Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Apartment in Seoul

Okay, time for an update! After leaving the orientation, I was taken to my apartment. Aside from a roach and some caked on food in the microwave, my new home is quite impressive. I have a queen-sized bed, a stove, a fridge, couch, plenty of wardrobe space and even a rice cooker. There's a washer and drying rack too. Did I mention the TV? ... Of course, only 2-3 channels are available in English.

I did have to purchase a comforter and mattress cover. I had brought two sheets with me, as well as a pillow and pillow case. Somehow I assumed I would be given bedding, as most people do. Lesson learned... don't assume. Pack a mattress cover at least... a cheap one can be hard to find. I did eventually find one at E-mart (like a Walmart) for 19 000 won (approx. $19 US). The comforter was 29 800 won (approx. $30 US). Lots of comforters, including Korean style, were 90 000 won (approx. $90 US). It pays to look around for deals.

Tips for the Korean apartment:

1) To get hot water, you must turn the water heater on. However, turn the heater off right after you shower to avoid astronomical bills... I have been warned by the landlord that foreigners often face this issue. So, heater on, shower, heater off!

2) You need to purchase bags for garbage and food waste at your local grocery store. Keep in mind that these bags can only be used in your district, so chances are that you will not be able to share bags with friends (unless they live close to you).  

3) Roach spray is your friend. You may need it when you least expect it. The roach I encountered was small (thank goodness!). I'm glad I have yet to find a Madagascar hissing cockroach in my bathroom or kitchen... or eek, around the bed. So far so good :)

4) The Costcos in Seoul are huge-- several stories tall. Bring a friend to keep your sanity while combating the crowds. If you're missing oatmeal or your big boxes of cereal, Costco is worth a visit.

5) Itaewon (aka the foreigner pitstop) is mega expensive. Don't eat Korean food here unless you're willing to pay an arm and a leg for it. Make your way to Hweywa instead, where university students are able to find plenty of food options that don't burn a hole in your wallet.

Note for people leaving their homes in Korea and landlords: It would be nice to toss the old toilet brushes and sponges before the new tenants move in. Just saying...

My Kitchen in Seoul (no oven)

Bed corner of the apartment

There's a TV in front of my bed.

My bathroom in Seoul (shower head is connected to the sink)

Washing machine and drying rack (a balcony, too, but the doors can be hard to close)