Sunday, December 14, 2008

No sleep.

I woke up Sunday at 4am to some strange sounds. The front door of our apartment was open and I could hear the wind. I got up and peeked in the living room, only to see a Korean man standing right there. Yes.

I screamed, terrorized, and Aaron woke up immediately and bolted out of the room, chasing the man out of our apartment. I stood there, frozen, while I could hear him scream and running down the street. The man got away, no one got hurt, he did not have time to steal anything (the laptop was on the coffee table), but we were left shaking for the rest of the night... and day... and next night.

I nervously dialed the police number (apparently it's not 911, but 112, as I found out), and simply gave what I knew of my address in broken Korean. Fortunately, 5 minutes later the police showed up and one of them spoke some English. Turns out our apartment has the cheapest door ever made and an even cheaper lock (easy to pick), so the burglar easily let himself in. I'm just happy I woke up to the noise and saw him before he could do any damage. The police also said that the burglar probably knew foreigners live there, as we have a reputation for having lots of money and valuables. Very creepy.

After just shaking in our bed for the rest of the longest night ever, we learned from our neighbor that our apartment was robbed twice last year, while another foreign teacher lived there. The man (probably the same we saw), entered the apartment and even watched the guy while he was sleeping.

I just don't feel safe at all anymore. The police said we live in a very safe neighborhood, that there's nothing to worry about. I know it's a safe area, I walk alone at 3am without ever being scared. In fact, I always felt much safer in Korea that back home, I felt like nothing bad could ever happen.

I don't think the intruder will be coming back anytime soon, Aaron caught a glimpse of his face as he made eye contact. Still, I don't know if I'll be able to sleep peacefully again. Every time I close my eyes I see the image of this man invading our space, it's awful. I also hate my school for giving us such an unsafe apartment, and for hiding the fact that it's been robbed a few times before. I hate them for not caring and for only telling us to make sure we double-lock our door. I feel like we're living in a cardboard box.

Moments like this I just want to hop on a plane back home and live in a safe place. I know it could have also happened back home, so I really don't blame it on Korea per se. Korea is not a dangerous country, the crime rate is rather low. I think the school is at fault for being so careless and stingy.

The good thing is, for the next few weeks I'm cat-sitting for a friend who's going back home for the Holidays- she lives in the nicest, coziest apartment in one of the best areas of Seoul, so I'll get to live there for a bit... and it's safe, no cardboard doors or anything like that. Should give me some time to recover from the break-in. I'm just thankful nothing bad happened, and that I wasn't alone.


Anonymous said...

What a violation this is. Thank God you and Aaron are okay, and that you have somewhere else to stay for a few weeks. I am so sorry this happened.

Emily said...

oh Vivian, i'm so sorry. this is one of the most haunting stories i've ever heard and i'm so glad that Aaron was there with you. i hope things continue to improve for you and that you begin to feel safe again in your place. xo

Vivian said...


I know it's going to get better with time, and that he probably won't come back.

And Des- you know how safe Seoul is, right? That's why it's so surprising. I feel fine leaving my handbag on the table while I go get coffee at Starbucks, people are usually so honest here.

seasonal lust said...

oh my gosh!! what a crazy event. im glad you're okay though and nothing was stolen. its so horrible when you get violated like that. its like your security blanket is totally gone...and it was all just a state of mind. hope all is well with you now. take care!!

Maki said...

OMG!! That is soooo scary!!

I'm so glad nothing terrible happened to you guys!

Scary scary...

Stay safe!

Nicole Marie said...

OH MY GOSH THATS SO SCARY!! I hope you're feeling better now and can get some sleep. Stuff like that can really shake you up.

he probably got scared when you saw him so he probably wont come back.