Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Looking on the Bright Side

Ordinarily, you would see Namsan Tower on top of the mountain behind those buildings, but the mist has obscured everything.


So, this is the view out of our living room window, and - if the weather report is to be believed - it will continue to be for at least the next week, and - possibly - most of the summer.  For those of you reading from London or Oregon or Seattle who are rolling your eyes and scoffing at my reaction to a little unceasing rain, please remember that, where I came from, rain was an actual event.  It was hoped for, prayed for, talked about, celebrated, and discussed extensively in every possible location, from school events to cocktail parties to FaceBook.

All of that has changed now, and, coupled with the fact that we do not yet have our car (which is still merrily bobbing along in the Pacific as we speak,) the rain has led to some adjustments on our part, by which I mean, the boys and I aren't going out much.  Of course, Mr. Logical has to go to work every day, which - traveling as he does, by subway and bus - I gather is no picnic.  In fact, I use the 'taxi indicator' to calculate the weather for the day:  if Mr. Logical takes a cab instead of the subway, you know the rain's really coming down.

Keep in mind that Seoulites hardly seem to even notice the rain.  They just continue about their business - carrying umbrellas, of course - apparently taking no more notice of the driving rain, flooded streets and overflowing sewers than I normally did of  Texas Longhorn T-shirts, taquerias, and road-kill armadillos.  I guess it's just part of their cultural construct.

Oh, we still go out, but we are more selective about when and where, and it's not nearly as often.

Of course, staying in has not been a picnic either, because, as you all may recall, we still do not have our furniture and are therefore all very crabby, especially Mr. Logical and I, who have been sharing an air mattress designed for camping and which is clearly not intended for long-term use by individuals who are in their 40s.

However, as the veteran of a number of major moves, the one thing I have learned is that Attitude Makes All The Difference.  So, instead of sinking into a puddle of self-pity or diving into the bottom drawer of my kimchi fridge, I have decided to turn things around and instead focus on all of the positives that one can derive from living for weeks in an apartment with virtually no furniture and/or most of your personal belongings.  So, without further ado, I give you:

My Top Ten List of Reasons that it's Great to Have Almost No Furniture or Household Effects:

10.No dusting.  Need I say more?
9.  Easy to vacuum.  No need to shift heavy furniture around or bend to get under things.  And you can easily move the partially-deflated air mattress the children have been using as a 'couch' with a swift kick (not while they're on it, obviously.)
8.  No need to make excuses for the state of things when people come in.  You're living like a hobo.  What do they expect?
7.  Gives you a chance to reflect on what you truly need to live comfortably and your ongoing attempts to simplify (to be honest, I have not been thinking that in the least, but it seems like something I really should be thinking, so I'll put it in and maybe I will start thinking that way.)
6.  Things are easier to find.  No more digging through dark dresser drawers to find your clothes.  They are all within easy reach in a convenient (if unstable) pile on the lone two shelves in your closet.
5.  Excellent acoustics.  No furniture or carpeting makes for excellent echoes and powerful reverb.  Every whisper becomes a shout; no more straining those vocal cords!
4. Paperwork is kept to a minimum.  Lack of desk/ printer/ file cabinets/office supplies means you can continue to put off all that pesky bill-paying and record-keeping with a clear conscience.
3. More Free Time.  No belongings to dust, clean, or put away means you have more free time to take in the sights of your fabulous new city - once, of course, you get better at getting around in the rain without getting yourself drenched within seconds of leaving the building.
2. A Deeper Awareness of How Fortunate You Are.  Children now have new and greater appreciation for such mundane items as desks, chairs, and mattresses, which can be used as powerful leverage in future.

And now, the #1 Reason it's Great to Have Almost No Furniture or Household Effects:

You Become More Resourceful:  Lack of everyday items you are used to having at your disposal, such as, say, a common language, or lamps, or kitchen implements (like your whisks and cheese grater dammit),  causes you to plumb the depths of your creativity and think in new and different ways, realizing that you can handle just about any situation successfully.

So there you have it.  There really are plenty of positives about this whole no-furniture situation.  I've cheered myself up so much that I think we'll brave the weather and head to the National Museum of Korea.  Perfect for a rainy day.

9 comments:

elementio said...

Umbrellas? Nah. You don't need umbrellas. Just a good raincoat. We Seattle rain dwellers famously eschew umbrellas. They drip on other pedestrians, for one thing. And, they're famously easy to forget.

Anyhow, rain is only a little damp--it dries while you're drinking espresso, or that stuff you keep in the bottom drawer of your kimchi fridge. ;)

MsCaroline said...

HA! Very true!

I don't want to whine, but I have a perfectly good Gore-tex shell coming in - you guessed it - our sea shipment...for the time being, though, we're still doing umbrellas...

Hails said...

To be honest, the only way to deal with these conditions is to accept that you're going to get wet. The rain comes from all directions, including the ground, bizarrely, and trying to pretend you can avoid it is just a waste of time. The only reason I even bother with an umbrella is to avoid attracting even more attention to myself... not only would I be That Foreign Girl, I'd be That Crazy Foreign Girl Who Doesn't Know About Umbrellas! Alternatively, lock yourself in with a bottle of wine and enjoy the novelty of being in one of the few dry places in Korea. That is how I am spending tonight, and it is most pleasant. :)

Marion said...

Coming from one of those places where we post on facebook when it rains . . . it rained Sunday AND today!, and it might rain again tonight! I guess all those rain dances are working. Send us some more, we are still more than 50% below average.

MsCaroline said...

@Hails: I'm starting to become resigned to it. It's just so damned humid, I just feel like a big limp rag. I believe you when you say it comes from all directions, though. It was raining sideways a couple of days ago and I am not making that up.
@Marion: It figures, after we leave, Texas starts getting some rain.Not that I'm bitter or anything..is the Lake View House moving back towards being a Lake House yet?

Karen said...

I like numbers 10, 9 and 2 the best! Can you tell I hate cleaning? I do think an occasional swift kick while the kids are on the "couch" would be helpful. Just on general principle. And kids need the occasional reminder that all things should not be taken for granted...hence my enjoyment of #2! I hope you enjoyed the museum...unless of course, the call of the kimchee fridge was too great and you never did make it out of the apartment. If that was the case, I'm sure you are happy!

Karen

MsCaroline said...

Karen, I'm right there with you - I will say that cleaning is much easier with minimal stuff. And the boys have both been fantasizing about their desks and chairs after weeks of sitting on the floor or those !@#$% air mattresses...who knew a desk and chair could look so attractive to a teenage kid?
And yes, we did make it to the museum, albeit for a short visit. Photos to come!

Trish said...

I've tried leaving a comment several times, but for some reason I can never leave one. I've been following you since the first time you left a comment on my blog. I love reliving life in Korea through you. It sounds like you are making the best of it which is all you can do at this point! I ended up LOVING (OK, maybe not LOVING, but loving) monsoon season, however that was after I was established and had furniture. I gave in as well....I never did my hair in monsoon season, I only wore flip flops that I didn't care about, and I always took 2 umbrellas with me because I knew one would break not that it mattered because umbrellas really did nothing for you.

I love how you have put the bottom drawer of your Kimchi fridge to good use. A girl after my own heart. Now, make sure you buy wine on post...wine doesn't count against your 'ration control' AND they carry Tommasi at a reasonable price. I would try Ripasso, one of my fav's.

Continue enjoying and I would suggest heading out to the Express Bus Terminal, go to the 3rd floor to the flower market and buy some flowers to cheer the place up during Monsoon season. They are SUPER cheap - you can get a nice bunch of Lilies for 4,000-6,000 won, roses are about 3-5,000 per 10! Make sure you go early, they open at 1AM and close at 12noon.

MsCaroline said...

Trish - thanks for your kind, kind words! - if you can tell me what the problem is with leaving comments, maybe I can try to fix it. I am definitely a blogging 'newb' but have gotten great suggestions from other more experienced bloggers in the past for tweaking things on the blog and making things more user-friendly.

We are finally having sun the last couple of days, so I'm feeling more cheerful, especially now that the furniture is here..but sooo overwhelmed - where to put it all? You will appreciate that DH went to a wine festival at Dragon Hill Lodge before I arrived and bought 2 cases of wine, so we were well-prepared! Haven't tried Ripasso or Tommasi, but will put it on my list! I definitely plan to check out the flower market - I have gone back and read your posts about it several times - Son#1 was helping me put things away yesterday and couldn't understand why I had brought so many vases/jars/jugs for flowers - I blame you! : )