Monday, October 21, 2019

our new home in South Korea

We moved in to our Korean apartment nearly 3 months ago and I am finally getting around to doing a home tour! Between unpacking and finding space for everything, then furnishing and decorating, it's taken this long to feel ready to show it off. Luckily my pregnancy nesting stage has helped get it mostly finished up just in time for baby boy and our first visitors!

We didn't know before we arrived in Korea if we would be living on the Army base or off-post. Housing on post is based on rank, family size and availability and while it would definitely have it's perks and conveniences we were hoping to get approval to live off-post. We wanted to get a fuller experience of life in South Korea and we also suspected that we could get more apartment for our housing allowance off-base. Around day 2 of in-processing we got the go ahead to start our search outside the gates.

House hunting and working with realtors in Korea was a very different process than back in the States in a lot of ways. First of all, each realtor here has different listings which means we were basically expected and encouraged to meet with several different realtors during our search which felt a little awkward and rude but is just how things are done. I did a little research on the spouses facebook page before we arrived and got a couple ideas for realtors to contact and we ended up seeing properties with two different ones. They were both so nice and showed us similar properties but we found our new home with the second realtor. Our realtor is now also our property manager while we are here. Basically he is the go between for us and the apartment owner. He is who we pay our rent and utilities to and who we contact if we have any problems with our apartment or life in general in Korea that we need help navigating. So far he's helped me translate all our appliances in the new house and I have a feeling I'll be texting him a lot of questions.  He and his wife took us out to dinner, our first Korean BBQ, and we had such a great night so I am really looking forward to getting to know their family better during our time in Korea.

We had a list of things we wanted in our apartment and this one checks mostly all the boxes. I feel like when we stepped into the apartment we kind of forgot to do that really thorough run-down of our list because we were so excited and distracted by how it looked and felt to us. It's just such a cool and different space than the other places we were shown. It wasn't until the day after we decided to sign the lease, as I was going back through pictures, that I realized it didn't have a dishwasher- but no worries our realtor got the landlord to give us a Korean mini dishwasher which I may or may not ever use but it's there.

Our apartment has 3 (huge) bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, plus a great open kitchen and a large living and dining area. It's actually several hundred more square feet than our house in Washington and it feels really open and spacious which will be essential with a toddler and another baby boy running around. There is an underground parking garage and the best playground that's always bursting with other moms and their littles. It's also really close and convenient for T.J. to commute to the Army base (we are close enough to see helicopters throughout the day and hear revelry at 5pm) and it's in walking distance to tons of cafes and restaurants.

There are always a few quirks to living overseas and our apartment in South Korea is no exception. They're not necessarily bad things just new challenges to get used to. We've quickly learned to not be surprised when something isn't how we expect it to be. We take so many conveniences for granted living in the U.S. and that's just not how most of the world works.

Yes I miss having a dishwasher, and sorting the trash is basically a part time job, and I will never understand why the light-switch for the kitchen is not located in the kitchen but rather in the living room....  But even with it's quirks, it was the place that I stepped in to that first week in Korea- still jet lagged, still reeling- and it felt like where my little family would fit.  Our retreat, our comfort zone, our safe place to come back to from adventures in the middle of so much unfamiliarity. I love our home!

And now for the video tour of our new home...

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