From One Side of Seomyeon to the Other

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Finally. I have left my shit hole neighborhood in the dust and moved on to greener pastures. My former neighbors – two love motels, a booking club, and a food n’ booze tent – have been replaced by car dealerships and office buildings. My poorly lit, one room closet of a living space, has been replaced by an apartment with high ceilings and a loft. I can finally cook without expecting a sea of cockroaches to flood the sink. Count the Number of People Excreting in Public is no longer a valid game to play on my walk to work in the morning. I can finally leave my apartment, walk a block, and not need a shower. I hardly know what to do with myself anymore.

Finally. I have left my shit hole neighborhood in the dust and moved on to greener pastures. My former neighbors – two love motels, a booking club, and a food n’ booze tent – have been replaced by car dealerships and office buildings. My poorly lit, one room closet of a living space, has been replaced by an apartment with high ceilings and a loft. I can finally cook without expecting a sea of cockroaches to flood the sink. Count the Number of People Excreting in Public is no longer a valid game to play on my walk to work in the morning. I can finally leave my apartment, walk a block, and not need a shower. I hardly know what to do with myself anymore.

The week before I was due to leave for my short Canadian vacation, my supervisor stopped me to share the great news: rent in my building was going up 30 bucks by the end of September. My poorly located, cockroach infested, shithole of an apartment was jacking the rent (just because everybody in Seomyeon is jacking rent doesn’t mean that this is okay). While my employer subsidizes a significant portion of my rent, unfortunately I have to pick up the rest*.

Before I could even consider huffing, puffing and accidentally blowing a gasket at work, my supervisor suggested that if I didn’t want to pay extra for that apartment, that I could move into an apartment that a former coworker had just vacated. No brainer. I didn’t even need to look at the new place to know that I was moving (of course, I did look. I’m not a complete idiot).

The truth is, I nearly insisted on a move ages ago. After two days in that apartment, I knew that I wasn’t going to like it. I weighed the pros and cons of moving. Then, New Year’s happened. Suddenly I had more important things to worry about than the fact that I lived in a craphole. I put the idea of moving on the back burner. I waited. And the second that I was given an out? I moved. Win. Now I just wait and hope that they don’t stick one of the new kids in there. Bah.

*There are more than enough contracts floating around that will pay your entire rent here. In that regard, some may say that I have a shitty deal. However, this year I was looking for very specific things in a job and wasn’t willing to compromise that – even if it costs me a few bucks a month. If there had been more time to find the “perfect job” (what the fuck is that, even?) I may have found a better deal. Or not. I only had one year’s experience and no teaching credentials to speak of; I wasn’t really entitled to a better job. Either way, it is what it is and I have absolutely no regrets.



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