Korean Arrival Part II: The Search for Living Space

As I mentioned in a previous post, we were not going to be issued an apartment on base. We spent the next few days apartment hunting. Uh oh, I should have been studying Korean more diligently. I did not see the need to cram. After all, we were supposed to be living on base.

Many people recommended a realtor named “Ray”. He was very experienced and had lived/studied in Massachusetts for a while, therefore his English skills were on the money. He drove us around town, and we settled on a place in Koaroo (코아루) Apartments; a seven-building complex with ample underground parking and some playgrounds for the kiddies. I would say the resident population is about 40% American.

The neighborhood is quite pleasing. Jisan-ro is something of a wide avenue, so one does not feel oppressed by buildings. There are plenty of shops and cafes around as well. However, I still do not feel settled. Our furniture shipment was due to arrive on 12/10/2020 and it is due to finally be delivered 1/4/2021.

Driving on Jisan-Ro

We have luxurious (cough…gag) loaner furniture from the Air Force which will be picked up on 1/5 and then our new sectional arrives on 1/6. We junked our sofa and love seat back in Idaho. The kids and the cats had ruined it to the point that I did not feel comfy even giving them to an enemy. The first week of 2021 is shaping up to be a busy one. But my comfort requires more than furnishings.

My guitars, clothes, books, CD’s, DVDs, and more kitchen gadgets are on this shipment. Then and only then will I feel relaxed and settled.

About two weeks before Christmas, I picked up a sinus infection. And this was a brutal one. I went deaf for about 12 days. If you were wondering why I was not plastering pix and other things all over social media or responding to emails, now you know why.

Furniture Delivery

Our shipment arrived and it still took about two weeks to get things under control. The movers will reassemble the dining room table, but they are not going to take care of your clothes, books, CD’s, DVD’s, and other assorted bric-a-brac. Please remember, under normal circumstances, we could have taken care of everything in a couple of days. But toddlers do not stop being hungry, or cease needing clean clothes just because you have something else to do. I have barely touched upon all the events and pitfalls we experienced, but I think some will get the point.

Anyway, I hope these last two posts serve as something of an explanation as to why I faded from public presence, but also experienced a heavy impact on any writing and editing.

Have you ever had a complicated move or taken a forced hiatus from writing and social media because life got in the way?

Arriving in Korea Part I: Turumi Lodge Is Not Too Roomy

Nine days before departing for South Korea (대한민국), we left our home in Idaho and moved into base lodging. There were too many tasks to complete before the ‘For Sale’ sign was plunged into the front lawn. Painting, small fixes, and a new carpet installed while the movers packed things up for either storage or shipment. Family Lodging in Idaho spoiled me, because I was expecting the same on the other end of the journey.


Sorry that I can’t provide pix of Turumi Lodge. Photography on US Military Bases are forbidden. However, some peeps have made videos of the interior accommodations.


After landing in Korea, we were escorted directly into quarantine within the family section of Turumi Lodge. This building had condemned and was ready for demolition. But when Covid-19 struck, a sudden need for extra housing took precedence. Our living space was two small hotel rooms that had been combined years ago. The adjoining door was removed, and a closet was repurposed as a kitchen. Yes, you read that correctly, my kitchen was a freakin’ closet! The sink and induction burner soaked up fifty percent of the total counter space. I guess some counter space is better than none, right?

A small wooden cabinet stood opposite the kitchen next to the refrigerator, adorned with an automatic drip coffee maker and a four-slot toaster. How gracious and kind of the Air Force to provide such an amenity. However, in modern times, both coffee and toast have a common ingredient, electricity. There was no outlet, so I moved them to the countertop, leaving a space just big enough for a small cutting board.

Two of the chairs were falling apart and there was not adequate closet space to accommodate the luggage load for a family of four (plus two cats). The only amenity that could be looked upon as a positive was the high-speed internet. But alas our cell phones would not work.

Before leaving Idaho, we knew that we required phones with an international sim card. We purchased two new phones with the right cards and had them unlocked. Ugh! They were not fully or correctly unlocked, leaving us without cell service while we were locked up for fourteen days. Certain websites like FaceBook recognize an unfamiliar IP address and will send a temporary password to prove you are the true owner of an account. Unfortunately, that special password is sent via text message.

After quarantine, we were moved across the street to a more proper hotel. However, we were in two separate rooms and our cats were not allowed. Luckily, my wife had scoped this information out before we left Idaho and had a cat sitter ready. On our first day out, we purchased new phones, had our post office box assigned, and obtained our driver’s licenses and ration cards. We had to really move fast, as my wife was only given four days off to settle before reporting to her squadron. Of course, a four day holiday weekend was approaching and many official offices on the base would be closed or understaffed.

And that is when the proverbial hammer dropped on us. We were not going to be assigned housing on the base. Let the apartment hunting begin!

TO BE CONTINUED.

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You Know You’re In a Small Town When…

you walk into a store and walk out without paying.

I’m not talking about shoplifting or any other criminal activity.

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Here’s the story

My wife was working late and needed to pick up a plaque for a departing airman in her squadron. She didn’t think that she could get to the engraver’s shop before he closed, but she needed it for the next day. That’s when she called me and asked me to run over there and pick up the engraved wooden plaque.

Things like this go along with being married to the Air Force.

I had to go to the supermarket anyway, so I stopped into the shop to pick it up. When I took out my debit card, the owner said, “I don’t take cards, but I know she needs this for tomorrow. Just take it and come by with cash when you can.”

Color me dumbfounded. This man had never seen me before in my life, and yet he’s telling me to take the merchandise and pay him later.

I took the plaque, went to the supermarket and asked for cash back. I immediately returned to the store and paid the man. on Saturday, the plaque was presented to the departing sergeant on time.

I was born and raised in NYC. Things like this just don’t happen there.

Got any small town anecdotes that big city folk just wouldn’t understand?

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