Guess what? We bought and moved into an apartment! It’s been a crazy past few months and everything went really fast, but now that we are settled into our new place, we both feel so much better.
We started thinking about buying a place (we were technically renting before) and in Korea, most people buy as an investment and a step up. We liked the place we were in and didn’t see a real need to rush out, but the more we looked into buying, the more exciting it felt.
Apartments in Korea are sold out by unit (kind of like a condo in the US) – usually a family will buy their unit or rent it from someone. The apartment complex is usually a big set of buildings, each about 15-25 stories high. Newer ones will have facilities that residents can use, like a gym, a workout center, playgrounds, a cafe, a daycare, etc.
The place we lived in before is a type of building called a “villa” in Korean – a 4- or 5-story building with about 5 or 6 units typically. We had a unit with stairs and two floors, and it was great for us for a while, but the more pregnant I got, the harder it was to go up and down the stairs, and we also felt like our place was cluttered, since we didn’t have many closets or cabinets.
My husband and I fooled around with the idea of moving before my due date, so we talked to some real estate agents and visited some listed properties nearby. We love our neighborhood and knew we’d like to stay nearby, so we looked at two different apartment complexes. We liked one way more than the other, so we focused on that one and started looking at different buildings and layouts.
One evening, we were able to visit a few different units, each with different views (some of other buildings, one of mostly the mountains) and we compared the features. We both really liked the last one we went to, and we went back to the real estate office and surprised ourselves by telling the agent that we really liked it and wanted to start meeting with the owners to discuss moving.
I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know what moving so close to my due date would be like, but I knew in Korea, the moving process is usually handled by a moving company. Thankfully, we also hired a cleaning crew to clean our new place before we moved in, because that made it all the easier. The moving company had to use a crane to lift most of our furniture and stuff into the new place (which is on the 11th floor) and we supervised them as they put our furniture into all the rooms.
We had to do a lot of reorganizing, though. It took about two solid weeks of organizing to make everything feel like home. We also had our sofa repaired, and until that came back to us, it didn’t feel like our space. Once we got it back, it made the transition a lot easier. I also had to enlist the help of my friend to help me get our closet organized, because we now have a walk-in closet in our bedroom! Before, we had an entire room dedicated to clothes and my vanity, but this place has a vanity built in and lots of built-in shelves, closets, and storage space. It makes it a lot easier to have a clutter-free living space! Now I feel so proud of where I live. Before, I was always embarrassed of how we had stuff in random places.
My husband also had a soundproof booth built into one of the rooms so he can practice saxophone, guitar, piano, etc. at all hours without worrying about disturbing our neighbors. He used to play saxophone in his car when it got late, so this is a much better setup. One of the rooms is a guest room/baby room (all the baby’s stuff is in there, but the crib will go in our bedroom) and one “room” technically is more of an open space connected to our living and dining area that I use for my bookshelves, a reading nook, and a desk for my sewing and craft supplies.
We also moved the cats into this little space next to our bed that has sliding doors and a stone floor with a drain. It’s mostly for things like plants or drying clothes, but it’s perfect for the cats since it has a water spout and drain for easy cleaning and the cats can stay in there when people come over or when we leave the house. My husband used to be really opposed to them sleeping with us, so they slept upstairs in the old place. Now, they sleep right next to me in the bed and seem really content! I’m wondering how the baby will factor into our sleeping arrangement, but I guess we won’t know until we try.
My husband also got a new car, since his lease contract on his other one was up. He got a car that has lots of features that make it easier for him since he drives for hours a day. The car will beep if he’s at a red light and the light turns green, and it will beep if he signals to change lanes but someone is in his blind spot. It also automatically slows down or stops when the car in front of him does, so he feels a lot safer and less nervous while driving! I’m also relieved because it will be nice having a safer car for the baby.
One thing I love about the apartment is that I don’t smell cigarette smoke anymore. At our old place, we were on the fourth floor, and if I wanted to open the windows for fresh air, we were just above restaurants and businesses, so if people smoked below us, it would waft up through our windows. It was really annoying, and also the street outside our place got pretty noisy sometimes. Now, it’s quiet and we have a view of the mountains and I get to watch the sunset every night. And the entire apartment complex is a smoke-free zone, so it’s a lot more calming.
I’m so glad we moved before having a baby, and I’m so glad we are all organized and living in a clean, calm space. We both feel more relaxed and at home now. Now, I’m just anxiously waiting the start of labor and our new addition.