While I don’t usually post a tour of our accommodations, I think this place in Korea deserves a shout-out and some love. I feel so blessed that we were assigned to this specific assignment, in a place without many hotels. I was contemplating how I was going to feed my baby, or where I was going to get baby food (China didn’t have baby food, I didn’t know about Korea). Little did I know we were going to have a full kitchen!
Haneul Baragi Pension is just wonderful. The owner is one of the most thoughtful and considerate people I have ever met. When she learned that a family was coming to stay, she made sure to have her biggest room ready, complete with many conveniences I had written off having once we started traveling. She deep cleaned for us as well! There are eight rooms in the pension, and we’re filling it up with the crew from Austin’s work. There is a nice BBQ area with sink and several BBQ pits and tables right off of our room, so we’ll be having community meals with all of Austin’s coworkers several times a week!
First, the tour:
The kitchen/dining room and living room are the main room in our place. There is a nice flat screen TV that actually has some English channels (including Discovery channel, which is wonderful for Landon!) The wall paper in our living room is amazing- pink roses with silver sparkles. Magical. In our kitchen, we have a two burner cook top, BIG refrigerator, water machine, sink, microwave, and washing machine. Hallelujah for washing machines! Much of my time/angst/chores in past assignments have revolved around figuring out how to get our laundry done, and then dropping it off and retrieving it from laundry facilities or laundresses. Having a washing machine in our room is so convenient in comparison! The best part is that our house mom will do our laundry for us. I typically put the clothes in the washer, and then she collects them and hangs them up to dry in the rooftop sun room.
Above the kitchen is a loft that has become Landon’s bedroom. He has a sleeping pad up there, as well as his books. The floor is heated which would be nice in winter, but he does not use that feature right now. The spaces in between the rails of the banister were larger than Landon, so we bought some fishing net (we’re in a fishing village, after all) and rigged up a safety system so he won’t slip through the cracks. He also sleeps far away from the edge. His “bedroom” window opens out onto the outdoor portion of the deck. We didn’t realize that until he climbed through one day and yelled from outside, “Hey, Dad! Come see where I am!” So, we have to watch him closely up there.
The worst room in the place is the bathroom, but all the other features in our room make up for it. I think I’ve just been spoiled by staying at high end Asian hotels the past couple years, where the shower is about the same size as this entire bathroom. I’d rather have a kitchen, though! It is a wet bathroom, so the shower is attached to the sink and there’s a drain in the middle of the floor. It takes some getting used to, and I ALWAYS forget to switch the water back to the sink from the shower, so I inadvertently take showers with my clothes on at least once a day!
Our bedroom has enough space to comfortably fit Austin, Owen and I. Not ideal to have the baby sleeping in our room, but we knew going into the whole traveling thing that more often than not we would ALL be sleeping in the same room, so we’re happy with this arrangement. There’s a big wardrobe that fits all of our clothes, and an enclosed balcony off of our bedroom where we store our suitcases and other stuff we don’t need on a regular basis.
The last space in our room is the balcony. Landon loves to play cars and shells out there. I like that he has a space to get some fresh air without having to get everyone ready and outside (we’re on the third floor, and Owen is only getting heavier!) Here ate the views from our balcony to give you an idea of what it looks like in small town Korea:
So now it’s time to talk about our Korean mother. She is wonderful. She brings us apples several times a week. She bought outlet covers, a kid toilet seat for Landon, shower shoes for Landon, and a kiddy pool and squirt gun for Landon and Owen to enjoy on the outdoor rooftop patio. She brought a carpet for the floor for the boys to play on and an ultra fancy rice cooker. She shows up at our door with treats and cheesecake. She anticipates needs. She loves to have everything organized, so within the first few days of our arriving, she brought in tons of bins and baskets so everything has a place in our room. On top of all of her gifts, she is patient with our destructive children. We’re using a baby carrier that can turn a normal chair into a baby high chair type seat, and we chose the pleather seat because we wanted to be able to wipe off the baby food. Well, Owen wore a patch of the pleather off the seat within the first week because he gets so excited when he eats his little legs are always kicking! She just brought a cushion up to put over the chair, like it was nothing.
Our Korean mother employs an older lady to clean the rooms. I thought the older lady and our Korean mother were related, but I’ve seen her coming and going a few times, so I don’t think they are. This older lady I like the call our Korean grandmother. For an older lady (probably at least in her 70s, because she looks old for a Korean, and Koreans age really well), she is incredibly spry. I try to pick up our toys before she comes, but she vacuums and hand mops our floors every day. She gets down on the floor with Owen to play, and just loves both the boys. She can’t speak much English, but she just says, “CUTE, CUTE!” over and over again.
We are so happy to be here, with a kitchen! It definitely softens the blow of going from a wonderful, comfortably-sized home for a family of four to a hotel room. Although there is no oven, we are having successful attempts baking in the rice cooker. This is going to be our longest assignment yet, and I’m totally fine hanging out here until November!