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international living

    Apartment Tour: Korea

    Here’s a tour of our cozy place in Seoul. We live in a villa, which sounds quaint and romantic, but in Korea, that means a small apartment building. Most villas we’ve seen have two to six apartments.

    So, flashback to July – we were in Ankara and I thought I would be efficient and pack our luggage in a way that we wouldn’t have to touch the majority of it until we got to Korea. That was wishful thinking. I had forgotten how stressful it is to pack most of your worldly possessions into a few suitcases. We went through MANY rounds of revisions and paring down. After three weeks in the States, we arrived in Seoul with five checked luggage pieces, two rolling carry-ons, one backpack, and one guitar.

    This is what our home looked like the first day we arrived. I am sharing this to remind myself to rejoice in how far we’ve come since then:

     

    When we first moved in

     

    We are fortunate that the school furnishes our apartment with the essential pieces. They also stocked our kitchen with new dishes, silverware, pots, and pans.

    Here is our entryway. The air conditioner is on the left. We keep our shoes in the built-in dolap. The hall tree and shelf are both from IKEA. The orange sticky notes around the place are my labels of Korean words!

     

    Entry

     

    Entry shelf - calligraphy plate

     

    I killed most of my first round of succulents. I’m blaming it on the low light. We have only three small windows. Here are my succulents take two:

     

    Entry succulents

     

    This is the view from the front door. The couch from IKEA (mentioned here) dominates so much space, but it’s comfortable and we live on it when we’re home. I like how it matches our Turkish rug!

     

    Entry view

     

    The walls are concrete and are covered in a textured wallpaper. We tried every kind of Command hook out there, but nothing stuck. (The only hooks that held were from Daiso. You melt a dot of glue on the back with a lighter and stick it to the wall.) I had to get creative and hung our map tapestry (from GMarket) by sticking sewing pins through the wallpaper. Isn’t it interesting how the Americas are on the right side of the map?

     

    Living room

     

     

    Tapestry hung with sewing pins

     

    Hanging photos

     

    Air plant in driftwood from Pida (피다):

     

    Air plant and decor

     

    Next to the couch is a door that opens to where our washing machine sits. We keep cleaning supplies and other storage items back here:

     

    Washing machine area

     

    Behind the dining room table is the main bathroom. There’s no tub or separator wall, so we use a squeegee to push the water towards the drain after a shower:

     

    Main bathroom

     

    Kitchen and dining area:

     

    Kitchen and dining area

     

    Stove and microwave:

     

    Stove and microwave

     

    Wedding photo and succulents

     

    Fridge

     

    Here’s the master bedroom. We call it the cave. There are no windows, so if we close the door, we could sleep for daaays. We are creatures of habit and purchased the same bedspread we used in Turkey from IKEA:

     

    Master bedroom

     

    Master bedroom

     

    This is the bathroom connected to the master. (I can’t imagine anyone taking a shower in this tiny space!)

     

    Master bathroom

     

    Also connected to the master is a storage room. It was really humid in here during the summer months, but we may move more things into this area once the cold weather hits.

     

    Storage room

     

    Off of the kitchen is a spare bedroom:

     

    Spare bedroom

     

    This bedroom has my wardrobe closet. We use the dresser in here for things like office supplies, electronic cords, and medicine. Our suitcases are in the corner for now so they don’t mold in the storage space. This room usually serves as our laundry drying area.

     

    Spare bedroom

     

    Spare bedroom

     

    While I can’t say I adore our apartment, I am very grateful for it and appreciate having our own space to call home. We have what we need and live comfortably here. I’m also thankful we live in a safe neighborhood that is conveniently located to the school, shopping, and public transportation. Our longing for natural light may push us to move next year, but that’s a ways off and we’ll see.

    What do you think of our new place?

     

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    Springtime His & Hers

    We’ve been enjoying the spring weather. David decided to clean up our porch last weekend. We have netting that keeps the pigeons out, but it was super dirty. There was a nice layer of film on the table and chairs as well.

    Once the porch was clean, David hung up the dartboard he got at our staff Christmas party. He later suggested we walk down to the florist since I had noticed their hangers and other flowers recently. David was calling the porch his man cave, but I guess I kind of ruined that with the flowers. Ah, compromises. His and hers.

     

    Porch His and Hers

     

    I love the color of this pretty flower! Since there were a few more buds on the plant, I cut one of the big blooms to keep inside. Does anyone know what kind it is?

     

    Orange flower

     

    I set the pot of flowers a ledge so I can see them even when I’m inside. It’s a beautiful view!

     

    Flowers at sunset

     

     

    Bacon, Anyone?

    I stole this pic from a friend. A group of us went to a grocery store a ways from where we usually shop and he found bacon! Anyone want six strips of bacon for 100TL? (That’s around $45 USD!)

     

    Bacon in Turkey

     

    It’s the strangest thing to want the products you suddenly can’t get any more. We rarely bought bacon and Oreos in the States. But now? They’re a special treat we ration and savor. Fortunately, our students with commissary access keep us stocked. What better present could a teacher in Turkey get than bacon?!

     

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    Our New Apartment

    Due to unforeseen circumstances, David and I had to move out of our previous apartment in June before summer vacation. Two of our friends left last year and we got their apartment. All of the buildings in our area were built similarly. However, our new place is a lot nicer of an apartment and we’re loving it. (Especially the view!)

    We rent our furniture from our employer. We inherited a few new rugs and furniture pieces from some of our friends.

    I found a metal “B” for $2 over the summer, brought it back to Turkey, and covered it with twine for some front door decor:

     

    Front door decoration

     

    Here’s the entry foyer area:

     

    Foyer area

     

    Foyer

     

    I made this wood pallet art last year. The pipes made hanging it a lot easier this year:

     

    Wood pallet art

     

    Here’s the kitchen. The shorter counter by the window is a great height, but the rest of the counters and cabinets were made for giants. It’s kitchen Olympics every time I cook. I can barely reach the lowest cabinet shelf without the step stool.

     

    Kitchen

     

    Kitchen

     

    Kitchen counter

     

    The balcony is right off the kitchen. Some pigeons welcomed us when we first moved in, but we quickly vacated them.

     

    Balcony

     

    This is the hallway to the bedrooms:

     

    Hallway

     

    First door on the left is the spare bathroom. No squatty potty this year! This is our cleaning supplies storage closet.

     

    Spare bathroom

     

    The second door on the left is the full bathroom. We don’t have to put the drain hose in the shower any more when we do laundry! It’s amazing! This bathroom is all fancy with fancy tile and gold accents. We like it a lot better:

     

    Bathroom

     

    Our bedroom is on the right. I plan to add some decorations to the walls sometime soon:

     

    Master bedroom

     

    Master bedroom

     

    Master bedroom

     

    Also on the right is our guest bedroom. It’s pretty sad looking, especially since I haven’t put any linens on the bed yet. It has a small porch behind the curtain:

     

    Guestroom

     

    The room at the end of the hall is our “dolap” room. (Dolap is a Turkish word for any kind of cabinet.) We couldn’t get the chair to fit in the living room, so we put it in here. This was originally supposed to be the guest bedroom since it’s larger, but it’s where the movers put the dolap. It ended up working out better this way, I think. We hang our laundry to dry in this room.

     

    Dolop room

     

    Dolop room

     

    The living room and dining areas are off of the foyer. It’s amazing what a difference crown molding makes! (PS. See my peace lilly on the right? I didn’t kill it over the summer! I cut the dead shoots away and it’s growing again!)

     

    Living room and dining room

     

    The art on the wall by the table was a print we purchased in Bruges. We got the frame from Ikea. It ended up matching our light fixtures:

     

    Dining area

     

    Living room area

     

    This couch is amazing. We rarely have the footrest put away:

     

    Pull out couch footrest

     

    Our cabinets, TV stand, and buffet are all against one wall now:

     

    Living room wall

     

    So that’s the new place! Home sweet home.

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    A Lovely View

    When we first got back to Turkey, we posted a photo of the view from our new apartment. Since then, we’ve taken a few more shots!

    We live on the top floor of our building and love watching the sunrises, sunsets, and everything in between!

     

    Ankara Sunset

     

    Ankara Sunset

     

    David took this one with a zoom lens… it’s of the Kocatepe Mosque in Kızılayı:

     

    Kocatepe Mosque at night

     

    Ankara Moon

     

    Ankara Sunrise

     

    We’ve seen sunshine:

     

    Sunrays in Ankara

     

    And rainclouds (rarely):

     

    Ankara rain clouds

     

    Ankara lights

     

    It’s been warm and we keep our bedroom window open at night. The sunrise usually wakes us up if our alarms don’t go off first. It’s hard to be grumpy in the morning when you wake up to this:

     

    Ankara sunrise

     

    It’s been cool to see the mountains. We don’t typically notice them when we’re on ground level:

     

    Sun setting behind mountains

     

    Hello from the top!

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