The Voice in the Wall

Apparently today was 'no car day'. We heard it in an announcement yesterday evening over the Orwellian-style speaker that can't be turned off which is fixed into our apartment wall.

I don't really understand much of what's said by Big Brother, or at least his local representative - the security guards/janitors who skulk in an office in the basement of the building. But sometimes the rambling and slurred delivery leaves little doubt to how some ajeoshis get through their working day. And as jobs go, I'd rather people like this be working as security guards than bus or taxi drivers, although from the quality of the driving of the aforementioned types of vehicles, I'm rather afraid they actually do both.

Apartment Renting for Expats. Oh, and Clothes Too.

Hello readers.


So much for that lovely autumn weather I wanted to keep for another week before winter winds started blowin' in.(After writing this sentence, I felt like something was strange. When I went back to read it again I realized that it rhymes awkwardly. I like it! I'll keep it!).

Anyway, enough of the rhyming shenanigans for now. I'm serious, it's COLD. WHAT HAPPENED? I stuck a hand out my front door yesterday morning to test the air. It seemed chilly, but nothing too bad. I was pretty sure my light weight jacket and a scarf could handle it.


Getting Settled, Getting Healthy!

Well, I guess that it's about time that I posted an update.

I arrived back in Korea a week and a day ago, and I've settled in rather nicely I think.

There's plenty to discuss so let me get right to it.

Firstly, The school is FANTABULOUS. I mean, I love it. I didn't feel nearly this much excitement for working at my previous school. Not only is the school a bit smaller (smaller classes = more one-on-one with the students) the curriculum is more well rounded and teachers have more freedom in class.


Normally, I don't really sweat that much, and this may have been the reason why before this summer I've only had around five mosquito bites in Korea. In the last two days, I've been bitten seven times in our apartment, and I have the itchy red spots to prove it.

Having a large apartment can seem like a step up from the 'one-room' place we spent the first fifteen months in, but I discovered it had a downside: the air conditioning unit in the one-room could keep the air cool with only intermittent efforts, but the one in our four-bedroom apartment would need to stay on all the time to have any chance of making a significant difference to the temperature of our office on the other side of the building. The upshot of which is that I'm working in a room which hits 30 degrees and 80% humidity on the bad days, while three computers pump out warm air which has nowhere to go. It's hot, uncomfortable, and apparently it's made me more of a mosquito target.

The Fast and the Furious

The owners of the apartment we rent recently told us they were planning to sell it, which meant we either had to buy it, or find somewhere else to live. It caused me to consider the fact that in a little over three years, I've moved home four times - three times of which were between countries - and perhaps under the circumstances I shouldn't feel ashamed to be reluctant to add a fifth relocation to my list.

The Couch

Our search for a couch had ground to a halt. The prices on Furniture Mountain had generally started at 800,000 won (£421/$688) for anything comfortable, and this seemed high compared to some of the local stores we'd visited, so we resolved to try again later.

Unfortunately the first opportunity which really arose was the one Sunday in three when a lot of stores seem to be closed, which meant our browsing choices were limited, and when we arrived at the store where we'd bought our desks, the owner was nowhere to be found even though it was open. I tried out the couches and the office chairs, waited, went outside, stared up and down the street, and marvelled at the evident lack of crime - or fear of it- which allowed a business owner to desert his premises on a regular basis. I suspected he was out delivering to a customer.

Desk Set

When we first came to Busan, we'd bought a couple of small desks for our small one-room apartment, which allowed us enough space for one computer monitor each and a third shared screen to display certain stock market data. This was a big downgrade from the six screens we'd had back in the UK, so now that we were back here to stay, we wanted to get back to having the kind of larger desks which would support more monitors.

The Couch Trip

The centre of the city where I used to live had a lot of retail stores as you might expect, but beyond that lay an urban residential sprawl punctuated by pockets of small shops and the occasional supermarket. So when I reached Busan I was immediately taken aback to discover that it was not so much the residential areas which seemed endless - although apartment blocks are everywhere you look - but

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