09 May 2007


i love me some google earth.

yesterday i found where i'll call home for the next year (or more). i signed a 12-month lease on an apartment in shinchon, the centrally-located area of seoul best known for yonsei, sogang, and ewha women's universities, which will put me in the midst of thousands of 18 to 22-year-olds (no comments please). though it was considerably more expensive than i had budgeted, i'm excited about my new diggs. it's a nice size with 15th floor views and a large terrace that wraps around the living room and bedroom. the previous tenant had partioned it into four numbered cubicles for his "internet business". it sounded shady, but the good news is that removing his handiwork means new wallpaper throughout.

the whole search, negotiation and contract process was made very pleasant thanks to my cousin and her husband translating and knowing what questions to ask, a very competent and professional gongeenjugaesa (realtor), and my sweet new halmohnee landlord. the way flats are typically rented in korea is by negotiating a ratio of bojunggeum (deposit) to monthly rent. if the deposit is higher, the rent is lower, since landlords use your funds to generate interest. the deposit is usually quite high, often 1-2 year's rent! hyong got halmohnee to cut the deposit in half if i paid a year's rent upfront. it was a good compromise though i feel like i'm parting with an awful lot of my limited funds all at once. it also means i'll be looking for work to supplement my income. instead of fancy diggs, chris told me i could find a moderately shabby shared place for $200/month but i'm too old for that. plus, i plan to spend a fair amount of time at home writing, so it's really important that i like my intimate environs...right?

starting on buddha's birthday (april 24) i will have a convenient and comfortable place to welcome old, and bribe prospective friends for their company... so, please come visit! (photos TK)


lisette said...

OOOH sounds fabulous! I hope we'll get to see it in person. Enjoy your new place!

Charles said...

Oh, I'm definitely there!

Judith Bjini said...

does it have a steamroom?

matt said...

doubt it. the condo with amenities thing is a new concept here. but i can use my school's gym and locker room/shower facilities, which is pretty... exciting.