My apartment is very small. It is not much bigger than my room at home, but it is enough for me. It has a bed, two large wardrobes, a desk, a couple of shelves, a full-size fridge, a water closet, and a washing machine. The washing machine also has a dryer on it--I can just throw the clothes in and they come out clean and dry. It's as simple as that! There is no oven, but there is a two-burner gas stove. Before now, I had never cooked with gas, but it is nice to not have to wait for the element to heat. I met my Faculty Manager during the training week and he told me that I should expect a dirty apartment because the Koreans do not believe in leaving a clean apartment for the next person. They are not like Golde on The Fiddler on the Roof, who swept the floor before they left because she did not want to leave a dirty house. It was not as dirty as I had expected. The worst was the smell of the place. It smelled strongly of nicotine. The room got aired out well though because the first week or so that I was here, the air conditioner did not work and so I had to have the window open to let a breeze in.
I live in the 10th floor. Luckily there is an elevator. My building is two blocks from the nearest subway station. It's the second stop on the line and so when I get on the subway there are always seats. If I open the window and stick my head against the screen and look a certain way, I can see part of Haeundae Beach, the most famous beach in South Korea. It is about a 15-minute walk from my apartment. I live down the street from the beach. The best time to go there right now is at night. I went there on a Saturday afternoon and there were so many people there. It is a swimming beach. Even at high tide, there are not many waves so surfing is not feasible. They have life guards going back and forth on jet skis and motorized life rafts. During the day, there are so many umbrellas set up that one can rent for 5,000 won (about $5).
You have to step up to get into the apartment after you come in past the door. The living space is hardwood floor, but there is linoleum by the door. In South Korea, when you go into somebody's home, you take off your shoes. That area is there so that you can leave your shoes at the door. Whereas most doors to homes and apartments open in in American homes and apartments, the doors apartments here open out. The bathroom is also a step down. My bathroom is bigger than what I expected. There is actually a separate space for the shower, but it drains into a hole by the sink. You have to get the floor wet to take a shower here. During training, some of the people who had already been in South Korea, and saw their apartment said that there was not a separate space for the shower. If you were lazy, you could sit on the toilet while you take a shower.