Korea is much nicer than I expected.... alot different than I expected, too. Not surprisingly the kitchen counters and bathroom sinks are really low. Genevieve can almost turn on the bathroom faucet, Adrienne can do it on her own.Thats how low they are. The kitchen counters don't even come up to my waist (good thing I'm not really tall!). I haven't had much chance to go out and check out the local shops yet, but eventually I will (I have a year!). We live a bit over 3 blocks from the military base, so we get in some pretty decent walks a couple times a week.
As for our apartment, I really do like it. Its funny when you compare the place to American apartments, though. They don't have built in closets here. You have to get free standing closets or armoirs (sp?) if you need to hang or store things.
The bathrooms don't have bathtubs--or stalls for the shower. You go in and its a slight step down into the bathroom, the whole thing is tiled except the ceiling. The shower head is usually above the sink (in our apartment you turn a valve on the sink, there is a hose that attaches to the faucet and the valve changes from one to the other), you can put up a shower curtain to make it a little more enclosed for your shower, but its not built in like that. Its just an open room. I have a "makeshift bathtub" for the girls--a 12 gallon storage bin. lol (And you can't flush your TP! There are little wastebaskets next to the john and you put it in there instead.)
The kitchen is different, too. No oven. There is a stove range that sets on the counter top, often only 2 burners so far as I can tell (it makes me wonder HOW these people cook, I often use at least 3 out of 4 burners). I shouldn't say NO oven, they have them but they're rare. We HAVE one (with 4 burners for the stove instead of just 2) because we moved into the apartment Matt's Captain used to have, but they were leaving, being sent back to the States, and we came just in time to take their apartment without having to search for one--they even gave us a great deal on the furnishings they were leaving behind (so say a prayer for Captain and Mrs. Perry if you would, because we wouldn't have been able to afford this move to come and be with Matt if they hadn't.) Cpt. P. told me that our oven was gold and to make sure someone got it when we leave because you just don't find them every day. The trash system is a bit different here, too. They are very particular about it, which is fine by me. Its quite efficient. And I love the windows. They are just uber cool.
Koreans love kids, they consider children to be "everyone's treasure" and will stop you in the street or store to admire them. Our first day here I was walking down the street and a sidewalk vendor gave me 3 pairs of socks for my kids. Later on that night another woman gave me 3 little handkerchiefs for them. Its a nice change from all the people who usually say things like "Hey, you sure have your hands full!" (or worse... I had one American woman here "suggest" that I was done having kids. I smiled and said, "No, not necessarily." Another one told us she got her tubes tied because one was enough for her. That kind of attitude makes me sad. You don't have to plan to have a dozen kids, but you could at least be open to the possibility of having more than one, right?)
And the best part is being with Matt again. I make him meals, he puts the girls to bed at night, I do his laundry... we get to just BE TOGETHER, and that is what I am most thankful for, time spent together as a whole family. After about a year and a half we are finally together again. And its wonderful. Matt told me that even when he's having a rough day he just smiles because he knows he's coming home to us and that makes it all worthwhile. Our friends even said they can see the difference in his attitude since we got here (he's MUCH happier). Life is good. It took me a long time to be where I am now (willing to come over here). I was scared, apprehensive, and very selfish for a long time, but God definitely put it in my path (so to speak) that NOW was the time to come and I am completely at peace about it. Making the move was more than worth while. Being apart has made me realize all the little things that I had grown to take for granted (when he left in February to come back here I cried when I was doing his laundry for the last time). I would always strive not to take him for granted, but sometimes you just do, so I am thankful for the time we have spent apart (as hard as it was) because I now have a renewed appreciation for him (living with his parents gave me an even greater appreciation of him as well, and of them. I got to see "first hand" what has made him the man he is, and I am SO grateful to his parents for their guidance and influence on him. They have given me so much in him, more than they realize I am sure.) The hard times definitely give you the chance to put things back on track.