The humidity in my apartment is finally below 50%. An appliance store down the street was having a sale, and so I walked there Saturday and used my smartphone to communicate the fact that I needed a dehumidifier. They had three models in stock. All were the same price, the most expensive model having been marked down to 499,000 won. I got two of them; one for my bedroom, the other for my living room space. I can control them remotely with my phone. They each removed 3 to 4 cups of water from the air within an hour. This should most definitely reduce the amount of mold I have to deal with. Of course, it's a quite the costly method! Still, I am already breathing easier, and I should be able to get some of my money back by selling the machines to other people in damp dwellings when I leave.
What was funny was that the young suit-clad man who helped me kept politely referring to me as "omoni" (mother) throughout the transaction and later, when he helped me hail a taxi to take me and my two heavy boxes the half mile home. He and some other staff members also got me set up with a conglomerate point card--multiple repetitions of my name, birth date, and telephone number ensued until the system finally found an iteration it would accept. I haven't any secrets. I did send Customer Service a nice note telling them how much I appreciated his help – I don't know that any American salesperson that would have been as patient and cheerful as he was given my limited understanding of his language.
By and large (the exception being a few recalcitrant taxi drivers--but taxi drivers are their own breed internationally...I have had taxi drivers in the US probe subjects that are conventionally taboo), the Koreans hereabouts have been extremely nice to me--not just when I am spending vast sums on appliances! I don't know that Americans would take the time to assist people who don't speak English the way that local folks have been willing to help a non-Korean speaker like me. The girl at the bank may shudder every time she spots me in the waiting area, but she has been the soul of cordiality.
My pedometer says I have taken 31 steps today. I did not go to church. I have not gone to school to turn in my grades. I have not done anything. I have just rested. I ache. I have spent hours carefully dictating my student evaluations into my phone, so that will be ready to go out early tomorrow morning. I plan to go to school early, get there before anybody else, put in the grades, and be done with it. I really hope I feel better this week. We're supposed to have Wednesday off--it is a federal holiday recognizing resistance to Japanese occupation--and then my March schedule starts. I have 2 new classes: a group of first-graders who are just learning the alphabet, and a class of fourth-graders that Waldo told me are wild.
One day at a time!