Sunday, January 3, 2010

Catie: Our new old house.

Since, for so long, we didn't expect to be staying here, we did some improving, but not all that much.  We cleaned really well and got a few small things to make stuff better, but no real furniture or anything very permanent.

However, since we've decided to stay here, we've been doing quite a bit and this place now feels better than ever.

I think I talked about it a long time ago, I don't remember, but we didn't have anything set up to take "Western" showers.  Korean shower heads are, mainly, these white, plastic, only slightly curved things.  So, although most bathrooms do have a little wall socket thing that you can put your shower head in, the thing is almost flat, so all you're doing when you turn the water on is spraying the opposite wall.

I'll take a picture to better explain once I've cleaned the house.

Really, I should just clean the house and take a picture and hope that everyone assumes our house is always so beautiful.

So, anyway, we got this awesome suction cuppy thing.

Everything that goes in a bathroom in Korea incorporates a suction cup somehow.  Because all the walls and floors are tile, so they'll stick to anything.

It's got a suction cup at the base, then a bendy, metal tube (a bit like the shower hose you'd see on a detachable shower head) with a socket in it.  So, you can stick the dumb, flat shower head in the socket and then bend the tube to actually point *downward*.

It's pretty much like a miracle.

And it's so much less cold when you don't have to set down the shower head every 30 seconds.

After that, we went a got a bunch of little things like some more pot holders, some little shelves to go in our cabinets to create more space, a suction cuppy device that sticks to our kitchen sink and holds my green scrubby thing (so much less gross this way), and a bunch of baskets, which are my best friends -- all of them.

Korea has the cheapest baskets of life.  Or maybe it's just me...  Anyway, I can go down to either the dollar store (a store close to our house) or the dollar place (a section of LotteMart), or even DreamMart and get all kinds of crazy baskets for, like 1,000 - 3,000 a piece.  They are my organizational staple.

For instance, when you don't have much room in your cabinets -- or many cabinets, for that matter -- you don't get to designate one cabinet per type/category of thing.  So, all these things just get shoved in with each other and then when you want a packet of taco seasoning, it's 16 inches above your head, behind and underneath seventy-hundred (a very precise number) very heavy cans of food that hurt when they fall on your head.

However, if you have a basket for these packets, all you have to do is pull the basket down.

All our lock n locks are in a basket, all our beans, pasta and rice are in one basket, all our fresh produce is in a basket, even all our clothes are in separate baskets because we don't have a second wardrobe yet.

Baskets are awesome.

After all that, our computer broke :(.  Something happened with the charger cord thing and it wouldn't charge anymore.  We did despair, momentarily, until we told Bryan about it and he said he would take us to TechnoWorld.

Do you like how everything here is either a land, a world, or a galleria?   Because I do.  A lot.  Or, if it's not that cool, it's probably just a mart.  Lots of things, like TimeWorld Galleria Department Store are multiple things, including a department store (although TimeWorld is actually a three building, twelve story mall and not a department store... that distinction got lost, I think).

It took us about five minutes at TechnoWorld to find what we were looking for from a man who sold us (after some impassioned haggling) a cord for about 33.00US.  Not a bad deal.  It was 10.00 on Amazon, but shipping to Korea is not good and usually costs more than the item you need shipped.  Plus, we didn't have two wait seventy-hundred weeks for it to arrive.

THEN Bryan took us to this older part of town where everyone sells used furniture.  It is awesome.  And he took us to this back alley place that looked like... nothing, really, where we knocked on a giant sliding metal door and this guy took up a huge freight elevator to the second floor full of couches and big chairs.

We wanted to look around the area, so Bryan ended up dropping us off and we wandered for a while, but eventually went back to Mr. Freight Elevator and got a "sopa", with two chairs for not a bad deal at all.  Then we got two nightstands and a space heater that looks exactly like a fan, but with no blades.  It is the best everrrr.

Mr. Freight Elevator got a little concerned when we explained to him, via one word sentences, that we were planning to take the "bussuh" (bus) home and he thought for a minute, then asked if we wanted coffee.

We were confused, and it's always better to say yes, so we did and had some coffee.  By the time we were done, he had loaded all our stuff into the back of his truck and then it became obvious that he wanted to load us in next.

Knowing a good thing when we saw it, we hopped in and gave him our address and, without needing any directions (and we live in a weird area and have to give taxi drivers pretty detailed directions), we arrived directly outside our door soon after.  He helped us carry it all upstairs and then he was gone.

Very nice man.

And now we have a couch and two big chairs, plus two nightstands and a WARM space heater.  They are not cute (think: Dentist's waiting room from the mid nineties+some irridescent qualities), but they are pretty comfortable by Korean standards and they're not fake leather, which most couches are here.  It's probably due to the mold and the fact that slippery couches wipe down better and, perhaps, last longer.  But they're also FREEZING in winter and sticky (thus, slippery) in summer.

It's real nice to have somewhere to sit besides the bed and our two kitchen chairs.


Last night, we were walking home from the bus after Starbucks -- the weekend ritual -- and there was a pile of furniture outside our building at our trash pick-up place.  Most of it was lame, but there have been two big things on our (now much shorter) wish list of furniture and they had both appeared outside our house!  A bookshelf and a dining room table that doesn't turn you, your friends, appliances and linens all grey.  Not to mention how it ruined my bread.............

They were dirty, but with some magic erasing (I love magic erasers!) and a lot of scrubbing, they are good as now and, suddenly, we have a fully furnished apartment!

It's a little bit miraculous since, on Friday, we had nothing.

So, things are looking good here and I do plan to take some pictures of our new little domecile as soon as it's clean -- which should be ASAP.

Cross your fingers.

- catie