Friday, July 29, 2011


Time seems to pass by really quickly here, for whatever reason. I'm still more tired than what I would consider to be "normal," but I'm going to blame work and leave it at that.

Life is uneventful- the rain seems to have stopped (the sun! it's shining!), the temperature rose into the 80s, and I wore heels to work today without feeling any regret. As I'm leaving work in about half an hour, I would hope that I make it home with my shoes intact.

So I took a random picture while waiting for the very slow elevator in my building (there are two banks of elevators and four elevators in each bank, and they are ALL SO SLOW). This is from the 11th floor, looking down at the garden on the 3rd floor. That pink building is one of the Lotte Department Store buildings (the shorter one- there are two right next to each other, the taller building isn't visible from this angle). The garden's been drenched lately, so no serene cups of coffee in the garden for me.

This is very typical of Korea, by the way- there are little pockets of green spaces all over the place, even in the midst of all the very tall buildings that crowd the city. Ilsan doesn't have much space, as evidenced by how high they built up the city, but there are parks and little gardens all over the place.

That picture above was taken with my Korean phone (the Samsung Galaxy SII) and the following photos were all taken with my American phone (iPhone 4). The whole 'loud shutter click' thing on the Samsung means that I have been using my iPhone for silent picture-taking. (I carry around my iPhone as an iPod, since I'm not going to be buying music and putting it on my Korean phone, which I have to return before I leave the country.)
This so-called ecological park is on the roof of the Lotte Department Store. It's a garden more than a park, but very cute, very well maintained, and very quiet. The department store is so loud (and full of pushy Koreans) but the rooftop garden is serene. I love it.
I like this type of wooden walkway. The trees in Korea are SO green. The trees in the US (well, California and New Mexico) aren't this vibrantly green. I think part of it is the weather (it's humid and rainy here, whereas California and New Mexico are deserts) and part of it is that there are lots of types of trees in Korea that I'm not used to seeing in the States.
Lotte Department Store has (generally) very nice aesthetic value. These lamps were hanging next to an escalator that I was taking (hence the blurry photo). I would want this kind of lighting for my house- diffused, no glaring spotlights, peaceful.
This is the view looking down from the escalator. I like the wavy aqua walls. Koreans place a lot of importance (or at least they seem to spend a lot of time) on appearance, which lends for prettier spaces and generally very well put-together people. (Some other time, I will get into what some of my female co-workers wear to work. I need to take sneaky pictures as evidence, though- some of their outfits are madness!)

What else .... I got paid! Hooray ... I think. The way I get paid is a little bit odd: I have a set rate (by week). However, the way the company pays me is in won, not dollars. My weekly rate is in dollars. They calculate my pay by whatever the current value of the dollar is as compared to the won. So on the 25th of each month, I get paid varying amounts of money. Right now:

(my rate) x (current exchange value) = (not as much as it would have been three weeks ago)

Hopefully, the dollar picks itself up a little. If $1 falls below 1,000 won, I'm going to be upset. (I remember when the Korean economy was crashing because of the whole IMF thing and $1 was worth almost 2,000 won. Sigh.)

Anyways, I calculated the amount that I got paid and it's all kosher. The whole direct deposit thing is quite convenient, actually- if you have someone's name and their account number, you can just put money right into their account. (I owe my cousin money because he ordered my cell phone online and used his credit card.) It's a lot faster than giving someone a check or taking out an inordinately large sum of cash.

I haven't been sleeping well the past couple of days, so I'm a little loopy. Still, I'm seriously going to try to do something this weekend, after the past three (um, all the weekends I've been here) weekends of doing ... nothing. At least go into Seoul and see some family, maybe wander around the places that I have interest in seeing. (All of this is pending weather issues, of course- I'm told it will rain more this weekend.)

Current currency exchange: $1 = 1,054 won. Up one measly won from the last time I checked ... still, I suppose that's progress.