I will be moving into a new apartment in a month. I’m kinda excited to move to a new place even though it’s only a block away. My current place is small, and truthfully, I’ve never been in a “big” place in Korea, even when I was living outside of Seoul. So yeah, moving into a relatively spacious two-bedroom apartment is kind of a big deal, in my opinion, especially right in the middle of Seoul.
And it comes with quite a few perks, too. A lobby with security that makes it look like a hotel, a sunny view of the Namsan Tower, access to a gym, a driving range, and study room within the building, a sauna in the bathroom, a spacious kitchen, and again, the building is conveniently located minutes from many of Seoul’s landmarks. I’ll still be taking the subway to work, of course, but that’s an inescapable part of life in the city.
Unfortunately, I’m not buying my place. I’m not renting it either. There’s a weird in-between system in Korea where people deposit a huge amount of money in the landlord’s account, and they don’t have to pay rent during the lease agreement. Much like many people in the country, I’m too poor to afford buying my own place within the city, especially with apartment prices skyrocketing after the previous administrations market policies. Seriously, the housing market here has become much like Hong Kong. You’re either extremely rich to be able to afford living within the city or just extremely lucky. I happen to be the latter.
One of the things that works against me is that most people when they get married, they get a huge amount of money from the groom’s parents in order to purchase a house. Being a foreigner, I never got that luxury. Heck, I didn’t get any help with anything from my father regarding my housing. I feel guilty that with regards to my wife’s family, and how generous they are with us; the relationship is just off kilter. My Korean in-laws just give and give, while my side of the family is nothing but dead silence.
So what do I do? What is there to do but to just work my ass off. Take every opportunity to earn money and just say yes. Luckily, Korea has been generous to me. As a foreigner, there is always opportunity to earn money as long as you hustle. So yeah, I’m hustling, hustling for that that two-bedroom apartment right in the middle of Seoul.