Monday, October 24, 2016

The Thrill is Gone, Pt. 1

Oh, sweet naive Emily of the previous post. I envy your enthusiasm, your excitement at the semi-unknown, your pride in your husband's trust, your optimism.

Your optimism.

God, was it high. And when things are that high, they have a long way to fall.

I haven't posted in a while (she said, unnecessarily, but to have an easy paragraph-starter)... I haven't posted in a while, because it hasn't been a priority. And also, I didn't want to be a downer. But then I remembered that this is my blog. My blog that I originally began in order to keep friends and family apprised of my Korean adventures, but now will absolutely be more of a family album of sorts - but words, not pictures (which I prefer, anyhow). So I will be a downer all I want. Because, unfortunately, that's where this story begins.


Way down.

But not in the basement. Yet.

We landed in Korea on Sunday, April 17. Murphy promptly threw up all over me at touchdown. We were reassured by another foreigner that it's normal - his kids make the trip back and forth all the time, he said, and they just get so exhausted, they puke. We accepted this. We know now it was a warning.

After changing clothes in the bathroom, we made our way to Immigration. Incheon International was undergoing some construction, so the line for Immigration was about 2 hours long, extending into a sweltering hallway. When we finally got close enough to see the rope maze, a kind airport employee (dressed festively in a hanbok) looked at us with pity and escorted us to one of the Immigration officers. God bless that woman.

An employee from the school met us and we got to ride in the school's van back to Suji (where we live now). It was fun seeing the old familiar signs and highways and towns. I loved being back. I loved that I was here with my family. The future was so fucking bright.

Then we got to our apartment. Which was, per the contract, a "furnished, two-bedroom" apartment. Which I had specifically and repeatedly requested be furnished with a crib, if nothing else, because that's the only place Murphy sleeps. I even sent the exact Ikea model for which I would have been happy to reimburse the school, so long as my overtired toddler had a place to sleep when we arrived.


We walked into a literal two-room apartment (we now know was about 300 square feet). One small bedroom, another less-small bedroom, a hallway kitchen (that's not a missing comma, it was a hallway-kitchen) and a bathroom. With a broken sink that wasn't even connected to the pipes below it. And a gag-inducing sewage and mold smell.

And no. motherfucking. furnishings.

We had a pile of used blankets and a couple of dirty pillows on the floor of one bedroom. That was it.

That was it.

No place for Murphy. No crib. Not even a friendly bottle of water in the fridge to say "Hey, thanks for moving your whole family across the world, please hydrate."

I was livid. I called a dear friend who has been here for a decade, and told him I was ready to go back into Seoul right then, get a hotel, and fly out first thing the next morning. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run away.

I wanted better for my family. I wanted to stop this guilt rushing in - guilt at the living conditions, guilt that my husband's trust was so misplaced, guilt that I ripped my child away from everyone who loves her (minus us, of course) and brought her to a garbage heap. I wanted a place to sleep.

I wanted to fix it.

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