Have you thanked your water heater today?

The humble water heater – essential and yet unappreciated.  I hadn’t really thought much about water heaters before I came to Korea.  If I wanted hot water in Canada, I turned on the tap.

My life in Korea has become (sorry Charles Dickens) a Tale of Two Bathrooms.  Our hero Summer Bathroom, is airy and pleasant.  Water is both hot and plentiful; bathing is a joyous occasion with Summer Bathroom.  I’m quite certain I hear a chorus of angels every time I open Summer Bathroom’s door.

Winter Bathroom, our villain is the complete opposite.  As the walls and floor are nothing but cement and tiles, the sub-zero temperatures outside make Winter Bathroom cruelly cold.  The ventilation fan has been screwed into the window frame, making it impossible to close the window.  Winter Bathroom’s temperatures hover between 6-12C.  The only chorus I hear when I open Winter Bathroom’s door is the pop-pop-pop of my body exploding in goosebumps.

Enter our villain’s sidekick, the water heater.

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As the seasons changed, and the temperatures outside dropped, so did the water temperature.  The water in my shower isn’t icy cold, but it certainly isn’t even remotely approaching warm.  I investigated all the wires, pipes and hoses coming out of the water heater.  Everything seemed to be attached.

I attempted to decipher the control panel.

IMG_3903At first I thought the red numbers indicated temperature but they changed constantly – 55, 23, 72, 18 – perhaps my water heater control panel was telling me next week’s winning lottery numbers.

I called my new landlord.  He came, turned on the tap, and out gushed steaming hot water.  He left, the water turned cold.  I called my co-teacher.  She came, and so did the hot water. ARGH!  Damn you, Winter Bathroom!

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I taped up the window.

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And invested in bathroom slippers and a stool.

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The slippers keep my feet off the icy floor, and by crouching on the stool, I can get maximum coverage from the chilly stream pouring from my shower head.  I think I can set new landspeed records for hair washing.

I realize of course, that this is a first world problem.  I am blessed to have not only an unlimited supply of clean water, but a bathroom all to myself to bathe in. Hence the mantra I force out between clenched teeth as I shower:
[Gasp!] At least I have water. At least [shudder] I have …. dear God it’s cold….water.[shiver shiver, chatter chatter]  At least….

Once I’m relatively clean, I wrap myself in 180000 towels and lie on my apartment floor.  Whatever inadequacies my water heater possesses in the shower department, it is certainly well-endowed in the apartment heating area.  My floor heats up to near tropical levels.  Pure, unadulterated bliss.

As I lie on the floor defrosting, I dream of spring.  I know that as the seasons change, and the temperatures rise, so will the water temperature.  And so I wait impatiently for the return of Summer Bathroom.  I have aspirations of looking like a boiled lobster.

And so today, as you wash your hands in warm water, or prepare to step into a steaming tub, think of me crouched pitifully on my shower stool, and spare a grateful thought for your fully-functioning water heater.  I know I will never again take a hot shower for granted. 😀

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About Carrie K

Teacher, writer, traveller. Slightly neurotic. Overly talkative. Loving life. You can also follow me on Twitter: kimchigirl72
This entry was posted in ex-pat, Korea, Life, Living abroad, teaching in Korea, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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