As you may well be aware, I recently returned to Korea for my second go-around at teaching. After living with a homestay family for the entire first year, I was ready to move out and attempt the bachelor life in my own single apartment.
By contract, only first-year teachers with the Fulbright program are required to do home-stays. Despite the comfort of living with a family and thus having provided meals, daily company, and a bridge to the community, I wanted to live alone and have more privacy and autonomy.
Just a 7-minute walk from my old house, my new place is at a new 오피스텔, a type of studio-room building that tends to be newer and a little better equipped than traditional Korean one-room apartments. It’s clean, bright, and exactly what I need to be comfortable for the year.
I’m still playing interior designer for myself, looking for small pieces of furniture and other home necessities. My biggest success so far was ordering a mattress, having slept on a thin sleeping pad for the first two weeks. There are still a few staples lacking in my place, but as the months go on there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll build a cozy home for myself.
The surrounding area is convenient, close to a large supermarket, my bank chain, restaurants, corner stores, a running path along the stream, and within walking distance of the city bus terminal and also Chungbuk National University. I still take the bus to and from school, though I want to start biking if the weather is nice and I leave myself enough time in the morning.
In the past few weeks, I can already appreciate how quiet my building is (despite the area having a reputation as a hangout spot for all the rebellious middle school students who want to start all kinds of teenage debauchery). Even with my window open at night, I haven’t been disturbed much (the sound doesn’t quite penetrate up to the fourth floor).
Soon enough, I will host my housewarming party and truly christen my apartment for the next year. I plan to have two separate parties, one for fellow teachers at my school and another for foreign teachers and friends. Actually, I’ve already hosted one event and I’m pleased with how people were able to squeeze in for the pancake party, a now annual tradition for the returning ETAs in Cheongju to welcome new teachers to the area.
For your viewing pleasure, I took some photos and videos to introduce my new apartment and set the stage for the many stories that I’m sure will take place there for the year. Let me know how this place measures up to similar one-room apartments you’ve lived in before. I also updated my mailing address info. on the Bio page of the site; check it out if you need to reach me by mail for any reason.