August 5, 2016
I finally met Lenka and Chris, the other flat mate and my Airbnb host who share this flat where I am staying.
With my odd sleeping and eating time and no-living room structure of this place, we don’t really get to see each other much even if there are four of us here. Chris just came back from his holiday in Africa and he got his room back from his brother James. Lenka works in a restaurant until very late so she is not very much around. They both sound very nice and easy going, and most importantly all of us keep the place very clean. That’s very important when you share a place.
Talking about cleanliness reminds me of my last housemate in Australia. He was doing doctor’s course in Aquaculture, and he was seriously obsessed with cleanliness. I am quite obsessed too, but he was really serious and he even thought that I wasn’t clean enough to share a house with him. He washed all his clothes with hot water, washed his hands every time he touched something, had a shower twice a day, put the clothes of the day straight into the laundry basket etc. But one thing I never understood – how could he walk around the house in his shoes that he had been wearing all day out there? If he washed his clothes after wearing one day because they got dirty from outside air, then shoes were even dirtier because he didn’t wash shoes every day. He even walked in his bedroom with shoes on without hesitation.
Wearing shoes inside of home is something I will never do nor understand. I know where it came from. The West has had beds and chairs in the house from long time ago, people do not sit on the floor and the floor is cold in winter, so they simply had their shoes on until they climb onto bed at night (though I’ve seen many who were sitting on bed with shoes on in Western movies). But when you have babies, you leave them crawl on the floor with their bare hands and they suck their fingers after that. Their hands must be full of bacteria from dirt which were brought in by shoes, and they put them in their mouths!
There are a lot of things that I don’t like in Asian culture, but no-shoes-indoor culture is one of the things I love the most. I always tried to keep shoes right at the door wherever I lived, but it’s not very clear cuz there is no specific room to leave shoes in Western homes, plus it could be rude to ask friends to take their shoes off when I invite them. So I figured, the best way to live in Western homes as an obsessed clean Korean is to clean and disinfect the floor as often as possible.
How do I do now when I live in a shared flat with others in Western culture? I have my flipflops on except in bed, and never sit on the floor.