Here I am, living in Korea. Yes, that’s right, a miracle happened and I PCSed to Korea to live with Jim, in our very first apartment.
So far, I love it. Mainly because Jim is here, but also because I finally have my first home with him, even if it is 7,000 miles away from our family and friends. We will make new friends, and more importantly, we have each other, we are each other’s family.
We live about 1 mile from post in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment. We have a small kitchen, a laundry room, and tons of closet space. We have furniture that came with the apartment and also furniture that was loaned to us by the Army that we are able to use until we leave in November 2013. It sounds far away, but it really isn’t. I will be going back to the states in August for three weddings and then after that we will only be here for little over a year. I feel very lucky to be able to experience a new culture with Jim and embrace a new lifestyle in Korea.
A few things that I have already noticed which are extremely different in Korea are:
1) In our apartment we have to turn on (and off) the hot water. There is a button on our thermostat that allows us to do this. This is Korea’s way of conserving heat. We also turn on and off our gas for the stove.
2) Speaking of heat, heat rises from our hardwood floors and does not come out of vents. Our whole apartment has hardwood floors, which means a lot of sweeping must be done!
3) Since Koreans do not pay anyone to pick up their trash, they are expected to buy special (expensive) trash bags for their trash. We have to put all of our leftover food in one bag, plastics in another, cans in another, boxes in another, glass in another, paper in another, and all “other” trash in a big white bag. (What is even left??) This requires a little more effort on our part(a lot actually,) but they do pick up trash Monday-Friday as long as you bring it outside between 8pm-4am.
4) When you hand over something to a Korean (i.e Won [money]) you use both hands, as a sign of respect.
5) People yield to cars, cars do not yield to people.
6) Couples dress alike, on purpose. For example, I saw a couple with matching shoes and laces on the bus the other day. Friends also dress alike and hold hands, even men do this, especially the elders.
I’m sure I will find out more differences as the days go by, but for now, I am off to make my first pot of homemade gravy, (that’s red sauce for you non-Italians out there!)