I want to start by giving cred to both Glee and The Office. This week’s episode of Glee had me absolutely riveted, and although there was little doubt the kids were gonna win Sectionals, I was still really moved, and oh, that last kiss, you go, Mr. Schue!!! Seriously, my favorite TV show of 2009, hands down. And while this season of The Office has been disappointing thus far, they really stepped it up the last two episodes. The whole “Michael lies to the kids about paying their college tuition” episode was absolutely painful (in the best way) from start to finish, and this week’s “Tranny Santa” episode was just as good. I also watched the Top Chef season finale, and although it was a pretty good season with the whole Brother vs. Brother dynamic, I probably won’t watch future seasons. It’s just kind of hard to really get into it, when you have no idea what any of the food tastes like, so you can’t really form personal opinions on how good the contestants are. I know there are fans of the show who bicker about who should have won and such, but I don’t know how you can tell without actually eating the food, so let me have whatever they’re smoking, seriously.
Anyhow, here’s the latest news on the Tommyland home front (literally!). My freeloading days are officially numbered, as I have found myself a studio apartment to call home. It’s not big or fancy by any means, but I’m still very happy with it. My favorite part of the place is the view; it’s on the top floor of a 15-floor building, and it overlooks a small park. I’m hoping it will prove to be inspiring when I finally sit down and start writing (soon, little grasshopper, soon). The funny part is, it’s actually right between my two aunts’ places, and I’d been walking by there pretty much every time I went to visit my mom at Aunt #3’s house. Sometimes, what you’re looking for is right under your nose, as they say. I’ll be moving on 12/21 (nice symmetrical date), and I am counting the days.
I probably should mention a couple of things about how the Korean real estate system works. Basically, there are two ways of renting an apartment: jeonsae and wolsae. In jeonsae, the renter puts down a HUGE amount as a “key deposit” (we’re talking $40,000 as the bare minimum for a small studio) but doesn’t pay any rent. After the contract term ends, the owner returns the money to the renter (apparently, the apt. owner profits by putting that money into a special account and keeping the interest). In wolsae–which is what I’m doing–the renter puts down a considerably smaller amount (or sometimes none at all) for the deposit and additionally pays a monthly rent. In my case, I put down about $20,000 (half of my total savings) as the key deposit (I’ll get that back after a year, knock on wood), and I’ll pay about $300 a month in rent (actually, more like $400 when the nebulous “maintenance fees” are added in). I’ve basically budgeted myself to live at a deficit of $1000~$1100 a month from the remainder of my savings while I write for the next year, which will leave me about $600 a month for all my non-rent expenses. It’s true that I’m not much of a shopper, and my one tutoring job will help a bit, but it’s safe to assume I probably won’t be gaining a lot of weight in 2010 (shades of Paris!).
The whole process with the real estate agents was relatively painless. The only thing that got on my nerves were the fake-flattery compliments (“oh, you’re so handsome; oh, you look so young”). When one agent told me that I kept reminding her of somebody and when I asked “Who?” and she answered, “Daniel Henney!” I knew then and there they were all full of it. Seriously, I wanted to just tell them, “Cut the crap, and just find me an apartment!!!” Fortunately, they did, so I shouldn’t complain. In fact, this song goes out to them. Thank you, agents, and a job well done.