August Rush: A New Home and a Financial Setback

Since I last wrote I feel as though I’ve lived another lifetime and I’ll forever call it August 2011. It’s hard for me to explain recent events in my life in a short narrative so over the next few days I’ll post a series of entries under the theme of my ‘August Rush’.

My wife and I decided to buy an apartment. Since we returned to Korea we’ve lived with her mother, and that had both its emotional and logical reasons, but it changed the nature of our relationship and not for the better. Summer tends to be the slow season for apartment hunting in Korea, for the very good reason that people don’t want to hike around in the unbearable heat as I have just spent the last month doing, and with prices of apartments in Busan rising at a bubble-like pace, we were watching our relocation options dwindle by the month. We had to take advantage of any lull there was.

Review: Roomorama

With 425 destinations covered (including several destinations in Korea) and counting, Roomorama is a website offering short-term rentals, hotels, etc. Much like Couchsurfing and craigslist matches up traveler and host, Roomorama brings security, transparency, feedback, and a sense of professionalism to the ‘rent-someone-else’s-place’ world.

From Roomorama’s home page, watch a video that explains the service in 60 seconds, or start typing where you want to go and watch the auto-complete function work. Payment is made online in the standard online way, but the twist is that the money isn’t immediately received by the host. Instead, you get an alphanumeric code to give the host, once you’ve checked out the place and determined all is well. The host then logs on to the website, types in the code, and collects their money.

The Honey Pot

In my mind the angry husband eventually accused his wife of caring more about her plants than she did about him, and this is the reason he chose to start dropping them, one by one, out of the window into the car park ten floors below.

As heavy ceramic pots of the sort favoured for Korean balconies, complete with large exotic plants, surreally dropped down the side of our apartment building, the ageing building janitor was called in to negotiate for the safety of the remaining foliage, even if the marriage at this point was beyond saving.

It’s not always a given that people are going to listen to their elders in this country any more, but thirty minutes later, the man was sheepishly picking up shattered ceramic fragments and traumatised plants amongst the thin layer of earth that now covered part of our apartment block's car park.

Water World

I had to spend last night at a love motel.


Let’s start at the beginning.

on the streets.

In this big city, loneliness is somehow inevitable, as you walk amongst a sea of black hair and incessant clicking heels. Sometimes though, as I walk past each person, I feel I get a half a second glimpse into their world as our realities are intertwined, if even for just that fleeting moment. The strong scent of aftershave follows the gentleman dressed like Ron Burgundy and lingers for a few more steps. I have a feeling he just came from that love motel but it is anyone's guess. As my ipod provides the soundtrack, in my head are a million different stories about that man and how he came to be at that very place, at that very moment, intersecting paths with this foreigner.

Busan e-FM Week 11: Apartment Experiences

About 'Open Mike in Busan'


For this week on Inside Out Busan, I thought I’d talk about something that’s quite significant in this country, which is where you live, and I’ll also talk about some of my Korean property experiences.

The differences between Korea and England

Abandon Ship

The first thing you think about when the screech of the alarm first reaches you, is that 9.30pm on a Sunday evening is not a likely time to be running a drill. The automated spoken warning that it drowned out may have been meaningless to a non-Korean speaker, but there are times when no translation is necessary to understand the words "Fire. Evacuate. Fire. Evacuate."

The Trojan Horse

So then the engineer said you can't turn off the wireless connection. But it's protected by a password. It's basically four characters long and can't be changed. What? Let's jump back.

I was still in bed at 09:50 Saturday morning with my wife rushed in to put on some better clothes. Was she going out? No, a KT engineer was coming to our apartment to install an Internet phone.

You know how these days it's quite popular in scripted television to dispense with a linear narrative and instead join a story half way through, and then jump around in time to fill in the back-story? That's what my entire life is like in Korea behind the language barrier.


One of the things that surprised me when I moved from a self-contained and somewhat isolated one-room apartment into a large apartment block, was the speaker on the wall from which the building's janitors/security guards would issue pronouncements from their bunker far below. The disembodied voice - with its Orwellian overtones - which can suddenly cut into any conversation or private moment and can not be switched off, has continued to be one of the more disconcerting aspects of living in a Korean high-rise community. But it also has a comedic value that I fear I will never truly appreciate until I am fully conversant in Korean.

Apartments in Kyungsung

Hello all,

I am looking for a nice, big apartment in the Kyungsung area for the end of December and was wondering if anyone living in Kyungsung could recommend places or apartment buildings in the area to check out.

My school is paying for my apartment and is shopping around for me, but I thought I would be further ahead if I could find someone living in a building in Kyungsung to recommend their building as the school has given me the final say on which apartment I take.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


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