This picture is from this morning. The rocky waterfall tumbling down a hillside among the trees is one of the prettiest places in Korea I've seen so far, but it's not a good example of Seoul...except that it is almost an ideal landscaped scene. Oh, and I still see smog in this view. Most of Seoul, including the view out our hotel window, is full of business and highrise apartments.
The army base here is unusual in that most buildings do not go above two or three stories. The housing areas are three stories, but that's still not normal for Seoul. Many of the apartment buildings in the city are 20-60 stories tall, and one that is under constuction will be 123 stories.
Visiting the Housing office today, took over four hours. That's really not too bad, considering that first we had a meeting with a counselor so she could offer us two houses to look at (I think it's a bit of a psycological trick. There's really not much difference between any of the army housing, but if there appears to be free will involved, the renters are happier about the results), then we took the shuttle bus over to the housing area to look at the two possible houses. Before we actually looked at the houses, we had to fnd the housing office in the area, and this took a chunk of time, because we got lost. :( We're not familiar with the areas, and I think we probably got off the bus at the wrong stop. So we walked around until we found the office, and thank goodness I had brought the baby carrier along for Little V to ride on my back.
A nice woman from the office (This office, like most of the other installation offices, was mainly staffed with native Koreans. They all speak English, to some extent.) walked over with us to see the locations that had been offered. Big J put on camo booties over his army boots before we looked inside -- the kids and I just slipped off our shoes. Both possibles were on the second and third floor of the condo complexes. 3Br, 2 1/2 bath, for those of you who read the realty ads. The square footage is pretty small, but it will work for us. The kitchen is best described as a very efficient box! The only difference was on the rear patio. One had just a railing, and the other, that we picked, had been glassed in, with sliding windows and screens. It may get warm in there in the summer for any plants (I hope not too much!) but it will be more useful in the winter time (also monsoon season) because it's not as exposed to the outside.
Then, we traipsed back to the bus stop, and then back to the main Housing Office, where we waited longer to talk to the counselor, to finalize our choice. Also, to put in our request for furniture. I've explained to many people before we left, but because the Army really doesn't want to transport more stuff overseas than they have to, the base will lend us most of the furniture for the house. It's all army-issue stuff, so I have no idea what it will look like (I have slipcovers for the couch) but it will all be service-able. I requested almost everything, from beds to kitchen tables and chairs, only excepting floor and table lamps, that we don't use. We did ship our bed for the master bedroom, but it won't be here for a few more weeks (and I really hope it fits in that little bedroom...) The counselor said that the furniture will be moved in, and the house will be ready for inspection and for us to move in on Monday. Yay! I could turn cartwheels for joy, except that we're still in the hotel until then, and that would be too noisy for the people underneath us.
And my wonderful family, waiting around for me by the hotel's deli. Hi, family!