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The new digs!!

In a very surprising turn of fate, it seems that I am spending this week
pre-China moving house.  I just got off the phone with the ferry people,
who graciously agreed to change my departure ticket for next Tuesday.  I
meet my new landlord at lunchtime today to pay rent and get keys.

4 days ago I wasn't even looking for a new home.

Houses in Korea (at least in cities) are incredibly rare.  A yard,
unheard of.  Yet, not 6 blocks from where I am living now, there is a
house with an enormous yard.  It sits on its own on a pie shaped wedge of
land above a (very tiny) river, backing onto the mountain.  Because of
the odd positioning of the lot, it has nothing around it on 2 sides -
just the 12 or 15 foot drop off below the retaining wall to the water. 
It looks across to the university, maybe a 5 minute walk to my office,
and the mountains.  The house itself is tiny and traditional, made of
wood and yellow-orange wattle (mud), with a slanted roof over walls that
aren't exactly square.  It looks like paradise to me (although one of the
other teachers at the university describes it as "that decrepit little
shack").  My friend Erik and I have both been scoping out this house
since we came to town.  Longingly.  It never in a million years occured
to either of us that we would ever see it from anywhere but the road.  

On Wednesday, on my daily hike with my Korean friend Kyoung, we took a
new path (for the first time in 4 months) and got lost.  Not
panicked-in-the-wilderness lost, just gee-I-wonder-where-we-are lost. 
The path came out below the house.  I mentioned to her how much I love
the place, and she said she knew the couple who live there.  A few days
later she called me excitedly, telling me she had called the couple to
see if they would mind if I had a look at their house since I liked it so
much, and found out they had just moved out.  The day she called.  They
are about to have a baby, and thought it would be too small for their new

Erik and I were together when the owner called me to come see the house. 
We both went over.  Imagine our surprise upon arrival to find that the
husband is the economics professor whose office is across the hall from
me at work and the wife is Erik's Korean teaching partner.  They were
delighted that we both liked the place so much.  Inside it's all big,
round, wooden beams and windows.  A big main room and a bedroom/bathroom
combo, plus a storage shed up against the side and an attic.  Maybe 3 or
4 times as big as what I have now. Not including that massive, beautiful
yard.  They called later to ask if I (or we) wanted to move in.  

The owners, knowing both Erik and I, knew neither of us could afford to
pay very much.  They matched the rent I pay now on my tiny room.  My
current landlady was sad to hear I would be leaving, but supportive (even
agreeing to give me my deposit back despite my giving her only 3 days
notice of my departure after only 4 months of a year long lease).  And
voila!  Rather than relaxing in the post-exams-and-marking-craze
afterglow and reading up on China, I am packing, packing, packing and
taking care of all the little details of moving.  With the most enormous
smile on my face you have ever seen.

As for Erik, he might move in with me.  He likes it so well and we work
well together (plus I'm about to be gone for 2 months).  Or he might not.
 Doesn't much matter to me either way.  Would be nice to have the
company.  Would be nice to have the place to myself.  Either way, we half
live together as it is, so it probably won't be too much of a change.

I can't believe I got it.  I can't believe I'm about to have a house of
my own.  For the first time in my life.  So pack your bags people, and
come on over.  Roberta's space just got a whole lot sweeter...



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