For a brief moment, I feel a bit demanding when I commandeer Mr Jeong’s attention within 10 minutes of his entering the office. I had just been speaking to the Head of the International Department about the mould problem and telling her that I am not even sleeping in my own apartment at the moment because the mould has become so bad. As an asthma sufferer, the situation has become even more unhealthy than it already was.
I feel a bit bad at the prospect of having to phone Mr Jeong while he is on leave when he suddenly arrives mid-afternoon. Not on leave as I had thought, he is actually attending compulsory summer workshops and has decided to skip the afternoon lectures in order to prepare for that evening’s lessons that he has to give at school. With one look at my expression, he accurately assesses just how bad the mould problem has become and promptly contacts my landlord to find out what is happening with regard to the mould situation in my apartment.
In what I presume is an effort to save face, my landlord comments that the repair person has been around to my apartment several times in the past two weeks but I’m never home. Considering that he knows I’m a teacher and he knows that I teach across the road from my apartment, I find this an unlikely story – even more so considering that I was home for a substantial part of the first of those two weeks! Thankfully, I receive confirmation that evening that they’ll be coming to my apartment on Wednesday morning to fix the problem.
Repairs: Korean Style
At 8:00am on Wednesday morning, I’m ready and waiting. True to his word, my landlord arrives and gives me a bottle of some strong chemical with which to clean the mould that has resurfaced in my apartment. As for the mould in my bedroom, I’m relieved to see that the mouldy wallpaper is being stripped away and am curious to see how, exactly, they’ll be treating the mould. When I see the woman start cutting all of the edges of the wallpaper in my bedroom, I’m confused until I notice the new wallpaper on the floor and realise that they will be re-papering the room after treating the mould.
An hour later, however, I’m horrified to discover that “treating the mould” as discussed three weeks earlier means simply sticking new wallpaper over the problem. I’ve heard that this is common practise in
where mould is just considered part of everyday life in the summer months but I’m disappointed and disillusioned to discover that this is how the problem is being addressed in my apartment. Any idiot will realise that the mould will simply re-appear through the new paper given enough time and, despite having recently toyed with the idea of simply staying in my current apartment rather than facing the schlep of moving, I’m so grateful to know that I only have to tolerate the mould problem for three more weeks. Korea
Although I manage to do some work from home while my bedroom is re-papered, I’m frustrated that it takes five and a half hours to paper the little room. Fortunately, the job is finished just in time for me to get to school for my afternoon summer classes. Unfortunately, I’m left with a huge mess to clean up when I get home tonight. Three more weeks is something of a mantra for me at the moment regardless of how stressful arranging the move seems…