May 6, 2012

don't worry about safety ;)

I've lived in 3 different apartments in Korea, of those 3 all of the doors had key locks. Some apartments have doors that you just need to put in passwords. But I've heard some bad stories with the batteries dying and the doors finding themselves left open, which is an unpleasant surprise when the owner returns.

I've had my own unpleasant experiences with key door locks. At my first place, the deadbolt style lock broke when I tried to open it. It broke in the locked position and my windows had bars on them. Luckily, being the artsy person that I am, I had some tools around. All I needed was a screw driver to remove the lock and be free of my apartment. And then getting a replacement deadbolt set (I installed it myself) was under 20,000 won.

I didn't have any problems with my second apartment, my landlords and school didn't seem to care enough to snoop around my apartment when I wasn't there, unlike some of my friends' situations. When schools provide you with apartments, they have a set of keys, along with your landlord and sometimes they may feel it's unnecessary to let you know when they're letting themselves into your apartment. Or it may just seem easier to play fast and loose with your privacy because of the language barrier, I don't know.

Either way, yesterday I happened to notice this:
It's the opening to pipes and things in the ceiling of my bathroom. It was closed before, I sure didn't open it and as much as Abby likes to open things, she just isn't capable. So either I have a ghost or someone went into my apartment for whatever reason without telling me. Either way, I was thoroughly creeped out. I'm a female foreigner living on my own. I like feeling safe in my own home and this ruined that.

Especially after my school almost did the same thing. My handler had said gas people were visiting, they would just go in if we weren't there and also tagged on "don't worry about safety ;)" which only made it seem worse. Seriously, why is adding a winking face to that sentence a good idea? I very vocally expressed that it wasn't ok unless I was there. They showed up an hour early from our set time, woke me up from a nap and I made it to the door just as they were getting the keys out to let themselves in. I was unimpressed then. That situation combined with the new one = I've had enough. And I'd like to add on, I've only been here for two months.

Today I went to the nearest 도장 / dojang I could find. Dojang means stamp or seal, but they generally have key and lock services as well. The woman tried to sell me an electronic one for about 100,000 won, but I opted for the cheap deadbolt and with my minimal Korean, told her that I needed to have it installed. I biked home, and about 5 minutes later she showed up with tools and my new lock.
Installing the new deadbolt took about 20 minutes, new holes had to be put in my metal door.
And now I have a new lock. The whole process from going to the store, picking out a lock, having the lady come to my apartment and install, took less than an hour. Totally worth it for the peace of mind. I'm wondering how long it will take my school to notice and ask for a key... that should be an interesting talk if it happens.
 And in food related news, I've been enjoying my surplus of deodeok. Lunch was homemade, tofu, kimchi mandu, soy sauce and sesame oil dipping sauce, grilled deodeok with gochu jang (pepper) marinade, and cabbage salad.
And I also happened to pick up a bottle of 더덕주 deodeokju, or maybe it's soju style alcohol infused with deodeok? I'm not sure because I've been too afraid to try it so far...

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