What should’ve been a simple move from Sinchon to my host family’s apartment in Hongdae turned out to be quite the ordeal. I did have more luggage than I did when I originally came to Korea. To accommodate the books, thick winter sweaters, and skin care products I’d accumulated since arriving in August, I had to put some stuff into a box separate from my rolling luggage. I’d also bought a comforter, so I had to take that in its own container…and not to mention a small totebag of snacks from my apartment that I didn’t have the heart to throw away. But even with 6 things to tote to Hongdae, I didn’t forsee moving day to be this much of a challenge, especially because my Singaporean roommate was kind-hearted enough to lend a hand.
The problem started with the property manager (surprise, surprise). I was scheduled to check-out of my apartment by 12pm. At that time, the manager was supposed to come by, inspect the apartment, and, if there was no damage done, give my security deposit back. That would give me a little less than an hour to hail a cab and get to my host family’s apartment by the agreed upon move-in time, 1:00pm. Well, by 12:15 the apartment manager had not arrived to inspect the apartment. So I send a very nice text to the manager asking why no one had showed up. They essentially kept giving me the runaround, saying it would only be 5 or 6 minutes more, but no one arrived until about 12:40.
Now, I woke up early and was all packed up and ready to go by 11:30, but ya’ll can’t even show up on time? Disgraceful.
Anyway, after I went through the check-out process, together, by flatmate and I (okay, mostly me) managed to get 2 rolling luggages, a carry-on, a comforter, a box of books, and a totebag of snacks on the curb in front of our apartment. We were going to the closest main road to hail a taxi and lure it into the side road in front of our building when a beautiful shiny golden taxi cruised right in front of our apartment building. I thought it was a sign from above because I’d never been able to get a taxi so easily on the weekend and I’d never seen an empty one cruising down these tiny side streets. We stopped it and asked the driver if he could pop the trunk to we could load the stuff into the back. And once he saw how much there was, he gave us a lot of lip about “not being a moving service,” but let us shove everything into the trunk and backseat anyway. Halfway to my host family’s house, I realized I couldn’t fine my wallet, got out of the taxi, jogged back to the apartment to check for it. A fruitless endeavor—it wasn’t there. The taxi then circled back to pick my up and my roommate was holding my wallet out the window to show me that she’d found it. Great! But of course, the meter had been running the whole time I was looking for my wallet so already the cost for the taxi was higher than I’d calculated it to be. But at least I had my wallet to pay him with right?
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. The taxi driver didn’t try to cheat us and drive around in circles (He was probably secretly happy I’d had to go back and look for my wallet, the vindictive little toad.) But he didn’t take me to my host family’s apartment. He stopped us somewhere in the general neighborhood, kicked us out of the cab, and pointed in some vague direction, saying the house was “somewhere over there.” Well, fine and dandy, but when you have at LEAST 100 pounds of luggage to move “somewhere over there” just ain’t gonna cut it, sir. And then he had the nerve to ask me for a tip? Gurl….
Anyway, so two foreign girls were standing in the middle of the road with a bunch of luggage wondering exactly where the hell the apartment building was. I’d only been to the area once, so some things looked vaguely familiar to me, but I wasn’t exactly in a position to pinpoint the apartment’s exact location. So while we tried using my flatmate’s phone to find it on google maps, it started to rain. Because of course. That was only the next most logical turn in this grueling tale.
Oh and I hope you do remember how my Singaporean flatmate feels about the rain…?
So, while she took cover in the entrance of a building, I look a third of my luggage and set out to find the apartment in the maze of tiny twisting streets. After about 15 minutes, I did manage to find it, lug my luggage and the (now soaking) box of books all the way up to where my host family lived on the fourth floor. (Yep….4th floor.) Though I was about an hour and some late, my host mom welcomed me with open arms, helped me relocate my flatmate, and get the rest of my stuff to the building. Yes, it was a long arduous struggle getting all my crap up the stairs, but not a single jar of Cantu hair product was left behind.
My flatmate, despite being a delicate little snowflake, despite the rain, really toughed it out for me. And, after all the moving and unpacking was over, I had a nice new room with a bed twice as big as the old one, my own bathroom, and a nice host family to
cook dinner for me practice Korean with.