It’s been 3 months since coming to Korea, and I finally feel more at home. I bought some dishware and furniture, and I met my neighbors. There are a total of 12 foreigners in my small town; I live in the same building with 8 of them. I feel blessed, especially after talking to another new expat.
Apparently, her apartment was a mess when she arrived. Hair littered the floor. Dust had stained the baseboards and every other nook and cranny. Various species of mold colored the bathroom and kitchen. My apartment wasn’t spotless when I arrived, but it wasn’t a dump either.
After talking to the veteran expats in our building, we learned that the previous renter was young and naive. After all, living alone for the first time can be hard, especially when it’s in a foreign country. I would like to consider myself fairly young as well, but I know a thing or two about cleaning.
I believe cleaning is very important. Yes, it’s important for sanitary reasons, but there’s a bigger idea behind it. It’s simple, but I believe that washing your dishes is the gateway to adulthood.
Whenever one cooks or eats, usually a dish or utensil is used (Unless you eat with your hands or use disposable ware, that’s a different story). Responsibility is a basic tenant of adulthood. Washing dishes is a simple way to remind you of responsibility. You have used that dish or utensil, and you have to pay the price: washing it. By washing your own dishes, you are being responsible for your own mess. When you don’t wash you own dishes, you push responsibility and adulthood aside.
It may seem trivial and oversimplified, but a responsibility is a responsibility, no matter how small. Sometimes there might not be time to wash your plate because you are running behind schedule. Ok. Hurry up and get back on schedule. At least keep the dish soaked so it won’t be hard to clean later. And later should be within the same day.
Other sanitary complications that come with putting off dirty dishes for later include attraction of insects and bugs, foul odors from the kitchen sink, and promotion of bacterial growth. Other social complications include decreasing amount of friends and family visits and subtraction of husband/wife/life partner points. Avoid all these complications and just wash your dishes.