7 ways a Korean Apartment is different to an Irish one.

Disclaimer: This isn’t the same for all apartments. Some are fancy but some are like the ones I describe.

1. Door Keys; “What does your door key look like?” they said. “I don’t have a key” I said. Instead I have a key pad with a security code.

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2. Shoe Area: You must take off your shoes before entering a Korean home.  It’s just how it is.

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3. Radiators; What radiators? We only have underfloor heating in Korea. I didn’t want to take a picture of the floor so I took a picture of the heating thing.

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4. The washing machines. Washing machines here are so big. And randomly you put the clothes in from the top.

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5. The wardrobe; Some people actually have wardrobes to be fair. But I don’t (sob sob). I have a rail where I just hang my clothes. Same same but different.

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6. The oven. A dissapointing one here. There are no ovens in smaller apartments in Korea. I have a convention oven.

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7. The shower: The shower is usually not seperated from the sink. It’s all in one. Just stand there and take a shower.

wpid-20140223_184942.jpgAdded bonus; The super fancy toilet seat that came with my apartment. Actually, I don’t know any other foreigner with the fancy toilet seat. It’s super fancy, heated, sprays wind and water and you can spend many happy hours on a long sitting, dropping the matter playing around with the seat.

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Dearest mother……

Dearest mother,

I received your letter yesterday and would like to respond to your numerous questions. I feel like maybe you have the wrong impression of this country altogether. We should clear this up before you visit otherwise you’ll be very disappointed.

Despite what you read, South Korea is a first world country so yes, we have clean, running water. It also comes in still and sparkling should you prefer to buy some in the shop. We use a monetary system to acquire our items so best bring some along. No, you can’t get it in Ireland, you’ll just have to wait until you get here.  I know you’re a fussy eater, but seriously, there’s no need to bring your own food, we can buy it here.  Times are tough, but not that tough.  We do have Rice Krispies but I’m not sure if they’re called Rice Krispies because I don’t like eating cardboard. I know I usually write letters to you but honestly we do have internet and phones.

You expressed fear about your Western fashion standing out.  Let’s have a little chat about this. Your fashion standing out should be the least of your worries. When people stare, it won’t be because you’re wearing the latest Dunnes fashion, it’ll be because you’re( sit down for this one) FOREIGN!  Since we have free choice as to what we wear here, chances are that they’ll be at least 5,000,000 people in Korea wearing the same t-shirt/shorts combo as you. And should you still be fearful after you’ve arrived, you can always buy your clothes from any of the 200,000,000,000 clothes stores there are here.

That’s if people even manage to see something other than your head.  There are a lot more people here than in Ireland. I mean a LOT more. Koreans are everywhere. So although I live in the “country” ,I really meant that it was more country that downtown Seoul. There are still a lot of people in Paju. You should prepare yourself for this. There’s no such thing as going out to feed the sheep in the morning. In fact, you would be hard set to find a sheep in my part of Paju so best of luck if you’re trying to feed them.

I’m sorry to have to tell you that you’ll be staying in a space a lot smaller than our house in Ireland. It may only have 2 rooms but it’s what I call “home” so it’ll have to do. If you see a house in Korea, you should take a picture, most people live in apartments.

About the safety thing. Mum, this may be Asia but apart from being half way round the world, it’s not all that different from Ireland. Just do what you do in Ireland and don’t do what you wouldn’t do in Ireland and you’ll be set.  But this image you have of thieves and gangsters roaming the streets is so far from the line, that the line is now just a dot.

Mother, mother, mother, have many times have I told you that there is no reason to fear our pesky friends up North? What would they want with you? Nothing, that’s what. If you were planning an emergency evacuation plan, don’t. You’ll only be here for two weeks and yes, we will go to the DMZ because why wouldn’t we? We’ll have a whale of a time, I tell you.

Anyway, pack well and remember that 20kgs is what I got to start an entire life out here so surely you can pack for 2 weeks and be under the limit. Don’t forget the tea bags and treats.

Love,

Shauna

p.s. Since we have cars and petrol here and roads that work, I’ll pick you up from the airport.