Monday, February 28, 2011

Inside House #4

As you enter my new home you are greeted by the usual shoe-drop area. To the left of you is the bathroom and to the right is the washing machine closet (sorry no picture).
The bathroom comes equipped with old plumbing, but at least there is a bathtub (my first in Korea).
The house is split up between two rooms. In the first room is the kitchen and dining nook area. The kitchen is pretty basic with two burners, little room for food prep and a sink. Cabinetry is standard as well and as a short person a little hard to get to.
The other half, or room-number-two, is equipped with outlets for TV and internet. It comes with a single-sized bed and a wardrobe. (Extra mattress came with the place, but as it was old and dirty has since found itself outside in the cold.)

Beyond this space is the balcony area, which could use a bit of explanation for those new to Korean housing arrangements.
This is pretty much the only window to the outside that the apartment provides. There are sliding doors that partition it from the bedroom. It's hard to tell but there are two sets of sliding doors there, one is paneled with etched glass and the other with clear glass. When completely closed the natural light from the outside world is obscured, but having all panels closed helps retain heat. Once inside the balcony you are greeted with more windows, which provide a view of the apartment complex outside.

When laying on my bed and looking out from my balcony window I get to see the other buildings. I have noticed myself enjoying seeing people walk by and randomly exit their houses to shake things out. Looks like I am in for an amusing year at this place.

View from standing near the balcony and looking inward. The two rooms are partitioned off by one set of sliding glass doors with etched glass.
I know as I unpack and get some more furniture this place will continue to feel like home. :) The sliding doors of this place are what makes me feel like it is vintage. Although I do wish the slid more easily, haha.

Moving

Yesterday I moved in to my new place, which I am in right now. Oddly enough there is still internet connected in here. Not sure how long that will last, but of course I am enjoying it. However, I did leave my laptop charger at JH's house so can only work on it for so long.

I hope to put up pictures and a video of house #4. This place has character since the building is 20 years old. I already knew the building was old before I moved in, but I was hoping that my place would have been renovated. Besides new wallpaper the place probably looks the same as it did way back when. The set up is pretty good with two major rooms, a small bathroom and a little room for laundry. I even have a "balcony" area as is common for Korean apartments.

Unfortunately, the place wasn't super cleaned and there are large amounts of dusty areas that I have been cleaning. Even though I miss living in a newer building with snazzy equipment I kind of like the vintage feel. Or I am just telling myself positive things so I don't freak out. But really I lived in hell (house #2) so this place is just fine.

I go back to work Wednesday and tomorrow will get my boxes of stuff. My new place didn't come with several things including a microwave, TV, desk and shelves. Either the school will cough these things up or I'm going to have to invest in it. Already JH is helping me find used stuff to buy.

Guess I am just trying to keep busy since I am starting to get really nervous for my new job. But I'm also really tired! Jetlag is biting my butt. sigh

Ok ... will update again with pics.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Back on Korean Soil

My flight back was pretty good and I have to say Singapore Airlines is up there with Korean Air as my favorite. There was one slight issue during the flight, that was my cough. I couldn't help but do it while on the flight and apparantly the woman sitting in front of me did not find it amusing. Yet she alerted me of this towards the end of the flight. She asked me if it was contagious and I gave her an honest answer that I didn't know, since I didn't visit a doctor. Well, she didn't like that and expressed this quite forwardly. I didn't know what to say to her accept I was sorry.
JH picked me up from the airport and I have been staying at his house ever since. I will move in to my new place tomorrow around 4pm, and I am very excited. From what I gather it will be kind of spacious and in a good neighborhood.

In the meantime, I am visited a doctor. He said that the cough probably will take a while to go away but take the meds he recommends and if it persists to come back for x-rays.

Staying at JH's house is interesting because for one it is the size of a shoebox. His mom is staying at her boyfriend's house just to accomadate me. Yes I know how nice this is of her and should think of a way to genuinly thank her. (BTW if there are spelling errors it's because I am using my bf's computer and the spell check doesn't seem to be working.) His sister lives in his house too and she has been sweet with me here. Even helped me clean some of my sweaters and hang them up to dry.

Coming back to Korea after a 3 month stay at home, was long enough for me to feel like I hadn't been here in a while. Although I feel like I am having that "first time here" culture shock it is being blanketed by "oh yea...Korea is like that" feelings. I did miss Korea and all its greatness and pitfalls, though.

I am looking forward to starting the new job, but feeling nervous for the start of the semester with first graders. I know I just need to be myself and take things as they come along. But I am going to be really busy with moving in, unpacking and getting ready for work real soon. Actually I want to get busy with all this as I like to organize and prepare myself for stuff. Also I would like to get to the point where things are settled down so that I can start seeking out a Korean study group along with everything else I want to do.

:) Glad to be back.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sausalito

I'm down to my last 24 hours here in America and it is going quite pleasantly well. Except for my hacking cough that is now my closest buddy, I am trying to treasure these moments. I am in Sausalito, California which is across the bay from San Francisco. Actually, if you have ever crossed the Golden Gate bridge coming out of the city one of the tiny coastal cities you pass by is Sausalito.

This place has great houses and a cute downtown area, which I check out today. Above is a picture of where I have been staying.
 I parked the car in the downtown area, and had a look around the docks.


From this viewpoint you could see the city of San Francisco, Alcatraz island and Angel island. 



Some people were setting things up for sailing, where here a guy was on a surfboard and using a paddle to move himself and the buoys around.
I enjoyed some foliage.





Things were a little foggy this morning but it did clear up nicely. I made my way to where the boats were and I liked seeing their reflections in the water.



Afterward, I took a stroll around the downtown area peeking in on the little shops.




Nearby the bay was a strip of road with alongside it more little shops but mostly cafes and eateries. I stopped in and had a grilled eggplant sandwich.
After this very satisfying lunch I looked out across the bay and admired the view.

Some buddies joined me...


The parking meter was about to give up and being alone in a touristy area made me feel a bit lonesome. I headed back to the car with these thoughts. Soon I will be on a plane trying to catch some sleep or just not cough on everyone. Time to snap back in to my Korean reality.

See you there!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hike


Before I fell sick with the flu I spent some time with my father at the Yuba river. There are actually several forks of the Yuba. We went to south fork to an area called "Bridgeport", this is because of the covered bridge there. It was a bright, crisp and clear day which made it great for a photography hike. My father has a DSLR and so we went out hunting for great shots.


Trail signs...

I played around with the black-and-white settings.
Then found a subject to do close-ups.
I wasn't sure where we were heading, but I just followed my dad up and down the trail.


 Getting further from the bridge...



 We both enjoyed the clearness and jeweled beauty of the water.


We came to a point where the South Yuba flows in to the North Yuba. You would think that as two rivers meet they would clash with each other, instead what you had was a very peaceful scenery. We kind of got there before more people showed up and so did enjoy a quiet moment.



I thought the following old tree looked like a bone.
In the summertime this place is pretty popular for swimming. There was a picnic area just around the bend.



An outhouse. ;)

Just up the river is a dam called "Englebright" and it helps create a lake for fishing and more water recreation. 



I have some video from this hike that I will have to post at some point. We took a little rest and then made our way back to the bridge. Here you can see a map that might give you an idea of the area.


Nearby the parking lot was a bit of an historical area, which featured amongst several structures an old barn.
I'm very happy I got out there and did this with my father, as it will become a treasured memory when I'm feeling homesick back in Korea.
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