December 17, 2011

a perspective on purchases...

Living in an apartment that doesn't belong to you, surrounded by belongings that for the most part are loaned kind of takes its toll. The possession frenzied life I used to live is starkly contrasted to the one I currently live in Korea. I came here trying out an ideology that if what I own doesn't fit in my suitcase I shouldn't feel a need to possess it. I attempted this mental process a few years ago while working in Kuala Lumpur, although failed as I returned home with a suitcase full of bootleg DVD box sets.

It wasn't until I was preparing to leave for Korea did things start to click. A lot of my transformation was forced due to a lack of funds, so I ended up selling most of my larger (electronic) possessions. Although the bootleg DVD box sets (coupled with actual box sets and CDs) now reside on shelves in my parent’s garage. I’m not perfect, but I’m fairly sure most will be sold upon my return to Canada. Believe it or not as my time away from Canada has increased I feel that I own less and less stuff there. It's only when my parents remind me of the 10 (according to them) boxes of crap that are neighbors with Mom's Mustang, that I am reminded of my 'material-girl' life. It's hard to let go of a life ruled by belongings. I have even conceded a few times here, I bought a PS3 and randomly came into possession of mannequin legs (a short story that I don’t know any of the parts to).

My PS3 was bought out of a desire to escape (boys need toys?!), but it isn’t a purchase I plan on making mobile. I bought the system over a year ago with the full intention of selling it when I left Seoul. I don’t believe I’ll have such luck with the mannequin legs, I doubt there is a large market for them on craigslist (yes a Seoul chapter exists, and includes their famous personals section. (an aside to the aside, no, I haven’t listed in the personals section) ). For the most part I don’t view buying things the same anymore, because I’m aware that my existence in Seoul is temporary. I have come to think of an object’s resell qualities before purchasing.

My PS3 was my first such purchase, my iPhone another, but most recently I found myself scouring the electronics listings on craiglist looking at TVs. My apartment does come fully furnished with an early 2000s flat screen tube TV. The problem is that it sucks, and while I have this desire to live free from crap, and clutter, I’ve grown tired of watching movies from my laptop. I’ve lasted over a year and a half without a decent TV, but all of a sudden feel this desire to want one. I don’t know if this is a shadow of my former hoarding self, or just frustration from living with a tiny screen.

I have driven some of the people around me a little crazy I feel with questions trying to justify my reasons to purchase anything. My most satisfying one was a comparison to a bank account. Each possession as a form of forced savings because I can easily get back most of my money from the purchase when I leave. This bank account view has made me view my apartment as more of a catalogue from a bad retailer. For days I tossed back and forth, and with that idea in mind. The days I wanted to buy were fraught with nothing to purchase. The days I wavered were the ones an opportunity presented itself. After about a month and a computer hard drive failure (a large reason for my blog absence) I found a small TV that fit my desire, and available cash flow.

As most of you look at the pictures and chuckle, I look at some of yours posted on FB and for a moment sigh. Not because I judge you, but because I still have this material world mentality that creeps up on me like my fat child tendency does when I’m around baked goods. I crave, want, and desire some of the homes I see some friends coming into possession of. Yet, I’m aware of, and relish my ability to maintain mobility more than owning amazing homes,and value the flexibility it provides even if I haven't left Korea yet.


  1. Hey I thought I'd let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog! Please keep posting good stuff!

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