Because I am still exhausted and slightly jet-lagged, this post will be more of a stream-of-consciousness list than an actual cohesive entry:
Last night the garbage truck came at 2:30 am and was so loud I dreamed that it had gotten into the apartment building and was driving up the stairs. Then I dreamed the noise was coming from the landlord, who parked three cars in my apartment (there’s not enough room for three cars) and was inviting people to come see them while I was still sleeping in my underwear.
The school where I work is in a neighborhood called Seodaemun, a low-key, quiet neighborhood where the Ewha Women’s University is located. I live, however, almost an hour’s walk away in Hongdae, one of the hippest neighborhoods in Seoul. This would be amazing, except I am not hip. I am boring and have to get up early.
Luckily! It’s temporary. Through a stroke of luck, I got offered a tiny studio with a balcony in Seodaemun that I move into on Friday. I stayed in a very small room in a guest house in that neighborhood the first few nights after I arrived, and my habit was to get up at 6:30, walk down one block to the Starbucks (yes there are Starbucks everywhere and yes, I was that waygook who gesticulated wildly until they handed me something resembling coffee) and email every detail of my transition into life in Seoul to my loved ones as well as research the solution to whatever bizarre life problem I was having at the moment (what is the korean equivalent of benadryl? where can I find a comb, and do I bother buying one again if I’ve lost the last five in one week’s time? How the hell do I get my SIM card tray open? How do I find a place to eat, how do I ask for what I want, how do I figure out what I want, how do I read it in hangul, basically how do I find anything at all, ever?).
Then at 9am I would walk down another block to work. The routine was nice 🙂
I’ll be excited to not have to commute to work, it’ll make me more willing to venture out at night I think. The neighborhood next to Seodaemun is Sinchon, which is like a bite-sized Hongdae. I’m not sure how to emphasize how hip Hongdae is. Film crews are there all the time filming movie stars. I’ve walked past five of said crews and I’ve only lived in Hongdae for five days. Hongdae probably generates more light pollution with neon signs than the entire state of Oregon. There is also a Raccoon Cafe, I kid you not, I’m not sure how much more cool you can get than a Raccoon cafe (it was closed, I went on a Sunday, or else I’d post pictures).
Sinchon is like Hongdae’s equally brilliant but meek little brother that will never get to have the spotlight and learns to take it with a shrug and a smile. Today in Sinchon there was a guy with a guitar singing Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself and a two year old in a bunny onesie dancing along. Farther down the block, there was a girl practicing Mozart on an upright piano that had been painted like Starry Night. And across the street was the first cat cafe that I ventured into, and met the adorable affectionate goyangi pictured above (among others).
I suppose the moral to this story is, do not live in Hongdae where the garbage truck comes at 2:30 am and throws you into a sleep-deprived writing delirium.
Hopefully future will be more coherent. Future entries. Lol.
Love to you my friends!