Technically, I’m living in Korea…but these days, I’m not so sure. Four weeks ago my power went off, and suddenly a week had gone by and still, no change. A week’s worth of begging my co-worker- who lives a floor below mine- to shower in her apartment. A week’s worth of posting up in coffee shops to charge all my electronics: phone, iPod, and laptop. I was the weird white chick staying in Paris Baguette for far too long, who brought a power strip and stayed the.entire.day. The groceries I bought from Costco quickly perished. It happened on a Friday night, which didn’t seem to interest my boss at all…. (to be continued).
Eventually, the power came back… “and on the seventh day, God created light.”
Things were looking up! The next week, my hot water heater kicked the bucket- literally. I had power, but was forced to take cold showers. I informed my boss (and landlord) of this as well. Cold showers are ok by me, but it wasn’t until the water turned brown that I really put my foot down. Back downstairs for me! Two weeks later I was taking steaming hot showers…in my own apartment…in a lighted room.
I suppose living without first world amenities like clean, hot water and electricity has made me realize I don’t need much to get by. In that sense I am grateful…I can manage with minimum, and make do with what I have. It forced me to get out of my apartment and spend all day in Jimjilbongs I probably wouldn’t have sought out. For this I am grateful- but it doesn’t mean I want to live without clean, hot water and electricity.
Do you know what it’s like to sleep in the dark and wake up in the dark and eat in the dark? I do. Do you know what it’s like to not wash your hands in your own sink, in fear of getting a disease/illness from contaminated water? I do. Do you know what it’s like to experience all of this, right smack in the middle of one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the entire world? A city where people from around the world come to see for innovative inspiration. Do you know what it’s like to live without hot, clean water and electricity….while the building directly across the street is a 24 hour McDonalds that delivers via motor scooter? I do.
“For just $10/day you can provide Molly with a shelter, hot water and food. If you call right now, you’ll receive a once in a lifetime photo of Molly. You can give her a second chance. Don’t wait. Call now.”
It’s very strange when you think about it. Even more so when you know that within the lobby of my building there is: A major Korean bank (KB), a pharmacy, and a huge convenience store (GS 25). There are also a plethora of restaurants in addition to a batting cage in its basement. Just let these facts sink in. Take your time. Process….mull it over….because I think it’s hilarious.
Here I am, a foreign white girl who can’t speak the language thereby rendering me almost incapable of advocating for myself- though I do anyway. I had to live in the complete darkness for a week, and move into Paris Baguette. Freaking Paris Baguette…an American baked goods chain store, allowed to culturally appropriate. #becausekorea
Then, I had to live without water. Oh, then it turned brown. All while my Korean neighbors have incredibly loud sex right behind a paper thin wall. Thank God I can’t understand Korean! It doesn’t even sound like it’s enjoyable! Half the time I feel like I should call the police because they’re doing a lot of straight yelling….one time I was woken up at 3am because they had broken the bed.
^^It’s even funnier because one of the biggest Ikea stores ever is just outside of Seoul. You should never, ever go there because you’ll never find your way out. Take it from someone who had a panic attack in the middle of the store on a Saturday evening, when all of Korea was at Ikea. #nofun #truelife
When they aren’t doing it, they’re having ridiculous Mario Kart races. A 90’s kid would recognize those songs anywhere. Which I normally would appreciate….if it wasn’t blaring through the walls at 2:30am. I have become the angry neighbor who pounds on the wall when the kids (38 year olds) next door get too rowdy. They’ve now stared banging on the wall in retort. They always end up turning things down, though. Which is interesting because it’s like “Aaaahhh we’re angry at you for being angry!! But we are going to respect your wishes and keep quiet.”As long as they keep it down, I don’t care if they bang. *pun intended*
The irony in having not even the necessities while living in one of the biggest international cities in the world is something I’m use to at this point in my life. The irony is my life in a nutshell, because stuff like this only happens to me. “Help, I’m in a nutshell!” I love the location and convenience my new place, but i miss the basic necessities of my old place. Like, you know: water, and electricity, and the ability to control the heat in my own space….which I don’t have….because the building controls it. Lmao. #welcometokorea
To state the obvious, this is a light hearted blog. Intended not for the use of complaining but for finding humor in an otherwise humorless situation. I’m writing about my personal experiences, in the hopes that someone else may benefit. If you’re following my blog, or came across it because you’re thinking of moving to Korea….take things in stride. You may not get what you’ve signed up for. Believe me, I know that more than anyone. If that’s the case for you- learn from this. Ask to see where you’re living beforehand. If you’re in another country before your contract starts you won’t have that luxury, so take it with a grain of salt. You’re going to Korea!!