Tuesday, June 16, 2009


My 고시원 (goshiweon) has a new owner. He changed the management and is personally heading the major cleaning of the entire place. I was wondering what was with all the new faces recently. I can tell which one he is because he's always a little shocked, shy, and excited when he sees me, like I'm the prize in the box~ there's a pretty young foreigner in my new investment!!! I'm really happy, because my friend said the new guy is fixing EVERYTHING and he's going to buy dishes and other necessary things we've been lacking. I went to pee and there were new bathroom slippers already~!

I must admit, I've neglected to talk about the lax hygeine around here because I thought you all may be worried. Apparently there used to be community dishes and the kitchen was clean, but now the dishes have mostly been stolen, and the cabinets and surfaces are sticky. The bathroom is a disgrace. There are two toilet stalls and three shower stalls. The layout isn't terrible, but the locks on both toilet stalls are broken, and the floors are disgusting. There's a pipe leak next to the one by the wall that causes part of the floor to be wet with god knows what, so you kind of have to pee sitting sideways to avoid it. Two of the showers barely drain. In the one that does drain mostly, the light has been burnt out since I moved in, and the showerhead has major leakage problems. Lately there's been a pervasive stench much like that of a port-a-potty at a crowded outdoor concert or carnival. The sink hasn't drained well for weeks. However, the laundry room isn't noticeably bad, and my room itself is much better than the one in 까치산 (Ggachisan). My only complaints are that my window faces a hallway instead of the outside, so it's more difficult to wake up in the morning because there's no daylight; and, the air conditioning is centrally controlled so my room ends up being hot, then cold, then hot, then cold. Right now it's a comfortable temperature, which means it will be hot soon. Then it will be very, very cold and I'll need a sweater and maybe my blanket.

I finally found a good place to play piano. There's a music academy less than a minute's walk from my home, and I went there yesterday to see if I could use their pianos for practice. Turns out I can use a clean, private practice room to play a well-tuned piano as much as I want in the evenings from Monday-Saturday for 130,000 won (about $110 maybe) per month. I started yesterday~ it had been about a month since I last played piano. For musicians, playing music is an addiction, almost a religion. I was having withdrawl symptoms: playing air piano on escalator handrails; reading sheet music like novels; dreaming of composing.... The impetus was finally watching someone play Chopin's Revolutionary Etude (which I can't play but love) on TV.

I've lived in Korea for almost 3 months now. That means I have to leave the country and come back to keep a legal status. I decided to go to Japan because it's the closest country and therefore the cheapest to travel to, and because I speak Japanese decently well. I'll be almost as confused in Japan as I am in Korea, but it will be much easier than going to China or Thailand or somewhere where I don't speak the language at all. However, coming to Korea alone was scary enough and I was at least departing from a familiar place. Korea is still very unfamiliar to me, and I've never been to Japan before, so this trip is very daunting. I asked a friend to go with me. We're going to Tokyo together from the 22nd to the 24th. He has final exams until this Saturday, so we're leaving Sunday night to go to Busan for our Monday morning flight (the tickets are cheaper from that airport). When we return to Korea, I'll be able to stay for another 90 days legally. :)

My sleep schedule is completely messed up. Twice in the past week I've skipped an entire night of sleep, and once I slept for 19 hours afterwards. Last night I was exhausted so I went to sleep at 8pm only to wake up at 1:30am. I've been killing time by studying Japanese and psychology and cleaning my room a little. I have to tutor from 9pm-10:30pm, so I'll get home around 11-11:30 tonight. I'm already exhausted, but if I sleep now, I'll miss eating dinner, playing piano, and probably also tutoring. I'm hungry, too, but I still haven't figured out the grocery store situation well, so I can't really cook anything but ramyun (Korean ramen) or egg fried rice. I should ask random people on the street to eat with me. Haha. Koreans don't eat alone in public. Maybe~ MAYBE at a fast food restaurant they do, but there are none near me. I guess I could walk or take the subway to the neighboring stop and go to the Lotteria (Korean fast food) there. But... that's really strange. I could get take-out kimpap (Korean sushi rolls) from the place across from my building, but that's a language barrier ordeal I'm not ready to face. So, usually in these cases I buy 삼걱김밥 (triangle kimpap) from the convenience store and eat a couple of them and maybe some ramyun. Usually I go out to eat with various friends at least 3 times per week so I get plenty of meat and veggies.

I'm in the stage of setting up a student base where jobs are semi-transitory. Amidst the coming and going of students, I can't really pinpoint how many I have. Most of them are businessmen. I think I have 3 now, plus the two children of one of them. There's another, but he's too sick right now with his asthma so he's planning to resume tutoring in a month or so. I'm constantly meeting new students and losing old ones. This is business.

I got a positive response from my adviser. It looks like I will be able to pull off this whole graduating-from-another-country thing. I'm really excited!


  1. It's getting more diffculto to readㅋㅋ

    anyway not 삼걱, 삼각 is right!ㅋㅋㅋ

  2. well obviously i am much better at english than at korean ㅋㅋㅋㅋ