Saturday, January 28, 2006

The New Apartment

I was without an internet connection for several days, so I'm picking up this particular saga where it was left off...

The boy and I hopped the limo bus across town to Seoul Station to catch the train to Daegu, and even managed to change our ticket times so we could get a train a little sooner. It was so nice to finally take the train to Daegu and know that I would not be coming back to Seoul for awhile. That was happy. We stopped and ate dinner before hitting the cushy first class ride (hey, if you are going to have a last ride, have it in style) and then were off.
During all the fuss much talking occurred, but once we managed to make the train I immediately crashed in preparation for New Year’s Eve as I already had plans for the night and wanted to at least be able to ring in the New Year’s before I lost consciousness. While I did have a school apartment, I decided to spend that night in the regular hotel anyway (this being the second home run by the friendly family that always gave us the same room). I dropped off all my bags, grabbed a shower, and headed for the proverbial hills, or at least the quiet little bar where people were waiting. I hopped into a cab but the driver decided to take some route unbeknownst to me and managed to run smack into a Korean New Year’s parade. It was nine minutes to midnight; I wasn’t quite sure where I was and I really wanted to be at the pub when the clock struck.
While the parade was interesting I was more engaged with getting down the street. Perhaps on a normal night this would have been no problem, but at this particular time on New Year’s Eve everyone in Daegu was headed toward the big bell downtown for the bell-ringing ceremony. Imagine streets so crowded with people that you actually had to wait for the light to change to manage to cross to the other side for the unending line of bodies.
Wait I did as I made my way (a little more confident now) toward where I was going. I hit the bar one minute from midnight—just in time to count down, sit with some friends, and hash out stories of my winter vacation. I didn’t make it long, called it a night around 1:30, and went back to the hotel to sleep. Of course, I didn’t think I would be able to get a cab in any amount of time so I started walking toward the main street to look for a ride. As I was walking, I began to walk by a girl who seemed vaguely familiar and I realized it was Keesan, the secretary at the first school I worked at in Korea. We spoke, exchanged numbers (I’d lost hers in a freak phonebook-deleting accident) and then I found a cab and crashed for the night.
When I woke up the next morning, I stuffed things back into bags and Sam and I went to the University Campus to check out the room, which I only vaguely remembered after my little vacation. I remembered it being small, crowded, and lacking a kitchen. Alas, I had remembered correctly. I had been moved into the girl’s dormitory, which seemed like it could be pleasant enough. Goodness knows it would give me lots of opportunities to make friends with girls—who theoretically were learning English as a requirement—who might like having a foreign friend. But no, alas; the girls barely make eye contact, and when I quietly asked either for help or tried to strike up a conversation they shuffled off, very much like any skittish student; a bit disappointing really.
The other annoying feature of the dorm was the door, which needed to be unlocked both coming and going from the building by a special key card. Without the key card you couldn't get in or out of the building. I found this unnecessarily annoying but what was to be done? I did my best to grin, bear it and wait for the first proffered room to become available.
At the end of the day though the lack of space and cooking facilities was going to doom this little venture of the moment. For no readily apparent reason they had put a fridge in the room that took up what little was left of the space. You could open the fridge from the bed, turn on the TV from the bed, touch the desk from the bed—you basically could pretty much do everything from the bed. I generally like to have to move a little to get to different places. I mean, who wants to feel like they are tied up in bed all day? So, I tried to placate myself, but was getting more impatient to find out about the possibility of having a place in the bigger accommodations. I was asked to wait until Wednesday when the principal would be talking to the housing director. In the meantime,  the school bought me an electric water boiling pot, some coffee mugs, and a spoon. 

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