My new digs
At the end of August I finished my contract at SLP and started at a new school in Hapjeong (a district across Seoul from Dongdaemun). After a year of being reserved about my feelings towards working at SLP, and the general feelings feelings of dismay directed at the system of Korean after-school academies, I’m very happy with the change. Nearly every frustrating aspect of my old school has been replaced by an honorable and genuinely caring administration, sensible style of education, and respect for the students, teachers, and system of education. Of course, I may be a bit overly romantic about this new position, but contrasting it with the old, it’s hard not to gush just a little bit.
Now that I’m across Seoul from my old place, I’ve also moved apartments. My new school pays a bulk of the rent and key money, but I still had to find the place. Imagine all the hassles of finding an apartment in the states, and then imagine having to have a friend translate everything and go to realtors with you, since you understand 0.5% of what’s being said. Thankfully that’s done. I hopefully won’t have to do that again.
My new place is a similar studio-apartment with mostly-working appliances and utilities, but the real kicker is the neighborhood. It’s great. Hapjeong is an area mainly known for its tasteful mid-range restaurants, chic coffee shops, and burgeoning rent prices. It’s home to the best tacos in Seoul, some great Italian pizzas, and plenty of $8 green teas. It slowly morphs into Hongdae, which in my opinion has the most individual character of any neighborhood in Seoul. If I gather the motivation, you should expect to hear more about this.
I’ve really started to settle in here. I’ve got my go-to too-lazy-to-cook eateries, showing-friends-the-neighborhood restaurants, and let’s-grab-dessert-then-stay-in joints. I’ve also got the heat figured out in my apartment (after some attempts), and even some Christmas tree decorations! I think Sondheim and I can both agree that in spite of the chilly November, everything’s coming up roses at the moment.