1.1 Summer 2019

June 17, Asia Time

Asia time: the inconsistent, cumbersome, or nonlinear timeline in which personal events in Asia tend to progress; often contrary to western assumptions

I accepted months ago that I’d be living on Asia time so when things like not getting confirmed housing until two weeks before moving or not getting a straight answer from immigration happen, I just roll with it.

But today, oh today was a prime example of AT:

Last week I went to the school gym and showed my student ID, assuming that that was enough to use the facilities. The (extremely good looking) man behind the counter informed me that would not be enough and pointed me to a sign in Korean. I pretended to understand what he was talking about and then sat on a bench outside trying to translate an image of the poster he showed me. Luckily a buff bro came by asking if I was German and I made him come back to the gym with me to decode the sign.

In essence, the sign instructed me to deposit ₩20,000 into a bank account, get proof of class enrollment, and show receipts of both at the gym counter. But only on the 20th of each month.

So first I went to the office to get an enrollment certificate which cost ₩1000. Then I went looking for the bank, meandering the graduate building like a ghost only to realize that the map had directed me to an ATM.

But I couldn’t transfer any money into the listed account because I don’t actually have a Korean bank account.

So I trekked across campus looking for the actual bank with human people. I found it, but was very confused by rows of couches occupied by other young people. I tapped the girl closest to me on the shoulder to try to ask what I was supposed to do and she indicated I needed to pull a ticket. After several minutes figuring out which button I needed to push for a ticket, because of course there were multiple options and nary an English word in sight, that same girl interrupted to ask me if I was a 위대 student. She then directed me to a secret alcove where there was a single teller which was apparently for uni students?

Anyways, my new representation and the security guard (he was wearing a vest, I can only assume that or traffic director) spoke briefly. He turned to me and asked “어떤거에요?” Which is a phrase I keep hearing but haven’t bothered to translate. He gave me a slip and then told me in English what I needed to fill out. The Korean teller and I had a small struggle (like why doesn’t the name box just say 이름) but I was finally able to deposit the money.

I then took my hard earned receipt back to the gym. I figured, hey it’s Asia time and even though today’s not the 20th I’ll just try my luck.

Well friends, it worked and I now have a gym membership card. I’ll let you know if it actually functions when I scan it at the gym next. To be continued…

*this post is dedicated to 우리은행 친구, my masked defender, my unknown female helper, my savior. I went back into the regular bank to tap her on the shoulder again which I’m sure she thought at this point, what ELSE, but I just said “감사합니다” and disappeared into the shadows. Thanks girl, you’re the real MVP.

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