Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Our First Korean Apartment - Complete with Sink Shower!

Welcome to our... room! (Singular.)

Let's just be honest here: everyone is more or less curious about what everyone else's living space looks like, amirite? For me, that curiosity becomes even more intense when I wonder about typical apartments in different cultures.

I remember back when I was a wannabe expat in 2008 and I just had no idea what to expect from my soon-to-be new home in Korea. What would it look like? Well, the word that comes to mind first is "small" - a pretty tiny space, indeed, for Partner In Crime and I to get to know each other during the first year we ever lived in the same country.

In fact, P.I.C. moved to Korea before I did, and even with his descriptions over the phone, I still wasn't able to picture the apartment I would be moving into. "Sink shower," he said. This did not resonate in my brain at all. I literally had no clue how to conceptualize the idea of having no barrier between the bathroom and the spraying water. As expat life goes, though, it wasn't much time before I was sink showering it up without a second thought.

Anyway, less talking - let the apartment snooping tour begin! Welcome to our home in Seoul for our first year in Korea, from 2008-2009.

Looks positively palatial from this angle, wouldn't you say?
Hello single bed. I don't miss you at all.
The entertainment center. Check out the heavily frosted glass that barely obscure the unmovable metal bars on the windows. Fingers crossed for no fire?
This photo features a glimpse of our one and only plate. I'm pretty sure that we
probably got another one, but maybe it's a little funny that I don't remember it...
It also features the entirety of our appliances (save an ancient kettle) AND our countertop space!
A very special moment: the sighting of the not-elusive-enough sink shower! There yonder!
This photo showcases the largest thing in our apartment: the washing machine. It would madly rock back and forth while doing its business and then sing a happy little tune when it was finished. That little tune would literally last for about 45 seconds. Seriously.
G'day sink shower! Want to feel a weird feeling? Stand in the middle of your bathroom and
then spray water everywhere with your shower head. Feels incredibly deviant for
the first couple times, even though that's clearly the whole point of the design.
Sink showers seem to be pretty common in the lower budget accommodations in Seoul,
and if you're (un)lucky enough to have one, it's a delightful bit of fun to tell friends at
home about - most people seem to be just as confused as I was!
And just because it's cute... here's some vintage art that John's students made for him when they found out he had a girlfriend (Cue the singsong "oooo a girrrrrrlfriennnnnnd!").

Do tell:
Have you used a sink shower before? If not, do you think you'd be into it!?

Thanks so much for coming along for a tour of our first Korea apartment! Stay tuned for an upcoming tour of my apartment the second time around in Korea (spoiler alert: not bigger), as well as the much teased about tour of our Cambodian apartment! 

xx Lady Expatriate 


  1. Wow! Very, very tiny! Kudos to you for being able to downsize :)

    1. Thanks Natalie! Being restricted to only bringing two suitcases of belongings really helped in that department. I remember when I visited my parents' home how disorienting it was to have my belongings spread out over several rooms... I think I prefer having a smaller living space - though perhaps not this small!

  2. I love sink showers! So simple in functional. Try not to get too jealous, but in the apartment we're in now, our fancy, full-sized washing machine is in the middle of our living room!(although it doesn't dance or sing) Can't wait to get a tour of your place in Cambodia!

    1. A washing machine in Korea that neither dances nor sings? You, my dear, got a raw deal! PLEASE promise you'll give us a tour sometime soon!
      Interesting that you come out so strongly in favor of sink showers - now that I'm back to using one in Cambo, I (grudgingly) agree that I've kind of missed them :)

  3. Wow, this is such a an interesting apt. I've never used a sink like that


    1. It's surprising how quickly you can get used to showering like this! Thanks for leaving me a message, Dale. I'll be sure to check out your site :)

  4. oh wow...thanks for sharing! I love seeing images like these (yes, you're right! :)
    Great to see! Haven't personally used a shower/sink but it is practical for living in small spaces when spaces are not large!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment, Nancy! Happy to know my assumption was on-mark. :)

  5. So glad you're blogging! I worked w/your PIC in Seoul and as I'm in my motherland for the time being love reading about the other folk's adventures.

    As it happens, I LOVED the sink shower! It made it oh so easy to clean. Spray, scrub, and spray it all down again. I did hate that the bathroom floor of my first apartment flooded every time I washed clothes and that after washing and line drying my jeans and towels they could stand up all by their lonesome. I have a Korean made washer/dryer now (yes, a DRYER!!) and they sing a little ditty to me when they're finished...brings a piece of Korea back every time!

    1. Amanda - I'm so sorry! Most delayed response ever - I don't know how I missed the original posting of your comment!
      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! That's so cool that you worked with PIC - must have been a bit of a shock to come across him up here!
      We're back to sink showers here in Cambo, and I think I'm more on the love side of them than the hate. They really make full size showers seem so indulgent! And you're right, they are crazy convenient.
      Too fun that you're rockin the end-of-laundry-time tunes!
      Cheers, Amanda - thanks again for reading and for the comment :)

  6. I just stumpled across your blog- it is great! My boyfriend and I are in the early stages of moving to China. I am SO curious about the typical living space. I used many-a-sink-shower on my trip to India this past Spring. I can't believe you put up with it for a year :)

    1. Hiya Rachel! That's really exciting about your upcoming move! I hope you start a blog - I'd love to know more about living in China.
      I'm in the stages of putting up two more 'home tour' posts - one of my second year apartment in Korea, and one of my current little home in Cambodia. I'm glad to hear you like the idea of them!
      Thanks for reading, Rachel, and for leaving me a comment! Best of luck with the last stages of your move!

    2. Nevermind - you DO have a blog! Heading over to check it out.... now!


Thanks so much for leaving me words! :)