So this is a late entry by far. I’ve written a post on my apartment but for a while, I’ve held onto old footage of the day I arrived at my apartment in Daegu.
The footage nagged at me throughout the years. In some ways, it even haunted.
Each time I’d look through my archived photos and videos, I’d see a folder labeled, “KR Apt Tour” and I’d feel a nip of dread. I knew they’d be revived some day. A story was waiting to be told.
But there they were buried. I avoided looking at them, for one reason… when I shot them, it wasn’t a fond memory.
The footage of my Korean apartment tour was filmed on the second day I was there. I didn’t even spend the night there because I felt utterly lost, abandoned and lonely, from the way my co-teacher just left me with the truth serum that she didn’t want this responsibility.. It was the first time in my life I felt truly unwelcome and unwanted.
Fortunately, going through the video brought back a lot of fond memories of my apartment. I really grew to love it there as well as, my neighborhood. It also brought back surprises I hadn’t remembered, like some of the household items I foresaw struggle with (and continued to struggle with) and stuff I bought to furnish my stay.
Thank goodness for giving people and places… second chances… and thirds…and…
As an expat, you need to be willing to do that. You need to be flexible and give situations the benefit of the doubt that you’ll adapt.
When you can’t read your own household appliances
When moving abroad and settling into your new apartment space, one of the biggest mental tricks is establishing comfort with your environment. It can feel exciting, but not easy. It’s the first time in a long time, where you may feel helpless and vulnerable. You’ll feel dumbfounded, idiotic, want to scream or whimper… You’ll wish everything came with an instruction manual in English. Understanding how to operate your new Korean apartment is key and often, it can come with tricks that don’t always speak a universal language.
Interesting Korean apartment tics:
Residential Garbage Bags
A a small garbage pail strictly for perishable items (and which you need to pay the garbage collector to take out)
(cough) The Dryer
Bathroom Shower/Sink operation (more on it here)
See my video:
Heater (not shown in video but on my written post)
Creating home in your Korean apartment
On the second day, I hitched a ride with a fellow EPIKer and his co-teacher to shop for household items at E-Mart, my favorite household megastore comparable to K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Targets in the U.S. Things felt a shade better, knowing I had a little help in making my apartment feel more like home.
My apartment came with a lot of used items passed down from the previous English teacher, so my shopping felt minimal. No dishware or silverware, but mostly the basics of bedding, cleaning supplies and food appliances I’d need.