Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Odds and Ends of Oddness

On Monday I received pillows and blankets. One wonders if they thought I was sleeping on a bare mattress until now, after all I've been here over a week. In fact the previous tenant had left many items and I've been deciding what to toss and what to keep. The addition of two more thick blankets, two mattress covers, and two thin blankets (I have two bedrooms), helps to clarify my choices. I inspected the used blankets and mattress covers (I had already washed them), and weeded out any with various signs of wear and tear.

I have an electric two-burner stove. The burners are flush with the counter top, and seem to turn on and off, always at the same temperature (lower heat means they turn on less often and high heat means they're basically always on). They are oriented front and back, not right and left, so while trying to cook on the back burner (the larger one, better for bigger pans such as the pan I'm stir-frying in and hence have to reach for more often) steam and heat from the front pan (cooking rice or soup) is bothering my reaching arm. In other words, engineering FAIL.

The apt. is equipped with a phone that is free for calling international (yay!), but you have to dial a complicated series of numbers. There was a direction card, but it did not instruct me that I had to dial 7 + # and then wait for an automated operator to come on the line. So I kept dialing without waiting and reaching Mohammed, another new professor, who is in apt. on the third floor. He's from Egypt, educated in England, about the same age as me, except with a wife and three young boys. He's debating bringing them here, as he has been convinced by my across the hall neighbor, Abdul Kareem, that Koreans are very racist towards those from the Middle East, and has not seen anything to really disprove A.K.'s assertion. A.K.'s son is college-aged and attending college here in the computer science department, and yes, that means he speaks acceptable Korean. A.K. is from Yemen. My next door neighbor is Deanna(I think this is an English nickname) from Indonesia, and I've met a Bulgarian (Lyudmilla) who is almost done with her Ph.D. in Korean literature (but teaches Bulgarian), the two Italians Maria Anna and Sara, Wadu who teaches computer science (he's from Bangladesh), and Joe (American, Sports Management), I also met a guy who teaches Czech but I didn't catch his name. I also talked with a couple-- the man has an amazing beard. It's very long, and square, and his eyes are very smiley. He was in totally traditional dress (more like a robe, but from where?) yet his wife was wearing Western clothes [edit: I found him in the professor directory, he's teaching Greek!]. So those are random details about my neighbors-- obviously a very diverse lot.

I live in the corner, almost to the top. 

Path to the residences. Likely to see my feet a couple times a day for years...

Sara and Maria Anna on a walk by the riverside

Looking down a river back towards campus (to the right of the apartments visible in the distance)

Lots of farming around here. 

Sara, Llyudmilla, Maria Anna

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