The apartments are very small, definitely meant for a single person. Also, there is no formal lease, thus no cleaning requirements when moving out. Many of the girls walked into rooms of terror. The previous tenant was a smoker, so the walls are yellowed and everything is grimy. You don't want to unpack until it's cleaned, but you realize you have two full days of cleaning before it's manageable. Or you walk in and the previous tenant just started packing. Awkward... I'll just leave my bags right here and come back in a few hours? It's amazing the filth and clutter that accumulates over a year. Mannequin legs? Check. Forty-two pizza boxes? Yep. Fake nails and used band-aids in the refrigerator? Why not.
Mr. Lee, who handles all administrative duties, was very excited to tell Kyle and me that he managed to put us in apartments next door to one another. The school just bought the #607 apartment, so it still needed some furnishings. Mr. Lee let us into my room. There were two desks. That is all. No bed, chairs, couches, tables, appliances. Just one desk with legs and one without, on the floor. It has a chair (also without legs) set up in front of it. I know Koreans tend to dine on the floor, but really?
Mr. Lee insisted I'd have a bed by that evening and the rest would come soon. The room was clean; a layer of dust formed due to vacancy, but there was really nothing to complain about. Mr. Lee then opened Kyle's apartment, and it appeared no one moved out. There were decorations hanging, a few articles of clothing on the drying rack, books on the bookshelves (thank GOD, Kyle says), and dirty sheets on the bed. Everything is pink, by the way- rugs, towels, laundry baskets, trash cans, butterfly stickers all over the bathroom. Mr. Lee said, "Okay, I figure out and you come later. You put stuff in Shelly Teacher's room."
After we spend a few hours at school, we return to Kyle's emptier room and my fuller room. At least I have a bed! We spend the next day scrubbing and unpacking. Kyle's room was decked out with cookware and cleaning supplies, so we survived there the majority of the time. We are so thankful our room issues cleared up within hours, and we were able to settle in easily. Here are some photos of our two rooms:
|Kyle's pink and butterflied bathroom|
|Kyle's kitchen (more pink!)|
|My nice plain bathroom|
|My kitchen doubles as the laundry room|
|It never gets dark here|
A few interesting bits about Korean living:
- The rooms are heated via water pipes beneath the floor. Heat rises to heat the whole room.
- Most Korean abodes do not have ovens, only stove tops. No baking for a year :(
- Instead of peepholes, we have cameras at our front doors and video screens in our rooms to see who's knocking.
- Trash must be separated into recycling piles (paper, plastic, glass, etc), compost, and regular trash and put in different bins outside. Efficient, but a pain in the ass.
- You must remove your shoes before entering a home. Most homes provide slippers to wear while in the house.
- The mailboxes are not locked, and most companies don't waste paper on an envelope. You just receive bills on a postcard slip.
- There are no locks/keys to our apartments, just digital keypads. It's so nice never having to remember a key.
Some people are STILL cleaning their apartments... I don't know how, but we both ended up with good, clean rooms. Mine was empty, so I got all new furniture. No musty used mattresses or couches. We look forward to turning them into home for the next year!