I just finished reading my description of our apartment after we'd first moved in. What fun to read my impressions of our apartment! It mainly consisted of observations on space, color, furniture, and sounds. I don't think I'd even think about some of those things anymore. Yes, every appliance makes a unique sound, but I don't register these sounds much anymore. Yes, an apartment is much smaller than a house, but the size suits us pretty well. Yes the floors are all linoleum or laminate with no carpet, but I don't think much about that anymore.
I guess we've managed to turn a PLACE into a HOME.
First, we've managed to fill the place up. Now, our apartment is so much more than a list of furniture. Now it is home - a place filled with memories of people we know, things we've done and places we've gone.
Our apartment is in Suji-gu, Dongcheon-dong, in Dongmun GoodMorning Hill. We're in o-pek-gu dong. This is what we need to tell taxi drivers who bring us home. We live many stories up on a 25 floor building amongst 14 buildings. There are 5 playgrounds on our complex. There are also two entrances and three guardhouses. Very close by there is a walking and biking path that runs along a stream lined with beautiful flowers this time of year.
Our apartment is a three bedroom, 2 bath, with living room, kitchen, and sunroom with lots of windows. It's quite quiet at night when we sleep - surprisingly so. But at night from around 8:30 - 10:30 children come out to play and we can hear them loud and clear even so many stories up. (We still can't get over how late Korean kids stay up.)
Part of what makes it home is it now reflects US. We've managed to add all sorts of furniture since we first arrived. Some purchased, some hand-me-downs, some found at "free mart". We've got a couch and recliner, 42" television, 2 book/curio shelves, coffee table, drawers, and three plants in our living room. We've also got a sizable rug to cover the floor. On the shelves are souvenirs we've accumulated throughout the year including knick knacks from India, China, the Philippines, Russia, and North and South Korea. On the wall are masks, photos, fans, and a scroll, an decorative scroll with our name on it.
Venture into Anna's room and you'll see the STUFF that she has accumulated throughout the year. Yes, some of it was purchased at the cheap stationery store nearby, some of it was created by her own hands, but most of it was the result of "dumpster diving." She's got a shelving unit we found at the garbage; on it is an eclectic collection of junk ranging from a mug and teacup collection to various types of containers, to traditional vases worth $50. She's also found us a nice umbrella holder! She finds the most random things and rationalizes their "use" or "beauty". Unless we force a clean up, it's usually a mess in there, so beware.
Our bedrooms consists of a bed, two closets, two chests of drawers, a built in desk and an office desk. Our bedspread looks like a fuzzy tiger skin; we bought it from a street vendor for about $30.
The kitchen doesn't look much different than the day we arrived. It is primarily white with silver appliances, small and functional with a small table and four chairs. It's got a dishwasher and a big kitchen sink. There's a still life painting of daisies on the wall near the table; we bought that from a street vendor last fall. There's a red decorative fish hanging in the kitchen that we brought back from China after the Chinese New Year. On the little window sill there's what's called a PeeBoy (also from China), a small teapot for brewing looseleaf tea, a teacup from China, and a little copper plaque that reads Vietnamese Restaurant (one of Anna's original creations).
Alec's room is neatly organized. He's got two narrow shelving units, a bed, a small desk, and a black cushy floor chair. He's managed to accrue some 300+ Pokeman cards, several stuff animals including one called Tigress who sings and wiggles her bottom around. His dresser is just outside his room and contains lots of hand-me-downs inside while on top is a picture of Brett Favre as a Packer. He's still got White Puppy (now a sickly gray), in case you wondered.
The furniture we began with - a couch and chair - are now in the "sunroom" overlooking the courtyard. It's a nice airy place to do work or watch the world go by and listen to children playing.
We've got a clothes drying room, which replaces a dryer. Clothes manage to dry in a day or two, which is nice. The washing machine has its own little space.
Not all of the cupboards and storage spaces are full yet, so I guess that means we must need to come back for another year. But in the meantime, we'll be saying Anyunghekaysayeo (good bye) to our HOME in about 1 week.
Hope to see many of our US friends and family soon! And thank you in advance for sharing your homes with us!