The Commissary

Staying at the hotel, then once moved into my quarters and not having time to get to the commissary I’ve been having to eat out every meal. This is getting old! Finally today after work I had time to get to the commissary to get some food. I was limited on how much I could get since I had to take a taxi to my quarters, but at least I got a start.

CommissaryI was surprised at how large and well-stocked the commissary is. I could find just about anything I was looking for, with the exception of turkey lunch meat, which I thought was odd. It could just be that they were out, but the only packaged lunch meat I found was roast beef and salami. Curious.

At any rate, I was able to get some food in the frig and cupboards so I can eat at home more.

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Not a lot, but enough for now.
Not a lot, but enough for now.
Got to have some junk food, right?
Got to have some junk food, right?
They sure make a big deal about their eggs!
They sure make a big deal about their eggs! (I know that the picture is upside down. Baffled).
Spam, yes! Interestingly, spam is much-loved here in Korea!
Spam, yes! Interestingly, spam is much-loved here in Korea!

Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea

I didn’t want to be stuck in the hotel or on base all weekend, so I just went a little off post on Saturday, but walked for about 4 hours. I saw just a small part of Seoul, Yongsan-Gu. It was really hot and frankly, the walk wore me out but it was nice to see this side of Seoul and experience the culture just a little bit. My one interaction was buying a bottle of water. I don’t know what he said, but gave him a large enough bill that I knew it was enough. I counted it up later and I think that bottle of water was just about a quarter!

Here are some pictures from my walk with descriptions below them (coming soon):

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I’m not sure what this drink is (the other side says “Chilsung Cider”) but it’s cheap, tasty and refreshing!
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A large Christian Church.
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A common site in the U.S., I didn’t expect so many 7-11s here but there is just about one every other block in one section of town where I walked!
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A padded sidewalk. This was a relief by this time on my walk!
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Another large Christian Church.
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You can barely see the roofs of these houses but they seem to be much more modest than the apartment buildings all around them. They are located between the tall city high-rises and the river (right beside the railroad tracks).
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A sample of the road signs. Most have Korean and English (thankfully!).
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A prominent recruiting sign. All Korean males are required to serve for 2 years in the military or (as I understand it) some other government job. Some, however, choose to make the military a career.
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The description of an historic site (which I just stumbled over on my walk) from the late Joseon period (1392-1910). It is the Yongyangbongjeojeong Pavilion, where King Jeongjo stopped to rest before crossing the Han River. The next few pictures are of this site, with a description of it in English.
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Looking up a street on the far side of the Hangang from Yongsan.
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Crossing under busy intersections through tunnels and passage ways.
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A really good map of the area but the only thing is English is “You are here”!
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The description of the Yongyangbongjeojeong Pavilion in English.
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Inside the Yongyangbongjeojeong Pavilion.
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Inside the Yongyangbongjeojeong Pavilion.
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Inside the Yongyangbongjeojeong Pavilion.
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The Yongyangbongjeojeong Pavilion.
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The Yongyangbongjeojeong Pavilion.
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The Yongyangbongjeojeong Pavilion.
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Yet another large Christian Church.
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A view of the city from the bridge crossing the Hangang (Han River).
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A view of the city from the bridge crossing the Hangang (Han River).
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A view of the city.
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A view of the city to include some of the traffic. This was mild.
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On an island in the Han River, connected by a bridge, there is space for public vegetable gardens (at least until construction begins on the planned development of the island. You can read more about the island here: http://english.seoul.go.kr/policy-information/urban-planning/urban-planning/2-introduction-to-nodeulseom/
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On an island in the Han River, connected by a bridge, there is space for public vegetable gardens (at least until construction begins on the planned development of the island. You can read more about the island here: http://english.seoul.go.kr/policy-information/urban-planning/urban-planning/2-introduction-to-nodeulseom/
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On an island in the Han River, connected by a bridge, there is space for public vegetable gardens (at least until construction begins on the planned development of the island. You can read more about the island here: http://english.seoul.go.kr/policy-information/urban-planning/urban-planning/2-introduction-to-nodeulseom/
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A Korean military monument (apparently honoring Korean “airborne” Soldiers) is on the island just in front of the public vegetable gardens.
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A Korean military monument (apparently honoring Korean “airborne” Soldiers) is on the island just in front of the public vegetable gardens.
Bike & Hike Trial on Han River
Nice hiking and biking trails along the Han River with places to stop for rest, refreshment and exercise.

Housing

After seeing the apartment where they wanted to put me and feeling so down and wanting even more to go home, I got to thinking about other possibilities and looked up AR 210-50, “Housing Management” where at 3-6, n. it states, “Unmarried chaplains and unaccompanied married chaplains will compete equally for AFH [Accompanied Family Housing] with sponsors within the appropriate grade category.” Could it be? Dare I hope?

This provision has been used primarily for Roman Catholic chaplains who seldom have family and shouldn’t be stuck in single-Soldier housing just because their faith demands they remain single, but the provision “unaccompanied married chaplains” opens it up to any chaplain, regardless of marital or religious status, to be eligible for family housing. There is a variety of reasons for this, to include the need for study space away from the commotion of the office, accommodations to meet with Soldiers when they can’t meet at the chaplain’s office, Bible Studies or “presence” social gatherings. Essentially, often the chaplain needs additional space for the performance of his duties much like a commander does, so this provision in Army regulations allows for it.

I went in to talk to the housing office about it and referenced the regulation but the representative I met with didn’t know anything about it so referred me to her supervisor. When I sat down with the supervisor, she looked at my cross (I was in uniform) and said, “Oh, you’re a chaplain! Let’s see what we can do.” She then gave me two duplexes to look at and told me to let her know if either would be acceptable.  I looked at the first and it was in a great location with an abundance of trees and seclusion. It seemed to also be a two-bedroom, with the 2nd bedroom used as an office. But it was older and worse for the wear but the size and location made it leaps and bounds better than the 1st apartment they showed me.

The 2nd duplex looked newly remodeled from the outside. When I got inside it looked as though nobody had stayed in it since it had been remodeled. It had all new appliances, cabinets, shelving and bathroom fixtures. I couldn’t believe it! It didn’t take me long to decide on this one. I rushed back to housing, afraid she would give it to someone else before I confirmed that I wanted it. We set an appointment for Monday for the inspection and to sign for it.

I feel much better!

Here are a few pictures of my new -better- home for the next year (a little askew, sorry…I like them straight and in order too):

Yongsan BOQ Outside
Here’s the outside of my duplex, my door is on the left. I sure don’t like those trash cans, though!
Yongsan BOQ Living Room
A view of the living room which is actually a “great room” with the kitchen on the other side. The TV stand is still empty, giving me more time to blog!

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Yongsan BOQ Laundry Room
I have a humungous laundry room (the other half isn’t in the picture!) with a large closet with shelving for storage…but I didn’t bring that much stuff!
Yongsan BOQ Kitchen
Here’s the other side of the “great room” showing the kitchen. There’s not a lot of cabinet space, but I really don’t need much.

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Yongsan BOQ Bedroom
Here’s one side of the giant walk-in closet in the bedroom…I don’t have that many clothes!
Yongsan BOQ Bathroom
The bathroom has a shower big enough for a crowd (though I don’t plan on sharing!).

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Yongsan BOQ Bedroom
Here’s the other side of the walk-in closet.
Yongsan BOQ Bedroom
The closet side of the bedroom.

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Yongsan BOQ Bedroom
A double bed, but it’s a hard one!
Yongsan BOQ Bedroom
There’s room in the bedroom for a bookcase and my desk, though efficiency experts say not to do that….