of urban legends and ahjussis

There’s a Korean urban legend that if you move homes on a rainy day, you’ll get rich.

Having just accepted a new job, it does seem rather coincidental, despite the fact that it has the same pay.

However I think it’s just just something someone said once to make moving in the rain a little bit better because it sucks in every way.

I have some friends who offered to help. I don’t have that much stuff, and while I’d never been to the new place, I knew it was just down the street.

But then Director informed me that there was someone coming at 9am to “move your things and you”. That this someone knew the address and the passcodes and everything was completely prepared I didn’t have to worry.

I was suspecting some strapping young lads in a U-Haul and a cart.

But no.

Of course not.

What did I get?

A tanned 50 year old wrinkled ahjussi who spoke no English in a rusted pick-up truck.

I let him in the building and then into my apartment. He looked around and went straight into my bathroom and proceeded to take a dump in my toilet.

at least I never have to use it again…

When he finally came out he sighed and went over to my bed.

And started taking it apart.

With my broken korean I stopped him from dismantling my bed


He disappeared for a while and returned with some plastic boxes where he put all my little bags that would have easily transported.

I’m standing there thinking…am I supposed to help you? Or do I just sit here and watch? It’s not like I can escape to another room and awkwardly pretend nothing is happening. The only other “room” is the bathroom and I didn’t ever want to go in there again.

So I sat on my bed and watched him put my boxes into bigger boxes.

But then–

He went to pick up these boxes and bring them down the stairs. And then out in the pouring rain and into his pick up truck.

I was legitimately worried for this guy. He’s at the age where he should be sitting on the couch sipping soju and wearing holey socks and watching a drama. Instead, he somehow hoisted the heaviest one on to a hunched back. He wasn’t some miracle man throwing these things over his shoulder like, he was old and fragile and obviously having a hard time.

It was an awkward situation. Do I help this old man carry something heavy, which is the polite thing to do? Or do I watch him suffer because helping him would cause him to lose face?

weird for everyone

I just ended up watching because the former option would mean I also had to carry things.

After a good 20 minutes of watching him heave my stuff down two flights of stairs and into a pickup truck, I took one last look around and said goodbye forever.

see you never

I squished in his two seater and watched him enter an address into a duck taped gps…only for it to not exist.

The address did not exist.

He asked me in Korean where the place was and I had to awkwardly shrug my shoulders because I had no idea. And even if I did–I couldn’t never say it in Korean.

what kind of person doesn’t know where they’re moving to?

I just pretended to not understand him at all–which wasn’t that hard–until he called someone. Turns out he’d entered it wrong. Crisis averted.

So he drove the wrong way down my one way alleyways and we finally got to the new building literally three blocks down.

He did know the code for the building thankfully. And I went into the entrance area and watched him unload my stuff. He said, “cayo” and then I realized I didn’t even know what apartment I was living in.

I had nowhere to go.

My only option was to call Director. It was either that or stand around awkwardly with this old smelly man until someone declared where I lived. It was more painful than stabbing my eyeball with a pencil. But I did it.

She said I was in apartment 202. Wait. That was my old apartment’s number.

are you sure?

Yes she was sure–of course she was sure. She knows everything.

Relieved to be out of ahjussi’s presence, I ran up to the second floor and entered the code she had given and pulled on Room 202…only for it to be locked. I hear a shrill “annyeonghaseyo?” from inside.

why do I still listen to anything she says

I ran away only for an ahjumma to open the door before I reached the stairs and had to do an awkward bow and “mianheyo”. Luckily she just laughed at me. And being laughed at is better than being yelled at at least.

I sat on the stair landing because I didn’t want to be on the second floor anymore, but I didn’t want to watch ahjussi take his last breaths as he struggled up the stairs with my box full of dishes. I called Director AGAIN which was more painful that stabbing myself in the eyeball with a pitchfork. She then called someone else and texted me a few minutes later.

It was 301.

aggressively squelches urge to say I told you so

Ahjussi had been done for a few minutes by this time and finally I just pretended like I knew exactly what I was doing this entire time and I took first suitcase up.

Thankfully no one was already inhabiting 301, so the code worked and I walked in.



Air conditioner!

Walled off kitchen and walled off laundry room!

(Slightly) bigger!


No bed

So that’s why he was trying to take it apart…

He aggressively squelched the urge to say I told you so and heaved everything upstairs.

Everything was up and he headed to the bathroom and I was silently NOOOOO only for him to grab a piece of toilet paper and wipe his forehead. Then he dropped the yellow crumpled piece on the floor and left.

I moved on a rainy day. And next time, I’m hiring a real moving service.

Because, hopefully, I’ll be rich enough to afford it.


3 responses to “of urban legends and ahjussis

  1. Pingback: of fortunes and the future | That One Time in Seoul·

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