyness to it but all in all I was kind of impressed. I was allowed to bring in a cheese pizza from the local “Pizza School” (much more tolerable if you add fake bacon bits, oregano, hot sauce and garlic powder) and some Chongha (kind of like Soju but less alcoholic and not as harsh tasting). I didn’t play this eighteen but enjoyed the spectating and smack talking. A pyramid of empty Cass cans at the end of the night was our testament to not worrying about crashing the cart.

Using my paycheck I was able to pay for two epic upcoming events in the next month. The first of these is the Boryeong Mud Festival on the South East Coast here in Seoul. Featuring tons of mud-wrestling, jousting and the like it draws a rowdy crowd of foreigners and Korean for one outstanding weekend of debauchery. I’m going with my coworkers and we reserved a package with a group that is renting out a ton of buses with complimentary beers and has reserved three entire hotels just for people who are part of their group. $100 bucks seemed like a score for the accommodations and busing.

Fingers crossed for sunshine.

This was until my coworker totally outdid herself by making the travel and housing arrangements for Summer vacation. Four of us are traveling down to Busan mid-week of our on week vacation in August. For the total cost of $179 we are taking the KTX (traveling at over 300+ km per hour it is the second fastest train on the planet) and staying at a swanky hotel the first night (Tuesday). The next two nights we have a sweet guest house with full amenities and four bunk beds right near the beach for easy access. The ride back will be a little longer in the commuter train but I know I’ll be so tired it won’t even register past my earphone aided power/recovery nap on Friday back to Seoul.

Add onto all this that I moved apartments on Sunday from the lowly fourth four surrounded by Koreans to the 7th floor which is all SLP employees. I managed to luck out with this because the previous tenant left a ton of stuff which I will definitely utilize in my time here. Now I just need to get over to the lighting store and get some paper lanterns to add a little ambience to the place. Once I have it outfitted to my taste I’ll post some pictures. Until then enjoy this video courtesy of Gold Panda.

http://pitchfork.com/tv/#/music-videos/970-gold-panda/

   Monday was Memorial day and a national holiday so school was not in session. Both my grandfathers fought in the Korean war so I was somewhat pondering doing the typical Korean activity on this day (or at least that’s what my class on holidays states) about going to the War Memorial Museum. Looking at my dirty laundry that had built up in the past week made me think twice about this so I ended up just staying in my apartment.

   All in all it was quite the productive day off. We only have a washer in my apartment (dryers are fairly rare over here) so I did a large load and brought it up to my roof where there is a clothesline and pins. For supper I hard-boiled some eggs, added a can of chili tuna as well as some green onions, leafy cabbage and garlic. I ran to the market and bought some fresh cherry tomatoes to accompany the black soybean, blanched cabbage stem pasta dusted with a 27 her/spices mix (thanks again for the Bragg’s Sprinkle grandma!) and Parmesan. Dessert was one of the leftover chocolate chip cookies from my friend Mary.

   The meal was delicious and the perfect fuel for that night’s Korean language studies. I’ve been pretty satisfied with my progress, it’s nice being able to sound out the written language, though I have no idea what the word is even though I can say it. Great low-key way to finish the weekend!

Doing my laundry old-school style.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Meal with a view.

Studying my Korean while waiting for the clothes to dry.

 

The title was said a few times while playing darts with my coworkers this weekend. Hope a few of you caught the NBA Jam reference. I like it for being appropriate on a couple of levels, both the climate and my outlook. The temperature is rapidly rising here in Seoul with Saturday being in the high 70s and Sunday feeling even warmer (I would guess low 80s). Since Washington had somewhat of a long, protracted winter (it had a random snow flurry out at my folks at the beginning of May and a chilly Monsoon the last weekend I was there) I’m having to rapidly develop a bit more of a warm temp tolerance. Pretty happy about buying a couple extra pairs of shorts before I left the States.

Skyscrapers all the way to the mountains.

Lucky for me that my coworkers have found a great way to beat the heat. We all just go up to the roof of our apartment building and bask out on blankets with a cd player providing some audio satisfaction. I had some frozen grapes and sunchips I contributed to the cause and was able to do my first loads of laundry since I arrived. Up on the 8th floor we get a pretty good breeze and there are already clotheslines and pins so most of my laundry dried within 4 hours of hanging it.

 

We also had a couple coworkers that had just came back from the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) on the border with North Korea. They brought some North Korean beer and wine up to the roof. The beer wasn’t bad though hard to gauge when it’s warm and the wine was actually made with blueberries and tasted pretty decent. It’s interesting how little I think about the threat posed by North Korea considering how close they are in proximity. This morning while walking to class I was struck with this thought when I looked up into the sky and three Blackhawk Helicopters were flying North over the buildings in the direction of the most heavily fortified border in the world.

On a different note I’ll conclude this post with the second reason the title seems apt, my perspective. I really feel like I’m getting into my grove. Still no huge amount of culture shock, definitely some moments of social vertigo and at times feeling slightly frustrated when trying to navigate a city this large when you can’t read the majority of the signs but I kinda thought that would happen. All in all I’m feeling really happy already with Seoul and am pretty happy about making the decision to come over here. Time will tell and I shouldn’t be extremely confident because that could just set me up for a huge disappointment down the road but I could see myself making some great friends over here and gaining a more enriched perspective on life and the world.

Thanks for reading, Cheers!

NBA Jam just reminds me of great times as a chillun.