Coming to South Korea has been an adjustment, and of more than one kind. Of course, there is the culture shock and the new job, both of which have been learning experiences to say the least, but there is also one huge personal adjustment I've been faced with over the last five weeks. For the first time in my life, I am living alone.
Please know that I approach this topic with the extreme realization of how pathetic, dependent, sheltered and maybe even juvenile I will sound whilst explaining my struggles.
For starters, I want to apologize to my parents, the wonderful Mr. & Mrs. Wilson of Eldridge, Iowa. Today, I had my very first experience cleaning my hair out of the shower drain. There are no words. I mean, I've cleaned a bathroom before, really, I have. But I've only been hitting in the minors, because that is some major league nastiness. I think it was a combination of my own hair and the previous resident, which combined to make one immensily gross cocktail of a hairball. Mom and Dad, I'm so sorry for the last 25 years.
There have been some other additional housekeeping adjustments I've been forced to deal with: laundry and dirty dishes. With no clothes dryer and no dishwasher, life has been a little different than it was back home. This is what I wish to call a "First World Problem". Oh, poor Caitlin, right? I learned quite quickly that you have to stay on top of these things or else they become a problem. Especially with no dryer, a certain amount of organization is required.
And like I said before, I have just been incredibly blessed in this department in the past. In college, part of the room & board fee was a weekly housekeeping visit. In London, the same. The one year I lived off-campus in an apartment, the only problem I remember was dealing with the abundant amount of empty beer cans that seemed to collect in a particular corner of the kitchen. Ah, college.
So in addition to all the amazing things I see and learn everyday outside of my apartment, there are some new experiences when I get home too. Although I will say, Koreans have their own unique take on cleanliness. Garbage collection, to be specific, is interesting. You simply put your garbage in a bag, put that bag out of the street, and go about your business. It will be gone in a matter of hours. Who collects it, where does it goes, who pays for it? A mystery. Or just a really great public service in Korea.