I think this blog is sometimes misleading. You might believe that living in Korea is nonstop travel, adventure, and new restaurants. Ok, it is like that. However, there is also all this real life stuff that we deal with, and that sometimes gets in the way of my adventures. There’s work, sickness, and household chores, and all that stuff that isn’t fun to blog about. In fact, this past week while I was not blogging, I was also not cleaning my house. You couldn’t walk in my living room because of a huge school project I’m putting together, the dishes hadn’t been washed in a few days, and the office smells like poo from the dog I’m fostering. Life got messy. This weekend, as I started cleaning my house I thought about how annoying it is to do some chores and that they can be even worse in Korea.
1. Washing the dishes
There are a few things that annoy me about washing dishes in Korea. First, I miss having a double sink. My husband and I have a routine: I wash, he rinses. With one sink basin we are constantly fighting over the water temperature. I insist he keeps that water hot so that I can make sure the dishes are clean; he likes to keep the water cooler because our water heater is possessed and will suddenly scald you with no warning. That’s not nearly as annoying as the drain. Koreans do not have garbage disposals in their homes. The sink has a large hole that a metal bucket fits into. The bucket is like a colander and has many tiny holes in it. Water will go through, but not any food particles. Oh my goodness, that bucket can get nasty. If you don’t clean it often, it will collect the tiniest, smelliest bits of all the food that gets washed off your plates, and then they will form together to make a rotting clump of horror. I use mesh bags from the Diaso to collect the gunk. That way I can just throw the bag away, and I don’t have to wash the bucket as much. Even with the bag, it is so icky. Imagine a mesh bag with bits of scrambled egg, spices from a marinade, and a few clumps of sweet potato that didn’t get scraped into the trash. Now mix it all together and let all your dirty dishwater run through. Then pick it up and squeeze out the excess water. Shudder in disgust. Every day. I never knew how special disposals were.
2. Cleaning the bathroom.
The actually cleaning of the bathroom is not different or more difficult than in the US. I just have to add an extra step. We do not use our guest shower very often. Therefore, water will settle in the poorly designed pipes. It will settle and stink. If I do not run the water in the shower every three or four days, my entire house will smell like all the sewage in Korea has come to visit. I’ve tried pouring everything I can down that drain- vinegar, baking soda, bleach. Nothing helps. I must constantly remember to run water through the drain, and I constantly forget. It’s the neediest drain I’ve ever met.
3. Taking out the trash.
I’ve already ranted about the trash situation in our home tour. Let me just say that it is still annoying. A food bog, a paper recycling bag, a plastic and glass recycling bag, and a random trash bag. The food bag isn’t as horrible now that the heat doesn’t make it stink as quickly. And I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter how we sort our trash, because I think there’s an old lady in our neighborhood who goes through every bag. However, four separate trash categories? I like organizing, but we have to draw the line somewhere!
4. Seasonal storage.
When we first started dating, Jared couldn’t believe that I have seasonal clothing storage. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t. I rotate my summer and winter clothes bi-annually, and it is always a happy day of folding and fluffing. During my recent clothing swap, I expanded my organizing into moving around a few boxes that hadn’t been used since the move. I was appalled to find that my craft box (a sealed Rubbermaid) with all my sewing fabric was breeding an impressive amount of mold. Huge green splotches of fuzzy mold. Now, I have not sewn since we’ve been in Korea, but there was potential! I also found mold in my gift drawer (where I keep wrapping supplies and the random gifts I buy throughout the year), on some of Jared’s files, and growing happily in our bathroom. I think it is mostly a recent development caused by the changing temperatures and concrete walls. I bought some moisture absorbing products, cleaned what I could and tossed the rest, and I’m going to get a dehumidifier. But I’m somewhat at a loss on how to beat this issue. I suppose constant cleaning is the answer, but the thought of cleaning every closet wall and drawer each week is both daunting and impractical.
I usually try to not rant on here. I like my blog to be a happy blog. However, it’s also a blog about Korea. And in Korea, your groceries from the commissary rot more quickly than they should, there’s nonstop sweeping, and you need a translator when your car breaks down. I am luckier than a lot of people though; I have a dishwasher, a dryer, and an oven to help me with my chores. I have a husband who rinses the dishes and doesn’t complain when I cover the living room with preschool art. And I have a reason to buy new summer clothes if mine all mold away this winter.