From Sheryl & Julie: Homestay Life
Trip Start Mar 22, 2012
46Trip End Apr 26, 2012
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The toilets are fancy!!!! We are talking heated toilet seats with different "cleaning" options if need be! In the apartments we flush the toilet paper in the bowl, however, in some of the restaurants or public places there are garbages in the stalls to place the used tp...The bathrooms in the apartments are about three inches deeper than the hallway because there are no shower curtains and the water gets everywhere. The floor slightly slopes to the drain under the sink. Some of the bathrooms don't even have bathtubs or showers stalls. They just have a shower head that snakes from the bathroom sink. Because the water goes everywhere, the bathrooms are completely tile including the walls. The beds are HARD! And that's if we get a mattress. Some of us have experienced heated blankets/mats on a windowsill. They have heated stone beds but only Julie has experience that yet, and she thought it was one of the best nights sleep she had here in Korea. We are all adapting to the bed situation but occasionally it can be hard... Literally :)In each apartment, there is an entrance way that is also a few inches lower than the hallway or a mud room to remove your shoes. It is highly offensive to wear your shoes in the apartments and certain areas of the restaurants. Also, no one uses keys for their doors - all the apartments have coded key pads on the outside entrance to the buildings as well as on their own individual doors. The floors in all the homes and restaurants are heated! There is no carpeting here, except perhaps mats or maybe area rugs - it is all wood flooring, because this is where their heat source comes from. The families we have stayed with who have young children seems to have many bookshelves filled with countless books. We also have seen instruments such as piano, violins and guitars. The children all seem to play at least one interment. Education is EXTREMELY important here - the kids are really pushed hard to do well and succeed and get into the universities and get good jobs. The families seems to live together forever. Sometimes many generations in one home. The children sometimes travel abroad for months or years, and upon returning come back to live at home. Same for going to school - they will leave for university then return to live at home until getting married and sometimes after marriage as well. We have not witnessed or met any 'broken' or 'mixed' or divorced families here at all.We have noticed that in most households, the children stay up very late. They may stay up later than we do studying until 12 or 1230 most nights.. Usually the older child in the family will speak some English and speak better than the parents.We have seen in most home stays the women does all the cooking and cleaning. There are some families where the woman is a homemaker but is apparently this is changing to where both parents are working. This may disperse the responsibilities in the household in the future. They only use washing machines, there are no driers. They use racks to dry the clothes, we were told because it keeps the fabric longer and doesn't shrink or fray or fade as quickly, plus less space and energy usage. Also, they don't use fabric softener. I don't know why.There are sometimes a kitchen "outside" in an outdoor hallway of sorts - they call this the smelly kitchen, it is for when they make stinky foods like fish and kimchi, etc. The driving situation is a bit different as well. It is considered a high honor to be driven around in the back seat, so even if it is just you and a driver, you will ride in the back - not just us - wives often ride in the back while husbands drive. Almost everyone here speeds! The roads are extremely crowded and busy with pedestrians and other traffic, and yet it is a bit amazing, incredible and terrifying to be in a vehicle here! They just go and honk at each other and pedestrians just part the way or get run over. Also, the speed limits are usually very high from whatI have observed on main roads - sometimes like 50 or 60 mph and the people will cruise at 80mph and there is very little police activity or repercution for speeding it seems. Also, there is a phone number plate with the drivers ph # visible to anyone form the outside, usually in the front windshield - this is so when you are parked someplace, if someone needs you to move your vehicle, they can just call you and tell you to move.