Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Korea: The Meltdown

It was bound to happen.  I knew it was just a matter of time.  But for Korea to take the dog route is a punch way below the belt.

I got home from work around 11:15 Monday night and there was a note under my door saying that the building does not allow pets.  Not only does it not allow pets, but that I have 4 days to remove him from the premises or else he will be “disposed of” by legal force. Maybe that’s a translation error, but that is NOT OK. It also stated that “any death of the animal due to legal disposing” was my responsibility.  Commencing meltdown…

I went across the hall and talked to Andrea (because I still have no phone to call anyone myself) and she let’s me use her phone to call our director.  He assured me that he would “come up with a solution.” I don’t really know what that means.  I also emailed my recruiter because she’s awesome and there is no language barrier there to get in the way. She can help in talking with the school and the building management on my behalf.  She replied early Tuesday and said she and her colleagues would see what they could do to help.  I’m starting to feel slightly better now. 

Let me make this clear for those that were not along for the ride the last few months - I asked a dozen different times whether or not bringing Charles would be a problem.  I was always reassured that it would not be and he was more than welcome.  I did my homework, and double and triple checked it, prior to coming here. I was reassured over and over again that it would not be a problem. Only now apparently it’s a problem. I only came here with two suitcases so I don’t mind if I have to move. I just want this resolved.


Tuesday around noon I decided it was time to stop wallowing and take Charles out for a quick walk. I always leave my apartment unlocked during potty walks because they are quick and Korea is super safe. I threw on my fleece, a pair of flip-flops, no make-up, and hair in a pony tail. I was not looking good boys and girls. I was going to walk the dog, I don’t need to look good. However, when we returned from our walk the door was locked.  That’s strange because the only lock on the door is a deadbolt and with the key inside the apartment it is physically impossible for that to happen.  But it did.

So now imagine, (as if I wasn’t stressed enough) being locked out of my apartment, with the animal that has now been banned from the building, in a country where I still don’t know the language. I literally had no idea who to go to for help. I have no phone and Andrea’s not home.  My school did the apartment contract so I don’t even know where the management office is.

After a basic process of elimination, I enter what I think is the management office. There was a girl there that spoke broken English so we were able to communicate.  But they are not able to help me she tells me. They are too busy right now she tells me.  I must go to where the contract was signed she tells me.  Yeah, let me get right on that. So I leave.

I went back up to my apartment just to try again.  I have been known to imagine these things before and then run myself in circles.  Nope, still locked.  Andrea still not home.  Ugh, so I go back downstairs and just pray.  Literally pray.

A foreigner walked through the lobby and I called out to him.  He tried to help but given that I don’t even have any phone numbers what could he do. Poor guy, I think I scared him.  I was a bit emotional.  He called his school for advice and they told me to just go to my school. 

Yes, that seems like a logical idea but with Korea being the most un-dog friendly country in the free world, I had my concerns about bringing my animal into the building. We make our way over, take the elevator up, and peak our little heads out to catch someone’s attention.  They call my director as he won’t be in for another 30 minutes and I explain to him what happened. He told me just to hold tight and he would be there in 30 minutes so we go outside to wait. Charles can’t stay inside.

30 minutes later we are still sitting outside.  In the cold. In my Florida girl flip-flops. One of the desk workers from school comes outside and tells me to come wait inside because it’s so cold.  I point to Charlie. Oh whoops, apparently she forgot that he would have to come inside with me. She ran into CitiBank and they agree to let me sit in the lobby with Charles until my director got there.

45 minutes of sitting in CitiBank this blonde haired, sad blue-eyed, no make-up mess gets more stares than you could imagine.  Well, they may have been staring at Charlie too.  I didn’t even care.  I just wanted to go back to my apartment.

When my director finally got there he had the spare key. We walked back to my building, he let me in and I gave him the letter threatening my dog’s existence.  He promises me that he will get me a phone this week and will take care of the dog situation. 

It’s times like these that I am so grateful that Charles is such an incredible animal. To those of you who have not had the privilege of meeting him, I know that sounds weird. But for those of you who have met my animal you know that he has an awareness far greater than most dogs.  He behaved so well the whole time.  He listens to me, he understands me when I talk to him.  And Thank God for that.


  1. Oh wow, I would've had a meltdown too! So glad you were able to get that resolved, but I bet that was the most uncomfortable you've felt the whole time you've been there! Keep us posted on "the dog situation." How frustrating. Just think, someday you'll be able to look back and laugh. =)

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. There should be a reaction checkbox for "horrible."