Saturday, February 6, 2010

New Apartment

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I've been busy/lazy/sick/uninspired this week. Here are the long awaited photos of my new apartment. I had to wait until it was more or less put together... and clean to take these photos. So, the kitchen and small room photos were taken last week on a clean day (today is not a clean day in those rooms) and the big room and the bathroom were taken today. I just went outside to take photos from the outside too. I'm glad no one was out there to see the weigookin in her pajamas...

Here is the outside of my house. There is three apartments, one on the 2nd floor, 3rd floor and 4th floor. My apartment is on the 3rd floor. This style apartment building is called a villa. They are more traditional style than modern apartments and officetels. The layout of the apartments is different, and the bathrooms are quite different. We'll get to that later.

Here's where I put my trash and recycling. As you can see, there are different colored bags depending on what you're disposing of. General trash is in white bags, food trash is in yellow bags (though, note, that particular yellow bag is not food waste) and recycling can be put out in any bag you wish, and it doesn't need to be sorted. Big apartment complexes usually have bins to put the trash, but, since the trash is collected often, it's not uncommon to see piles of trash like this. In my old complex, the only day without trash pickup was Sunday. Here it seems to be every few days, as the large trucks can't make it down this street. There's a little old man with a cart that comes and picks up the trash.

This is my street. As you can see, I live in a sea of these sort of villa style apartments. It's a bit of a labyrinth to get to my place. I've noticed that the main streets tend to be lined with modern apartment buildings, but once you go behind the layer of modernity, you come to neighborhoods like mine, filled with old style apartments, stores, and the like. My neighborhood specializes in kitchen equipment. Mostly industrial style kitchen equipment. So, I suppose if you owned a restaurant, you would come to my neighborhood to get yourself outfitted with all the stoves, chairs, dishes, etc. that you would need. A lot of stuff that they sell looks used, and they repair it to sell it again. But that's just my guess.

Here is my kitchen. Not a bad size. The stove did not actually come with the apartment, nor did the fridge. Here you need to provide your own. We bought ours off the previous tenant, so we didn't need to move them. That was nice. The stove has three burners and a small oven big enough to grill a fish or maybe some bread. I haven't tried that feature yet. The burners are finicky. They work, but only after several tries. We also have a rice cooker, which might be my favorite thing about the new apartment, but we keep that in the bedroom, for some strange reason...

Here is the smaller of our two rooms. We call it our dressing room, since we mostly only keep clothes in here. You can kind of think of it as a giant walk in closet/ garage. It should be every girl's dream to have this much space for clothes storage, but honestly, I got rid of 3/4 of my clothes before I left Korea the first time. It's still big enough for someone to sleep on the floor if someone wants to spend the night, though. And there will be even more space if we can manage to sell that table in the corner that's not visible in this photo.

Here is one view of my big room. We use it as a bedroom/ living room/ dining room. No, we don't have a couch, but honestly, I'm quite happy sitting on the floor, since the floor is the warmest part of the house. I always thought I belonged in Asia, even back when I lived in Vermont. I used to make my supper, and sit on the floor using the coffee table as a dinner table and using the couch to support my back as I sat on the floor to eat there. Now I have this nifty floor table which we use as a desk/ eating area. We do need a tablecloth badly, though. The white table is getting stained from food. I don't think this was really meant to be used as a dining table because no matter how hard I scrub the table, the stains don't come off.

What do you think of my comforter set? We bought it on Gmarket (online Korean shopping site, similar to amazon). I was getting frustrated and told the boyfriend to pick out the colors... and this is what I got. It's ok though, it's better than what we were using before this. And the quality seems ok even though we didn't spend too much money.

Here's a second view of the big room. You can see our ginormous TV (29"), it's the biggest TV I've ever been in possession of. Our rice cooker is dwarfed in the corner by it's enormity. As is the TV stand, for that matter. I'm not a big TV watcher, so this is really not necessary for my life. On the up side, we decided not to get cable, but if you plug the cable cord into the TV, you can still get a few channels here, including AFN (American Forces Network) so, theoretically, if I wanted to watch TV, I could watch American programs. I did have fun watching Misuda, which is a program that features foreigners (generally young "beautiful" women) and they talk about cultural differences and occasionally poke fun at their language skills. I'm quite jealous of these people who speak Korean so well... some day I hope to get that good.

Finally, let me show you my bathroom.

You'll note that the big difference here between my bathroom and a western bathroom is the shower situation. I am fortunate enough that my shower is on this wall, opposite the sink. Many bathrooms in this style have the shower actually attached to the sink, which is awkward when you go to wash your hands and forget that the shower is on and get a dousing in your clothes. But, here the shower is located in the middle of the bathroom, the water flows wherever it wants and hopefully makes it into the drain in the middle of the floor. The bathroom is always in some state of wetness. In the morning, after a shower, it's covered in water. When i come home, there are some puddles still left here and there where it hasn't dried. I must have scrubbed off and inch of mold when I moved in, and I'm starting to think it's time to start scrubbing again... I'm kind of lazy about cleaning...

I was sick of having everything soaking wet when I got out of the shower, so I developed a system for keeping things relatively dry. It's nice when your toilet paper isn't soaked, and when your trash can isn't full of water, particularly.

One other thing I should mention about the bathroom is the lack of heating. Not only is it not heated in there, but it faces two outside walls. I sealed up the window, thinking the cold was coming through there, but, while that helped the draft a little bit, facing two, uninsulated outside walls, it might as well be the same temperature as outside. We constantly face the situation of leaving the door open so the water can dry and the bathroom can warm up. Or face the terrible drafts from the bathroom throughout the rest of the house when you leave the door open. Generally, I just try to leave it open and turn down the head when I leave my house for the day.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my tour. We still have some rearranging of furniture to do, and we desperately need a vacuum because the dust bunny situation is getting out of control. That should be coming in the mail today. I'd also like a nightstand and maybe a coat rack to put near the door. Otherwise, the apartment is ready to go.

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