Sunday, November 2, 2008


Part I: Shock
I like to listen to a podcast called Zencast. If you have ever done any study on Buddhism, especially the Zen kind than you come across koans. These are like little poems that offer mind bending powers.
For example:
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
When a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound?

I have a new one for the pantheon of koans:
What can you see through a windowless window?

This is the question I face in a my new home, because I have no window!!

Where a window should be is this:
As Roboseyo would put it, when he looked at it, that it is a thing that is mocking you. It looks like a window but does not function as one. And the light inside adds to the illusion.

When you open the "shade" you get this:

A fluorescent bulb glowing in all its glory.

When I realized that this window wasn't real and that my new home had no window at all, my heart completely sank. Claustrophobia sunk in as well.

Roboseyo and Gomushin Girl were there trying to cheer me up and keep me on the bright side. But my mind was in shock.

That was yesterday. Since then I have taken action and emailed my recruiter demanding the school work on finding me a new home with a window.

I noticed that across the hallway are other rooms that are on the window side. So all they really need to do is move me into an open room on the other side of the hallway. How this develops I will let you know.

Keep in mind that my school only had a week to find their new teacher a new home. They probably did it in a hurry and without getting all the details. So I do appreciate that they got me a home, but a window inside the home would have completed the job.

But having a room with a fake window, does open one up to either going insane, or experiencing a philisophical breakthrough. (perhaps both)

Part II: Exploration

We all felt it was time to get away from the depressing sight of a windowless room with a mocking window.

So it was time to head out and explore the area and meet up with ZenKimchi in Beomgyeo.

First we walked a little bit around Sanbon and the streets near my home.Do you see that building in the far background? The one with the circle shape? That is the subway station, which doubles as a shopping center for outlet clothing. Next to this building is the building I live in. Sorry didn't get a picture but will for you in time.

There was some kind of cultural festival going on with a stage and people gathered around it. This was very welcoming to see, because it felt like a real community thing.

Anyways, it was time to move on and meet up with ZenKimchi.

Part III: Rehabilitation

We got on the subway and made our way to Beomgye.
Flea Market:

Central Park:
This park was pretty central, for it was situated between many buildings. In it there was a water fountain, dung-beetle sculpture and open space.
After wandering around the area we settled upon going to a cafe. BK was coming to meet us so we thought to chill in a cafe. But on the way I was told that we were going to do a "Dr. Fish". First thought of mine was some kind of food, then as things transpired more I realized it had something to do with health and beauty.

Dr. Fish is a foot cleansing process where you put your feet into a tank of fish, which then proceed to nibble at your feet. They take little sucking like actions on your feet in all the nooks and crannies.
Gomushin Girl there in red going through laughing fits. Me next to her. Opposite me is ZenKimchi, with Roboseyo next to him.

Gomushin Girl going through her experience:

I thought of the experience in a way that these little fish are my workers and their task is to nibble my feet. I have to say they were good little workers.

I really found it pleasing, except for when a lot of them would gather in one spot and have a party. But to ease this I just shook my foot and they regrouped elsewhere.

After Dr. Fish we gathered ourselves and made our way to Lamb Galbi place, which was super delicious!!! Sorry again no pics, at this point my mind was getting tired.

Part IV: Hope

Today (Sunday) was spent shopping and resting. BK and I were tired. Plus, I am still getting over my flu from last week. It is now in the form of congestion and occasional coughing. I am beginning to think I may have a sinus infection, but haven't had any fevers. Anyways, I am managing through the day with Sudafed from America and some Korean medicine BK helped me buy.

But I think the point of today was to get myself mentally prepared for starting my new job tomorrow. BK gave me some pointers on how to make good relationships with my Korean colleagues. This is important because I will be the only foreigner there.

His pointers were:
  • Don't be cold. When saying yes or no, do so without just saying frankly "YES" or "NO".
  • Don't deny food. If I am being offered to try something, don't deny it. Instead try just a little and politely say you don't like it.
  • Be Warm and kind. He made the point that I have this as part of my personality and I should try to use it as my dominant way of expressing myself.
Maybe it is the congestion or tiredness but I don't feel nervous about tomorrow. I am hopeful that I can use this fresh start to live here in Korea in peace.

So that brings me to show you my surroundings. On my walk to the school this is what I see:

The school is hidden behind the trees, we didn't walk up to it.

I will post more pictures of the rest of my new house when I get the next chance. Know, that besides not having a window, I feel cozy here. But I do feel far from BK...sigh. My move here was welcoming mostly because my blogging pals and BK helped me settle in.

Thank you guys!!!!!


  1. it was our pleasure, and cool to meet you, too.

    i'm glad you put up the video of gomushin girl, so that I don't have to make fun of her too much on my site.

    take care, eh?


  2. Ahhhhh! I know that Dr Fish place! I know that park! You were near my old stomping grounds. (Which had windows.) So jealous.

    Hope they find you a place with windows.

  3. hi there! I hope you find some sunlight soon! Glad to see that you had help. I now have to make a point to drive down to Sanbon to visit you with the boys!

  4. that video is going to destroy my reputation . . .

  5. yeah between that and the camera-licking thing from my blog. . . you're seeming more like a sensualist and possibly a hedonist with a soft spot, rather than a megalomaniac of any kind at this point, gg. you should really manage your public image better. I know of a lady at Seoul City Hall who might have some tips on helping to correct, I mean repair your public image.

  6. Hi!
    Loved that blog. What a shock to discover your only window was false! Yes, your new colleagues had to work speedily to relocate you.
    Fish-pedicures have become popular in the States too. Spas feature them in ads. Must be fun.
    You seem to have made some lovely new friends. Great!

  7. Hehe! Sorry but the video is entertaining. I don't know if my blog is popular enough to tarnish your reputation.

    Anyways, going to my new job today!

  8. LOL, you know I was probably in Beomgye right when you were. That is where my gym is. I hope you get a window soon. I couldn't imagine not having one. Have a great first day at work=^^=

  9. I very rarely use the window in my apartment -- should I ship it over to your place? ^^

    I definitely agree that it's important not to refuse food offered to you at work! During my first month at our hagwon I turned down some oranges that a coworker offered me, only to have her ask a few weeks later why I hated her so much. She took my refusal as indicative of my feelings toward her when it was really just that my fingernails aren't long enough to peel an orange.

    Also, it looks like they stole that dung beetle statue from Hampyeong! (Well, not exactly...):

    I'm glad you were able to find help moving, and I hope your workplace can get you a new apartment before too long!

    I'm curious though -- how have you managed to meet so many of the great Korea bloggers?

  10. Hi Paul,
    Use your window!! You don't know how much I miss one, and I may not have one for a long time.

    I am trying my best to make good relationships, but I am not Korean so I don't know for sure.

    I met the Korean bloggers by posting comments on their sites and talking to them around the internet. And finally we all were in the same place!

    Have a good day.

  11. > and I may not have one for a long time.

    JOY JOY JOY!!!!!
    Visualize yourself looking out of the most beautiful window from your new home!

    Please.....BE POSITIVE!!!
    & go look for other apts. if they seem to be lagging.

    How 'bout bringing some American type treats to the new school and offer them to your co.workers at lunch!
    Brownies, or cupcakes, or chips n dip, veges & dip, etc....

  12. Hey ROB:
    I'm only letting you think that I'm a softie. It'll make it the look of shock on your face when I eviscerate you even more entertaining.


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