Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Things to Know When Moving {To Korea}

PCS-ing sucks. I hate moving in general but when you are moving on someone else's timetable it just adds the stress and this isn't even mentioning that the said timetable isn't even firm it is more like jelly to be moved with the slightest shake.

Recently we made our first Overseas PCS to Korea.  Adam was already there and I was back at the good ole "Hood" finishing a school year and prepping for this move.  Having the hubby a half a world away made life not very easy because I had NO CLUE what to have packed (and we had three sets of packers).  I can say I have been lucky up until this point because Adam had always taken care of all the moving stuff... but that also left me 100% clueless and he was 14 hours ahead and very hard to call or get a straight answer out of.  I relied on a lot of advice from friends who have had to PCS without their hubby (and I strongly advise you to learn the ins and outs of moving with the military because you will have to do it sans hubby at some point) and also on Married to the Military by Meredith Leyva, which I had been given when I first started dating Adam as a joke (and later by my sister in law whose husband is in the air force), it has great stories from women who have done the things you will be doing - great resource.

So, back to the packing... I had list after list of what needed to go to Korea in Unaccompanied Baggage (UAB - the fast shipment), in Household Goods (HHG - the slow shipment) and in to Storage.  Sometimes these lists were the same but usually not.  I had no clue what sort of place we would be living in... didn't know if it would be big or small, on post or off.  With so many unknowns it really isn't a surprise that I brought some really random stuff.  We had a 4 bedroom/2 Bath house in Texas and when I was packing I felt like everything in that house was a necessity and that I would NEED it when I got to Korea. Yeah, that was so wrong.

You can get some items if you request them (like beds, couches, dressers).  Just remember Korean homes are very small so King Size beds and all of your pieces of furniture should just be kept in storage.  Also, the kitchens don't have a ton of storage so bring the basics but with that keep in mind you will be cooking a lot more than you did in the US (at least we have been).  BUT we did find some really nice dishes for SUPER cheap at the market here.  I have a lot of closet space, though, so bring all your clothes, purses and your shoes.

One thing I really mucked up is the UAB.  Being that Adam had been here for a year before I got here I just assumed he had a lot of the things we would need.  I was so so wrong.  Like any PCS bring your personal effects, clean sheets, towels and all the things that you do use EVERYDAY.  Coffeemaker, for example, is one that I totally dropped the ball on.  Microwave is another one you will wish you have right away because cooking and reheating everything in a skillet sucks.  Actually all your kitchen stuff is a must right away here because eating out is so different from the US.  Also, something to note is that our movers wouldn't let me ship ANY candles or liquids including all my lotions and bath gels.  It was a pain in the ass.  Also, remember that they are on 220V here and the US is 120V so you will need to run any American appliance through a voltage converter (with the exception of dual voltage items which you can always check on the item near the cord).  We have about 3 voltage converters per room and they are probably the largest contributor to the super high electric bill (Korean Electricity is a tier system and every 100kwh you go to the next tier and the cost per kwh doubles - super expensive).

Anything you forget you can easily buy at a market here (and usually for cheaper than in the US) but also Amazon.com is super convenient... too convenient.

Moral of the story: When moving to Korea keep it light, small and Spartan and don't fret because you can get anything you forget.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Awesome post! I will keep it in mind if we ever move overseas!