I still don’t feel comfortable talking on camera, so instead of an apartment tour video I’m sticking to blog posts!
I have been living in my apartment for almost 3 weeks. At first I really hated my apartment. It’s really small for a Korean apartment, it smelled like cat food and a litter box, it felt really small, really lonely, really claustrophobic, and just really not mine.
To enter my building we have a security code that we need to enter outside the door for it to open. To enter my apartment there is no key either! No need to worry about losing (or breaking! *cough Victoria*) your key! I punch in the code and the door unlocks.
When you enter my apartment you are in the shoe removal room/kitchen. In Korea, when you enter a house or apartment you immediately take off your shoes and change into house slippers. You cannot wear your shoes around the house/apartment. So, the entrance area of every house/apartment has an area for removing and storing shoes. Then, to enter the main area there is usually a step up with a door.
As in a lot of Korean one-room apartments, the washing machine is located underneath a single burner. However, even for Korean standards, this kitchen is really small. There is usually a bit more cabinet storage. In the photo I was standing against the main door of my apartment. To my right is a floor to ceiling shoe cabinet with lots of shelves. I do not have that many shoes so I tried to use this cabinet as additional storage for kitchen related things. Unfortunately, the shelves are angled and I am unable to alter them 😦
As you can see, the previous teacher left me utensils and also plates, bowls, cups, a pan, and a pot…..but I threw them into the cabinet above the stove (since I didn’t plan on using that one since it is mostly taken up by the exhaust fan). I will be throwing them out eventually. I’m weird about cooking and food related things. They need to be new and I need to know how they’ve been cleaned and used.
To the left of where I am standing to take this photo is a door to the main part of my apartment.
I was really disappointed that I do not have a balcony. Most Korean apartments have enclosed balconies and that is where the washer is usually located and you hang dry your clothes. These also let a lot more light and air into the apartments, making them feel a little larger. My window is pretty large, but there’s this really annoying fence attached to the outside of it. The purpose of it is to give me privacy while still allowing light into the apartment, but I hate it. I don’t like not being able to see out my window.
So when you enter my room immediately in front is a low cabinet with the TV on top. Attached to that is my desk, and attached to that is my floor to ceiling wardrobe with tons of room for clothes. The previous teacher left me plenty of hangers, a desk chair, a microwave, a wifi router, and also a shelf unit.
Looking back into the kitchen you can see the shoe cabinet I was talking about. Next to the door into the main room is the light switches for the main room, kitchen, and bathroom. Next to that is my hot water/heat controller. Next to that is my phone. If someone visits my apartment, they can call me from outside and I can talk to them and decide if I want to buzz them into the building or not. Next to the shelf unit is the door to my bathroom.
I don’t have a before-photo of my bathroom, so you’ll have to wait to see it in the after-photo section of this post. The bathroom is a Korean style wet bathroom. This means there is no shower. Attached to the sink faucet is a shower head. On the faucet is a control to redirect the water back and forth between the shower head and the faucet. Of course there is a toilet, also a medicine cabinet, and mirror.
Next to the bathroom door is my fridge. I’m spoiled with this full sized fridge! I feel guilty because I’m not even taking advantage of it. >.<
Next to the fridge is my bed. It is called a single here, but I feel like it is slightly wider than my twin bed back home. The mattress is…..possibly not even a mattress. Possibly a box spring. Koreans love really hard beds. I actually don’t mind how hard the bed is. I prefer a firmer mattress. I do need to buy a little bit of a mattress topper with some cushion because its like sleeping on the hard floor and I’ve woken up with a leg or arm asleep way too many times.
The previous teacher didn’t leave me any bedding, which I was really happy about because I wouldn’t have wanted to use it anyways. Immediately after moving in, my coteacher and I went to a nearby department store and bought everything I would need for my bed.
Besides the lingering cat smell and the leaking problems, I’ve started to like my apartment. Decorating and buying my own things for it really helped this room (let’s face it, that’s all it really is!) feel like my home! 😀
My kitchen hasn’t changed too much. I got rid of the previous teacher’s kitchen ware and bought all my own.
I really don’t have a lot of things in my kitchen or fridge. If you read my previous post you know that I’ve been having issues with my apartment and there is a chance that I may need to move. Because of that I don’t want to buy a lot of things to just move them.
My shoe closet is also my extra bag storage. You have to pay for bags here. It’s not much, about 20cents. I keep them and re-use them. Next to the cabinet is my recycling: paper, misc plastic, plastic bottles. I know I need to get rid of it all, but I left it to show you what my kitchen normally looks like!
I have hung my giant Korean flag on the door into my main room. On the back of the door, my EPIK canvas bag hangs on the door handle and acts as my laundry bag. You can also kind of see that I have added sticky-notes to my light switches to label them.
The shelving unit holds miscellaneous things. On the top I have my baseball cap, Minnie ears, and toilet paper which acts as tissue. Below that is a cubby where I keep nail polish, deodorant, make up, and wrinkle releaser. In the middle is my blow dryer, hair straightener, and comb. On the bottom left is my steamer and some cosmetic bags that I used to organize things when I pack. On the bottom left are all my cleaning supplies: “clorox” wipes, floor wipes (I need a vacuum, but again I’m waiting to buy that until I move or know I am staying here), cleaning rag, and room spray (for the still lingering litter box smell in my kitchen).
The second door leads to my wet-bathroom. As you can see, you step down into the bathroom and put on shower shoes. There is a drain in the middle of the floor. Everything gets wet when you shower. The toilet paper (not pictured) has a cover over it so that stays dry. There is no fan, but there is a small window that I open when I shower (don’t worry, it has another fence-type thing on the outside so no one can see in).
I actually never leave my shower head up on the wall, I leave it resting on the sink like in the photo below. Why? Because I can’t tell you how many times I almost showered my entire clothed self because I forgot to switch the water to the faucet from the shower head!
I bought this little shelf at Daiso for 2,000won ($2). The St.Ives and Aveeno face washes are from home, but the Method body wash and Head & Shoulders shampoo/conditioner are from here. I think the body wash was 6,000won ($6). The shampoo and conditioner were 1+1 (buy one get one free) for 13,000won ($13), they are giant so I think that was a pretty great deal! On the bottom I have my deep conditioner I brought from home and also some travel sized bottles.
My medicine cabinet has mostly extras of things that I wanted to bring from America. You CAN find deodorant in Korea, it is just really expensive and a little tricky to find depending on where in the country you live. I also brought a year supply of my contacts. I brought some medicine because when I was in Korea back in 2010, I got really sick once and just really wanted some American medicine that I knew what it was. There is also the biggest bag of tampons you will ever see! Again, you CAN find tampons in Korea, but only the smaller sizes.
Behind the door is my towel rack with, of course, my towel and my loofa.
Leaving the bathroom now! My fridge top has become storage for my giant bag of toilet paper that I think will last me my entire year year. Possibly more! I also keep my cereal and peanut butter up there because I eat those things the most. There is also a giant bag of mini Twix. They aren’t mine, I actually don’t like how Twix taste in Korea. I bought these yesterday at the grocery store to bring to school and give as rewards to my students. I found out this week from my classes that Twix are the most popular candy with them. This fridge is also photo area #1. Next to my fridge are my suite-cases because it’s the only place they fit! The medium size is inside the large one. I kept the smallest one out because I will use that a lot while I am here to travel. On the other side of the fridge against the wall (and not visible in the photos) is where I keep my clothes drying rack folded up.
What’s in my freezer? Bread and butter. Haha! There isn’t even ice in the ice tray.
The fridge is a little more active. Eggs, jelly, bread, yogurt. I also always have at least one giant bottle of water. It depends on who you ask, but a lot of people say you can’t drink the tap water in Korea. Some people say you can. I just go with “you can’t”. These giant bottles usually cost less than 1,000won ($1) if you get the ones that are 2+1 (but two get one free).
Over my bed are the two posters my brother gave me for my birthday before I left 😀 Love them!
Nothing really happening on this wall. The windows are frosted, but if I stay here I think I will eventually buy a curtain to close at night when I’m changing. There are people across the street that are above me and could possibly see in.
My wardrobe is huge. On the top I hang my long-sleeved tops that I’m not wearing really often right now because it is a little bit of a stretch for me to reach them. On the shelf below is my vacuum sealed bag of winter clothes. I pulled a few things out, but the majority of it is all still in there because I just don’t need it yet. The bottom rack has all the short-sleeved tops. The top shelf is underwear, socks, bras, and tanktops. I bought the baskets at Daiso for like 1,000 or 2,000won each ($1 or $2). Middle shelf is pajamas and work out/hiking clothes. Bottom shelf is jeans, shorts, and a sweatshirt.
My wardrobe is photo area #2. Also an American flag is up there representing! On my desk I have my Korean books and my EPIK Orientation manual, also a workout DVD that I brought from home. The jewelry box I made during orientation has all my necklaces in it. I bought the blue placemat to add some more color to the room, and also catch my mess as I eat. The top desk drawer has all my technology related wires and adapters, also pens, scissors, sticky notes, etc. The middle drawer is the medicines that are open, vitamins, etc. The bottom drawer is a mess of papers from orientation and my school that I need to organize eventually.
I moved the microwave to the small cabinet and put my TV on top. Don’t worry, I’m not using the microwave; not yet at least. I might eventually move it on top of the fridge.Next to the TV is a candle I brought from home; need to buy a lighter! In front of the microwave is a finished and clean jelly car that has become my change jar. In the small cabinet I keep my purses and backpack.
My jean jacket has been staying on my desk chair because I wear it pretty much every day now. It’s already pretty cold here, especially at night.
OK! There ya go! That’s my apartment tour!