Living and teaching in Korea is great. I absolutely love it here. But there are a few differences that can make life a little bit more challenging, like the fact that there isn’t a clothes dryer, your parents aren’t here to cook for you, and space is a luxury. In my blog, I hope to help you overcome some of these obstacles so that you can have a cleaner, healthier, and cheaper life.
1. Drying Clothes
In Korea, apartments don’t come with dryers, and actually finding a laundromat with a dryer is also challenging. Typically, depending on apartment air flow, it can take an entire day for clothes to air-dry. This can make it much less convenient to move around your apartment, because of the size of the clothes-rack, as well as restricting the availability of clean clothes for the next day.
So, in order to fix this, simply buy a fan with a timer. After you take the clothes out of the dryer and hang them, place a fan in front of the clothes setting the fan timer for around an hour. After the timer is done, check to see how dry the clothes are and if they are still wet, turn the fan back on. If you do this overnight while you sleep, you should wake up to dry clothes!
2. Moldy Vegetables, Old Meat
One of the most frustrating things about living in an apartment by myself, is that if I buy food, I don’t know if it will last long enough for me to eat it. Often, I find that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and my plans to eat the food are often delayed due to there being so many delicious restaurants. What ends up happening is that my vegetables grow mold, or I’m too scared to eat the meat I purchased. Ultimately, this drives me into despair over my own wastefulness. Then I often choose not to buy groceries, and then just eat out at restaurants, significantly increasing my living costs.
In order to fix this, I recommend you chop up your vegetables and freeze them. Some vegetables freeze as is, and some should be cooked before freezing. This blog has a lot of really great tips about freezing foods, but it is really long. To summarize some information, raw meats can be frozen to lengthen the time they can be consumed. A steak that is frozen can last anywhere from 6 months to a year. Just make sure to separate the meat into individual containers so they don’t freeze together.
Most articles suggest boiling a number of vegetables and fruits, letting them dry, and then freezing them. I think for most though, you can just chop them up and freeze them. Most common vegetables I do this with are garlic and cucumbers. These can both be washed and chopped without cooking. Then take them out and cook them up. I also like to freeze peppers as they are prone to spoiling. For peppers, it is best to cook them before freezing. I cut and then fried my red peppers in a little bit of water, let them dry, put them in a baggy, and into the freezer. Cooking with them is super convenient and they last so much longer.
3. Space is too tight
A number of apartments tend to be compact, which leaves little room for furniture. So, instead of using a large dresser, I would advise buying a hanging rack. The hanging rack can be assembled in your home quite easily, and moved just as easy. The rack is adjustable in size, so it will fit almost anywhere. You can then use it with hangers for your regular clothes, and then hang foldable cloth dressers in order to store your regular clothes. This system has really helped me to stay organized, without cluttering my space. The hanging racks are fairly cheap as well and you can find them on G-market, here.
Neil Frazer has been teaching with Chungdahm for a little over two years. He comes from a small town in Wisconsin, named Spooner and graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a Bachelor's of Social Work. After traveling to Korea in college he quickly fell in love the culture, food, and quality of life that Korea has to offer and immediately knew he wanted to come back. He looks forward to sharing his experiences of living in Korea and working at the Pyeongchon branch, near Seoul.