Friday, May 12, 2006

Movin' is Groovy ... in Korea

I am back, with very very good excuses, too. First my in-laws were here for a week and a half (hadn't seen them since Christmas), during which time hubby also finished the grueling process of coming to an agreement with his employers on a new 2-year contract, and then we moved to a new apartment last Wednesday. Whew!

Oh, and did I mention that all the while I was five months pregnant with my third son? Yeah, I've been a little busy.

However, through this all I have come to realize a great thing about Korea. I speak of one area where Korea is way ahead and the U.S. is way behind. Realizations of such instances do not occur every day here, yet are crucial to an expat's sanity, so I will memorialize it in writing: Korea rocks for moving people. This country makes an extremely stressful and dislocating process a lot less painful, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

First, the standard moving arrangement expected by every Korean who moves is that the movers will arrive at 8 am on the morning of the move and begin packing their stuff. YES, THEY PACK FOR YOU! EVERYTHING! And this is not some extravagant foreigners-who-throw-money-around moving method. This is how Joe Schmoe-Kim here moves! Really! We had three guys in the apartment and two at the truck for the furniture, etc., and two ladies that dealt with the kitchen area only (including cleaning out the refrigerator).

Then there is the ladder-truck. I am told it can be used for up to 30-something-storey buildings. It is an average-looking truck with a mechanism on the back that raises two tracks up to your window. They pop a balcony door off its track, and a platform is raised and lowered on the tracks with your stuff on it. So much faster than dealing with an elevator! Our team was done in the house by about 11:30 a.m.!

And yes, after they get the stuff to your new place and place it all where it goes per your direction, they UNPACK FOR YOU. I'm talking underwear in drawers, TV and DVD player plugged in, milk in the fridge, silverware put away and pictures hung where you'd like. Then the ladies steam-cleaned the wood floor! Everyone was gone by 4:30 p.m. and we ordered a nice pizza.

No wonder that when I've tried to explain the concept of a U-Haul truck to my Korean friends it just earns me puzzled looks. The bill will go to my husband's company, but I am told that for our amount of stuff, that level of service for a move will probably cost around $900. I think we paid that for our last U.S. move when they just mainly lifted and left some lovely bootmarks on the carpet.

So, I think you'll agree, this makes moving in America look like the Dark Ages. Chalk one up for Korea: they can justifiably claim themselves to be superior in the moving arena. Hmm, wonder how you put that one in the Olympics...


Anonymous Irreverent Hubby said...

Wow. Good for you kids. Actually, you can have that kind of service here in The States but you have to pay a family of illegals cash under the table. Maybe we're behind, but we're getting there!

5/12/2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger The Irreverent One said...

Oh. Mah. Gawd! I am so jealous of your easy move right now. good thing there's lots of illegals here in the corn-state.

5/18/2006 3:34 PM  
Anonymous BIG YO MAMA said...

Well, I moved with four kids and only your father to help. I helped him lift and I packed. Things must be gettin better in the Korean world. Yo Mama

5/21/2006 5:42 PM  

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