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15 Apr 2014

Settled in – After a flurry of posting at the beginning of last month, I have somehow managed to yet again let over a month go by between posts. That is due in part to the fact that I have been trying to adjust to my new job and our new apartment, but I must admit that I have also been a bit lazy when it comes to setting aside time for Liminality.

“The claustrophobic kitchen aside, I actually like the place quite a bit.”

I have decided to break the long silence today, though, and I will do that with some photos of our new apartment. We are, I think, officially settled in now—as settled as we’re going to be, at any rate. We’ve got everything unpacked and all the new furniture we’ve had to procure has been procured. So here is our new apartment, or at least glimpses of it.

We start in the study, the smallest room in the house (besides the Lilliputian kitchen). I did not clean my desk before taking this photo, which is why it is decorated with piles of books and papers. If you know anything about how I usually keep my desk, though, you’ll know that this isn’t all that bad. Maybe this is partially because I haven’t had time to make too much of a mess of it, but I think it’s mostly because I do almost all of my actual work in my office at SNU these days. So what you see here is mostly the detritus of what I do in my spare time; the tallest pile, on the left, for example, is travel books and various stuff related to our recent trip to New Zealand, from which I am currently in the process of reconstructing a travel journal.

Next we move across the way into the bedroom. This room is much larger, but we’re still not quite sure what to do with all that space. I mean, as long as we have the bed, a few pieces of necessary furniture, and some space to walk around, we’re good. We’ve got more space here than we need, though (even though you probably can’t tell from the photo). I found myself wishing that I could have somehow taken space from this room and added it to the kitchen.

And this is the kitchen. At least, this photo was taken from the kitchen (which ends right after the refrigerator), looking out into the living room on the left and the bedroom on the right. I was right up against the door out into the “multipurpose room,” which is a long, tile-floored space that contains our boiler, our washing machine, and a set of cabinets where we store extra food, my bread machine, and other such stuff (so, basically a mini-pantry, I guess). The multipurpose room isn’t too exciting, so I didn’t take a photo of it.

You can probably tell from this photo how cramped this space is. If there is one thing that I have wanted ever since I started shopping around for accommodations in Korea, it is a decent-sized kitchen. HJ and I were flipping through the channels the other day, and we came across HGTV (Home & Garden TV, I think). They just happened to be doing a show on the Top 10 kitchens, which nearly made me break down in tears. I realize that all of these kitchens are owned by ridiculously rich people who can afford to have designers come in and design rooms in their house (or who are designers themselves), but man... if I could have any one of those kitchens.... The chances of me having a decent kitchen in Korea, though, are slim to none, unless I manage to luck into the small fortune we would need for a large house/apartment.

Here is the living room, or at least the part of the living room that we usually see when we are sitting on the couch (which is to my left as I take this photo). The television and the console (I guess that’s what it’s called) it is sitting on are new, as are the washing machine, the table you saw in the kitchen, and the table you will see in the next photo. Everything else we brought with us. The television is probably the most exciting new thing, though; our old television was so small and crappy that I often had a hard time seeing the ball when watching football matches. So it’s amazing to actually be able to see a golf ball in flight. We also discovered that we can put a bunch of photos from my new camera on a USB drive, plug that into the side of the TV, and watch a slideshow—and boy do the photos look great! It’s so much nicer than looking at them on a computer monitor.

This is our “verandah” (I talked about this space in the previous entry on the new apartment). You’ll notice the table in the foreground. That’s actually a larger table than the one we have in our kitchen (this is a four-top, while the kitchen table is a two-top), because this is a much larger space. We sometimes sit out here to eat or just chill, because there is a decent view of the mountains out the window. In the background, against the far wall, is a large planter, where HJ has planted some lettuce, thyme, rosemary, and rocket. Having a little herb garden has been a dream of hers. It’s nice that some of our dreams come true sometimes.

So that’s a quick tour of our apartment. The claustrophobic kitchen aside, I actually like the place quite a bit. Unfortunately, these digs are only temporary. Unlike HUFS, where we could stay in faculty housing indefinitely, here at SNU the standard stay is three years. You can extend for another three years, but each year the maintenance costs will go up—a not so subtle suggestion to get out and find a new place. The faculty apartments here are a stopgap measure of sorts, a place for professors to live when they first join the SNU family. But once you’ve got your feet under you, it’s time to make room for the next crop of fresh professors. It’s unfortunate for us, but I do understand the reasoning.

Anyway, for at least the next three years, this is home. I’ll be posting some photos of the school and my office at some point as well, but I still haven’t quite got everything sorted out on that end.

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