I am sitting, writing this first post from my studio in South Korea, in the midst of a thunderstorm. It’s monsoon season here and today it definitely feels it. Surprisingly it has rained very little since I arrived a little over a week ago. That being said, the humidity is punishing. Having lived in Southern California the bulk of my life, I can handle triple digit temperatures in dry heat, but 85 degrees here, with almost 100% humidity on some days, is a new kind of heat. On the plus side, the humidity has been great for my skin! I secretly think it’s why Koreans have nice skin and are thinner. Just digesting food makes me sweat in this weather plus I never feel hungry. I’ve lost 5 pounds in just the last week! Thankfully my studio comes with a wall air-conditioner.
In Korea, the unit that I am living in is called an officetel. Very small and efficient. It’s not much, but in Korea space is precious. Most singles live in them and, true to it’s name, some people do run small businesses from them (such as the woman who tattoos makeup down the hall…regulated? probably not).
The first four floors are all businesses like restaurants, beauty parlors, dentists, dermatologists, etc. I probably would never have to leave my building if I didn’t want to. The elevators are a bit quirky. There are two of them but one only goes to odd floors and the other only goes to even floors. So, in order to visit my coworker who lives in the same building but on the 6th floor, I would have to go all the way down to the 1st floor and then enter the even elevator to get to the 6th floor. And vice versa to get back to my room since I live on an odd floor. Theoretically it keeps you from waiting too long or going to unnecessary floors but, in reality, the elevator takes forever regardless. I don’t really mind since elevators are kind of great for people watching. I have never seen the same person on the elevator yet!
My room happens to be on the 11th floor.
This is the entrance. To the right, as you enter, is the bathroom.
Loft, which I am only using for storage. It’s too hot up there in the summer and since Koreans use ondol (floor) heating, it makes more sense to sleep on the floor downstairs. Plus, it was made for tiny people. I can barely sit without hitting my head on the ceiling, let alone stand. And that spiky thing is the light fixture.
A typical apartment kitchen in Korea. 2 burner stovetop, sink, fridge/freezer and washing machine for laundry. They usually don’t come with oven, microwave, dishwasher, or drying machine. It’s perfect for someone living alone.
This is my living area. I moved the bed downstairs. I have a huge window which is great.
And this is the view from said window. Not exactly pretty but the bonus is that since I am in a little cove of the U shaped building, I am protected from the harsher weather like rain and snow, so I can keep my windows open if I want.
I am located right in downtown Guri which means I am close to the subway, major bus stop and across the street from the Guri Sijang which is a traditional Korean market. It’s similar to the farmers market except it is open everyday and they sell EVERYTHING. There are actual shops as well as produce stands, the infamous love motels and even a small gym. I’ll post pictures of that later.
If I ever miss America all I have to do is go to the Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins or McDonald’s that are all located less than a block from me. Just, wow.
So far things have gone smoothly, everyone has been helpful and my first week at work is done! Here’s to the next week!