Prison museum, Tibetan cafe, apartment chatter.

Yesterday, some friends and I were meant to head up Inwangsan for a bit of a spring hike. Well. The rain saw to it that that plan was ruined, so we decided instead to drop in on the Seodaemun Prison Museum and then head over to Samcheongdong to hang out for the rest of the day.

The prison museum seems to have mellowed out a lot, compared to what I've read in other accounts, and according to a friend who came along who had been there years previous. While I don't think what happened there should be understated, judging by the amount of kids we saw running around, it may not have been the worst decision. Instead, the most gruesome parts of the museum are now represented by the accounts of survivors played in a video interview projected on the wall, which I think lends it all a bit more weight than than seeing mannequins positioned to reenact the scenes anyway -- to hear it from a human being's mouth, who lived through it.

It was a cold, dreary day, which definitely added to the somberness of the experience. Afterwards, despite failing to complete our hiking duty, we went back near Gyeongbokgung to warm up and fill up on  전, 전병, 들깨국수, 막걸리 and various assorted other. 

In good spirits, we headed our friend turned tour guide, who lives in the neighborhood, then took us over to check out a Tibetan cafe associated with Rogpa, which works cooperatively to support the Tibetan community. I was promised the best Chai I've ever had, and it certainly was delivered. 

Afterwards, we headed to a music bar to fill the table with empty bottles and annoy the proprietor with requests. Eventually, the Incheon faction had to stumble out into the cold to catch the next-to-last bus back home, which wound up being the last bus, when Smalltown, who suddenly really had to pee, disappeared around the corner for just long enough for the rest of us to watch the bus fly past. We killed the next thirty minutes down in the warmth of the subway station, before finally boarding the completely empty bus, only to realize too late that the two fellas had ended up up situated, both, in broken seats, which kept spontaneously flinging them forwards, and then dropping them back. This inspired a lot of humorous small talk with the folks who boarded the bus after, a bit amused at the spectacle. 

A good way to end the day. And we'll get back to Inwangsan soon. 

All this northwestern Seoul trekking is not for nothing, it has to be said. B and I are a bit divided over the location of our new place, and I'm championing an area a bit further north of the river than the one he's in favor of. I won major points this weekend, when I pointed out how quickly both Gangnam and Seoul Station can be reached from the orange line (both likely candidates for B's future work sites). Now I'm wooing him with the surrounding neighborhoods, slowly but surely, and the friend we visited who lives there did her part admirably by casually bringing up how low the housing prices are. 

We'll see. 

But for now, we're trying to work out the logistics of his lease being up in June, and my contract not finishing until October. I'd be alright with him coming out to Incheon for a few months, if it weren't for the fact that I feel a bit sketch moving my boyfriend in on my school's dime. I suppose it is technically my apartment, and I can do whatever I want, but the ethics of the situation are a bit questionable to me. 

So instead, we're trying to see if we can come up with 전세, and if we can manage that, we'll be able to move B into a new place when his old lease is up, without him having to pay a large rent on his own for several months (or without me having to pay rent on a place I'm not living in, alternatively). The problem, besides figuring out if we can scratch the money together, is that 전세 doesn't seem to be nearly as common as it used to be, and most places (at least where we've been looking) seem more keen on collecting both a sizable deposit and 월세 each month. But if we can work it out, it would be a nice solution, so that B doesn't have to find a new, short term place, and pay for it. 

It would also be nice to be on 전세 and not to have to pay rent for the time while I'm in school. Obviously. And to have the stress of the apartment sorted, and several months to get all of my stuff moved over, long before the stress of everything else that comes with finishing up my contract will bring. 

Marching ever forward. Hopefully, some of this will start to be resolved soon. 

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