Priya Bradfield (priyabradfield) wrote,
Priya Bradfield

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Saturday, June 25th

On Saturday, we went looking at apartments to get an idea of what is out there and what we can afford at this point. Not much, apparently. The first two we saw were just too small. They had three bedrooms, but the second and third bedrooms were little more than a place to put your bed and maybe a small desk. I kept thinking of the container of our things that is on its way over here and wondering where we would put everything. And the bathrooms didn't have a tub at all (which isn't that big of a deal, but the kids would definitely miss their bath times). But these were typical Korean apartments and I felt very spoiled with my big American house (which isn't that big at 1860 sq.ft.). And very sad at what we would have to get here instead. The apartment we're in now is about 1050 sq.ft or 30 pyeong (1 pyeong = 3.3 sq. meters = 35 sq. feet). The first apartment we looked at was probably about 25 pyeong. Way too small. The second one we saw was 30 pyeong and was actually quite nice except for the loft it had. The loft itself was great, really just a place to sleep since an adult couldn't stand up fully without hitting his head. The kids would have LOVED it. But the problem was that the stairs going up there had no handrail. I could just see Nadia, or even Maya, falling off the stairs just as they got up to the top. Too bad though, because that could have worked well for us, size-wise.

The last apartment we looked at was 27 pyeong, but it seemed a little bigger than that. The layout really makes the difference, in this case. It was three bedrooms, but they were all a decent size. We could see the girls' bunk beds going in one of the bedrooms, with room leftover for their dresser and toy bins. The third bedroom could have easily held my desk and shelves, with our bed and wardrobes going in the master bedroom and the couch and tv in the living room. It had a nice kitchen and a good size balcony.

Now about prices. That was the kicker for me. They have a system here that is leftover from the days of large bank interest rates. I guess what used to happen was that you'd give the landlord a large sum of money upfront. Say, $50,000 to $100,000. The landlord would put the money in the bank, where the interest rates were about 15% to 20%. The landlord would keep the interest in exchange for not charging a monthly rent to you. At the end of the rent term, you'd get all your original amount back. And Korean typically save a large amount of their salaries (estimates are anywhere from 30% to 50%!), so the system was not beyond most people's means. I as a typical American consumer, balked at the down payments, seeing as how we'd never be able to do that at all. Still, the system is still in effect, though the bank rates are not as high. At a minimum, we'd have to put down $10,000 to get the monthly rent down to abotu $1,000. The good thing is that the down payment will be returned to us in full at the end of our term (it isn't like a security deposit). If we put down $20,000, we'd get our rates down to $900 or even $800. The more you put down, the lower the monthly can be.

One positive of the day was that we were able to leave Maya and Nadia with Kai-wen (Erik's wife) and the girls had a great time and didn't seem to miss us while we were gone. Nadia wore herself out playing though. She fell asleep on the way to dinner and didn't wake up until just as the food got to our table (figures, doesn't it??).

Anyway, that night we went to Kraze Burger, a Johnny Rockets-style restaurant. I was craving a burger and was able to satisfy that craving here! A burger, a coke and some chili fries - YUMMY!

We all had a great conversation too. Mainly talked about GoPets (what else) and our move, my reservations about Chris taking this job (job with a start-up company, been there, done that, wanted something a little more stable). Erik seems to have everything under control and the confidence in GoPets to say that things should start to pay off by the end of this year. Hmmm...I did send off a chain email that said if I sent it out to a certain number of people, my wish would come true within six months.

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