the first weekend…

bummed and frustrated…ATM machine ate my card…

20 minutes later…and this bank guy saves the day, and I’m no longer poooor! And have the deposit for my new apartment!

The first weekend in Seoul has been interesting. First of all I’ve had no money! I brought over some American cash but I was waiting to get to a bank to change it to Korean Won…little did I know that the banks would be closed all weekend. And my BofA Visa lacks the international debit/credit symbols (PLUS, Cirrus). However, the Visa still works at restaurants, etc, but when it comes to having money, cash is pretty much king around here. Luckily, my friends have really been helping me out with this. AND I realized after a lot of stress that I had another checking account through ING that DOES have international access…and I was stoked. So we went into Myeongdong today to do a bit of a shop and to try out this ING card at a Korean bank called KB. Of course, the ATM eats my card. I just tried my hardest to remain calm while my friends helped me out and a bank security guy was called to get the card out of the machine. Turns out I pressed the wrong button on the machine. So, when I got my card back (which was a moment of pure happiness, let me tell you)…I had the guard stay with us while I did the transaction correctly. Whew, cash!!

Yesterday we spent the entire day apartment shopping. I chose to take the school’s housing allowance instead of taking their housing so that I would be able to live in Haebangchon–closer to my friends and a popular area for foreigners. Plus, I was sooooo excited to do this because I’ve never been able to choose my own place EVER! Grayce and Ryne took me to see all the realtors they have worked with…and quickly this process just became overwhelming and seriously had me questioning this whole Korea thing. Seriously, these realtors were showing me the tiniest, darkest, oldest, and even smelly places, some high up on hills. I had visions of me starving in my room during the winter because it was too far from the center of the town and high up the hills. There was even one apartment where I stepped 2 feet inside and turned around and said “no”. Seriously, I was about to just give up and call the school to tell them I needed help when I remembered a realtor named Mandy that I’d spoken to while I was still in the States. I gave her a call and she had something in my price range…so 10 minutes later we met up with her.
This apartment is a dream! It is actually so brand new that I can’t even move in for another week (so I get to stay on Ryne and Grayce’s couch one more week, yay!). It’s technically an “office-tel” with a bed that is in a loft area…it’s only about the size of my bedroom at home, but hey, things are small here. Utilities are pretty low, there is a rooftop for summer tanning, a window facing east (easier to wake up in the AM, good light!). The 3 other apartments surrounding it are also being built, so I told Mandy to find me a cute boy to move in next door…. 🙂
Pictures to come…
Other highlights from this weekend…
*Going out in Itaewon…drinking soju on the street…
*Tenjan Chigae…my new favorite soup full of veggies and tofu and seafood and spicy!
*shopping in Myeongdong

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