I had brunch w/Hae-seon today in fancy pants land at a place that is apparently a chain from London. Having eggs benedict w/a really smart woman who gets the whole Korean American woman in Korea experience was a great tonic.
I had intended to go from brunch to the studio, but it was too cold and my shoes hurt, so I headed back home to change.
This streetlamp was torn out, laying on the ground. I can relate.
A couple nights ago I found the scenic route home, which is WAY better than the route I was taking - a tiny stream separates the walk from the huge road, and there's only one street crossing via an overpass. The night I figured it out, it had been raining and traffic was heavy, so it was lovely and beautiful since the pollution was damped down and the car lights looked like Christmas lights strewn down the entire width and length of the main drag. Peaceful for me b/c I was on foot, unlike the suckers in cars below.
I saw three places w/my mom's friend yesterday, all like living in closets, and freaked out a little. I went onto craigslist and saw a week-old listing for a place that sounded peculiarly similar to my friend's place, and emailed the landlord. That studio was already taken, but he had a place opening up next month. So I went to check it out, and it WAS the same building. I went in to negotiate solo, which I am notoriously bad at, but I know my limits (which means pretty much paying what is advertised, or a little less, but not a LOT less, and then NOT beating myself up for not being a haggler. Besides, it's all within my budget. And, hey, don't people who pay the going rate make the world go round? This is my contribution to the flailing Korean economy). I ended up having tea and M&Ms in the landlords' apt upstairs and signing a contract. So my ginormous Christmas present to myself this year will be a place to live.
It only took half a year longer than I had anticipated, but it's done. Which means for half a year in Korea, I will have a stable place to live by myself, no one up in my business and no more exchanges / barters for rent, no one to tiptoe around. A room of my own. I've missed that! It's been two and a half years since I moved out of my studio in Chicago. Who knew it would take this long. Until then, I'll make the best of my floating situation.
Yesterday I was talking to my mom's friend and she was worried about me losing weight and not being strong enough to live here, but I told her not to worry and that I'd be FINE, and that you HAVE to be strong to live here. Just the fact that I get up every day and survive each day means that I'm tough enough. When I was despairing about my weakness last week while climbing the hills of Seoul, I didn't realize I was starting the conditioning process already: now I appreciate all the inclines, and try to see the long walk part of my commute as a gift rather than a pain in the ass. Not to say it's not a pain in the ass some days, but I'm still standing!
I made the cake and I'm taking it back to eat it. Finally.