Catching Up on Weeks of Laundry

 Greg generously helped me figure out my washer and helped tidy up the place.

Yay!  On Friday, me and Greg traversed Seoul to meet up with a girl from Canada who had some stuff to sell- moving sale!

Alas, long story short, I had just gone to sleep at 7:00 a.m. that morning and Greg texted me at 10:00 – “Leaving in 20 to check out that stuff.”  The night before was a co-worker’s birthday and I made it a personal goal to stay out as late as possible and get to know some of my co-workers better.  Unfortunately, I do not recollect much of the night, aside from some people’s personal favorite drinks – Jack Daniels, tequila – and I probably left an interesting first impression for some.

Damn.  But Greg had told me the night before that the girl had a washer and a fridge, so I got my butt out of bed (felt as though I had just gotten there) and as Mark says, I got off of my dead ass and onto my dying feet.  We rode the subway to meet her and she took us to a storage place.  She had a lot of stuff: washer, fridge, couch, t.v., coffee table, DVDs, clothes, queen-sized bed, fans, umbrellas, etc.  Greg and I talked on the side and decided that it would be easier for everyone if we just bought everything.  The girl had to leave Korea for Canada the very next day, so the best thing that we could do was just make her a solid offer for everything.  We offered her $300 and she accepted.  So for about $130 I got a great washer, huge fridge, some DVDs, bookcase, and a nightstand (it was unfortunate that I already bought a bed when I could have used the one we got from her).  We had to arrange the delivery, but it worked out perfectly.  Greg is just going to sell the extraneous stuff online or to other instructors.

So now I can freeze and chill things and right now, my place smells like a laundromat.  I think this is hilarious because my apartment building in Oxford was right next to a laundromat, so the smell of fabric softener is making me nostalgic.

Yesterday, I went shopping with Elaine at Gangnam Market at the Nambu (sp?) Terminal.  It’s an underground public market with everything for much cheaper than the department stores.  A week or so ago, I went with Victor and got six beer glasses for ten bucks cheaper than our local store.  So for $100, I purchased: one fleece blanket, medium-sized rug, trash can, frying pan, two cute shirts, one pair of shorts, belt, and some food.

Well, I had several days off this past week because of the holiday; even though I missed out on some money, I am grateful to have been able to get my apartment together… it’s beginning to look like a home!  Now if I can just get my wardrobe to arrive here soon and get Zooey neutered, I will be set for quite a while.  I am working on getting some photos of my neighborhood and soon, my fully-furnished apartment!  Mom told me that I should clean up (after seeing my last photo of my place), but I don’t have anywhere to put my clothes yet.

So sit tight, photos coming soon!

Much love.

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Jimjilbang!

So there are now two places that I find exquisite:

Norre-bang and Jimjil-bang (probably butchered the spelling).

Norre-bangs are the karaoke rooms that I have written about. No matter what happens, and even if I say “Ok, but ONLY one song,” this ends up being my arsenal of songs that I sing, solo or duet:

  1. “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey (mine and Greg’s song, if available)
  2. “Anytime” by Brian McKnight
  3. “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt (new one)

The last few times have been hilarious. A bunch of the guys have taken to “I Can Love You Like That” by All-4-One and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop Dogg. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston was a classic. We also always try to end our sessions with a group song: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” set with Wayne and Garth head-banging, of course.

Jimjil-bangs are public saunas or bath houses. I heard of them when I first got here and thought that I would not set foot in one. The idea of being naked in front of total strangers was not appealing to me, therefore going to a Korean bath house was out of the question.

Ah, but I do write in the past tense, so I will explain…

When I went to meet up with Elaine yesterday, we rode the subway to her aunt’s house and she told me that she had no idea what we were in for. Of course, I had expected a traditional meal with all of the fixins. When we arrived att her aunt’s, we had coffee and cake and then the word “Jimjil-bang” was being tossed around. “Hey ladies, we all just met…” I thought that I would have needed some serious coercing, but not so much. Exfoliationwas definitely in order and if I couldn’t get a massage on Chuseok, sauna was the next best thing.

Don’t worry Mom, there is a separate section for men from the women. Me, Elaine, and her two aunts disrobed and spent the better part of the afternoon in jacuzzi-like tubs with other women and cat-napping in igloo-shaped saunas (sorry guys, no photos – the staff didn’t seem to approve). We were also given shirts and shorts to wear, if we decided to walk around the public area of the jimjil-bang. Women wore pink and men wore blue. There were many rooms to watch television and lay around; try to imagine a much bigger YMCA but instead of exercise bikes and weights in the weight rooms, there are televisions and computers… with Asian people stretched out on the floors with pillows. I told Elaine that I felt like I was in prison. We were able to eat dinner there and try all kinds of facial lotions and detoxify. At the end of the night all I needed was one beer to feel incredibly relaxed and sleepy. I still feel somewhat rejuvenated, actually. I also felt closer to my friend Elaine: meeting her family members, talking, seeing one another naked (that will happen).

So I have another day off today…. going to the mall and seeing “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.”

Annyong kaseyo.

From Sofa-Bed to Queen-size

Huzzah, I have a real bed (pics to come later). I went to this place called Recycle City, where, you guessed it, people take their old home furnishings to recycle. I, as well as numerous other English instructors love this place because it’s second-hand and moderately cheap. I went yesterday with Victor to find a fridge and a washer, but when I couldn’t find either one, I ran across a queen-sized bed. So I have been enjoying the heavenly texture of an American mattress and Zooey has found a place to lay his head and also hide under when he feels feisty.

Teaching has been getting better and better. CDI is closed today because it is Chuseok, Korea’s equivalent to the States’ Thanksgiving. Most shops and stores are closed and I have agreed to accompany my friend Elaine to her aunt’s house for an authentic Chuseok meal (how could I pass it up?) Though I have been here for a little over a month and a half, I can’t say that I know very much about tradition and what not. It will also be nice to meet a friend’s family, since I have none here.

Been Skyping a lot with Em, Paul, and Dad. My friend Kyle has also graced his presence on Skype with his webcam. I believe that a webcam and a new cell phone will be my first big purchases with my first paycheck here soon.

Been taking Korean language classes offered by CDI. So far I have been trying to force myself to memorize the Hangul alphabet. I am hoping that reading leads to speaking… I’ll let you know about my progress.

Lately, my newest love, aside from Zooey, has been a website where you can download old television shows and movies – tvlinks.co.uk. It’s pretty much the coolest thing in the world, second to Skype. I watch “Entourage,” “Sex and the City,” and of course, “The Office.” So alas, I am able to keep up with American television!

Been writing lately. A lot has happened to me personally, so the need to write has been rejuvenated… I have a lot of short fiction ideas up my sleeve.

More later.

Updates, Few and Far Between

What can I say?  This girl’s been busy.

I have felt more homesick lately than ever, so far.  I think it has to do a lot with getting settled in and slowly realizing just how “real” this all is: I have bills to pay, rather than lounging in a hotel room.  I just have a bed, and not a microwave, fridge, or washer… yet.

But I DO have a cat… Mom’s gonna flip.  His name is Zooey and his story is quite entertaining.  He is currently laying in my lap as I type.  My Greg found him online at DavesESLcafe.com; a guy from Australia was trying to find a good home for him.  I met him almost 2 weeks ago and decided that this little guy was for me.  I got set up with cat food, litter box, and carrier.  He’s adorable, but restless because I do not have much for him to play on;  that is, except this hand-sculpture thing that I found on the street:

His story is as follows.  This is an e-mail that I sent to Lauren transcribed:

“My friend Greg found him online; there is a guy named Tim in Seoul who finds animals and takes them in.  He is from Australia and is going back soon.  I e-mailed him and he called me to set up a day and time to come over and meet the cat named Magpie.  Tim took Magpie to the vet when he first found him and the vet told him that he is 6months old and very healthy.  Tim got him tested for all kinds of stuff and everything checked out; he just needs to get fixed.  So last night, I brought him home in a carrier (Tim hooked me up with all kinds of shit: carrier, food, litter box, litter) and made the decision to go bowling with friends while Magpie got used to the place.  When I finally got in from the night, I came home to find Magpie gone!  When I looked out on my terrace-thing, I noticed that things were out of place by my window and that the window was slightly ajar; Magpie had gotten out the window and shimmied down a tree next to my building!  Bawling my eyes out, I called Greg, who had just walked me home.  He lives less than 5 minutes from me and even though it was 4 a.m. he said “I’ll be right over.”  Greg has two cats of his own so he empathizes completely.  We searched for more than an hour… I was hating myself, Lauren.  Here I was, this naive girl who thought that she could take care of a cat in Seoul and I lose him the first day of owning him.  And Tim had been so kind… he’s one of those PETA “I don’t eat meat” kind of guys who finds strays and nurtures them back to health.  So I felt like a failure, especially since Tim had asked me to call soon to let him know how Magpie had taken to the changes.  So, around 5 a.m. or so, Greg convinces me to go back inside and go to sleep… it’s funny, because when I came back inside, I thought “No, I have to go back out… I’m not giving up.”  But when I went back outside my building, I ran smack into Greg, who supposedly left, but was surveying the area once more.  He turned red immediately, muttering “Well, I just wanted to take another quick look around for him.” Awesome guy.

So anyway, I hated myself all day, just kinda went through classes.  Greg tried to console me, but was just as tired as I was, only having received 4 or 5 hours of sleep.  So he and I grab dinner on the way home from work and walk back.  Though tired and determined to go to our separate places, he tells me that he’ll take another look around my neighborhood, but not before taking a piss at my place.  So we go up and I walk around my place while he’s in the bathroom.  I realize that it is stuffy in my place, so I walk over to my terrrace to open the window… there are two eyes looking at me in the dark.  Before I even think to turn on the light, I yell to Greg….”Greg…”

Greg: “Yeah?” (flushing)
Me:  “You won’t believe this…’

Lauren, my cat was outside my window… on the second floor.  Now I have to become a born-again Catholic because I made a promise to God and Jihad, and everything holy figure ever.  I opened the window and scooped him up.
Greg came out of the bathroom was his pants halfway around his legs…. “Holy Christ.  I don’t believe it.”  We sat on my floor just staring at my cat in awe as he ate tuna and dry food.  He really needs a bath but I’ll be damned if I am doing it tonite. At the moment he is resting on my stomach as I type.  I’m calling him Zooey…. I think.”

More later… I promise.

In-tuh-net

I have internet now… I had to tell the cable guy the phonetic version, since he only understood this word and “money.”

 Been a while since I last posted… I am sure that there is a ton that I could write about, but I am in my classroom right now writing.  I have been in a real rut lately and hopefully I can write happily about it soon.  Some things seem depressing or down at the time, so I am hoping that I can look back on these last few days and laugh someday.

Anywho, I am fine.  If you have Skype, check me out.  I am going to try to be more of a homebody, once I start getting things to make my place a Home.