A lot of family and friends have asked us about our apartment here in South Korea so I thought I'd post the pictures here for those of you who might be interested to see how we live here in Asia. This apartment is what is known as a 2 room apartment (one bedroom and one living room). Most teachers are placed in studio apartments which are one room, and that one room houses the bedroom, kitchen and living room. There isn't much space in Korea and nearly everyone here lives in apartments. We felt rather ungrateful asking for a bigger apartment this year, as there are families of three or four living in apartments the same size as ours. Luckily for us, a friend of ours is leaving soon (he was randomly placed in a huge three bedroom apartment in our town) and we are very fortunate to be moving in there next week It's much older that this place, and needs a lot of work done, but I'll take scrubbing for weeks on end for three bedrooms any day. These photographs were all taken with my phone, so they are a little on the blurry side but they do give you a good idea of where we have been living for the past year.
The picture above was taken from our front door. As you walk in the bathroom is directly ahead, and the door on the left houses the washing machine and boiler for our hot water and underfloor heating system or Ondol as it's called here. The picturebelow left is what is inside the washing room looks like (as you can see it's impossible to buy toilet paper in anything less than packs of 36...#toiletpaperforyears). And the photograph above right is of the front door. The white cupboard is a show cupboard. We have gone all Korean and don't wear our shoes in the house at all. It keeps things a lot cleaner too.
Below is our kitchen area. All of us teachers are given the basics in our apartment (microwave, one or two plate stove, bed, wardrobe, table, fridge and TV) the rest of the appliances we have to purchase ourselves. It's a pretty good deal considering we don't pay rent at all! We bought the little stove online (it works like bomb) and found the milk crates outside. As our space is very limited, everything is very compact (you can se where my exercise equipment lives too!)
From the kitchen we have a sliding door which leads to the bedroom. We do have quite a lot of space in our bedroom, and lovely big window which lets in plenty of light. Apart from our small kitchen window the bedroom window is the only other natural light source in our house, which isn't so great in winter time.
As you can see we make use of every inch of space for storage. We found the most amazing vacuum sealing bags that shrink mountains of clothes and bedding into small, manageable bags (as pictured above my wardrobe). And yes, those are aeroplanes planes you can see hiding behind the TV and on top of Farmboys cupboard (there were five, but I managed to convince him he only really needs two at the moment). They are actually really amazing little machines that Farmboy built himself and flies all over our town. You can see some of them in action here.
And finally the bathroom (or wet room as they are called here as the space is completely with no actual 'shower area'. We are lucky that our shower is in the corner of the bathroom. Most apartments have the shower placed above the toilet, so when you shower, the entire room gets soaked (including the toilet paper!). And I've included a sneaky pic of my bathroom cupboard too (hubby thinks I own far too many products, what do you think? And yes, the top right hand corner is just for him, how much more space does he need really?)
So there you have it. Our two bedroom apartment in Buan, South Korea. It actually looks pretty spacious from these pictures, but I took them on a day when there was no laundry hanging out to dry, when we didn't have guests staying over and the blow up mattress was out, or when I was baking. It's been a lovely little home for the past year, but we are VERY ready to move into out bigger place next week...yippee! You can see our old apartments in South Korea back in 2010 by clicking here (they were studio apartments and much smaller than the one we are in now).