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A Washing Machine and a Crazy Korean Grandmother

Knock. Knock.

I’m sitting in bed on a Sunday morning, unwrapping the McDonalds cheeseburger that was just delivered to my apartment, wearing no pants, and trying to nurse a mild hangover when I hear a knock on my door. I wonder briefly who this could be, and thinking it is the McDonalds delivery man who’d forgotten something, ask Tara to answer it.

Seconds later a very small, very old Korean woman is standing next to my bed.

“Anyeonghaseyo,” she says.

I stare at her blankly. She repeats it two more times before I realize she wants me to answer.

“Anyeonghaseyo,” I mumble back as Tara appears in the room.

“Why did you let her in?” I ask. Tara had put up a fight. But the small Korean grandmother, in a way only they could, pushed her way past. And now she stands in my bedroom on a Sunday morning.

This isn’t this woman’s first time in my apartment. She dropped by a few months ago to complain to me, in Korean that I didn’t fully understand, that my washing machine was leaking water onto her balcony. I had nodded in agreement during that previous meeting, stopped the washing machine during its cycle, and she left. Tara and I have spent the last two months doing our laundry late at night, after this woman’s probable bed time.

But now she’s back. She motions toward the balcony door and the releases a string of Korean on me. I have no idea what she’s saying, but I guess it once again has something to do with the washing machine that sits on that balcony. She maneuvers past the pizza box from the previous night’s dinner and empty wine bottles next to the bed (embarrassing) and opens the door. I watch, pulling the covers up more and more trying to hide my pant-less state, as she starts pointing to the spicket next to the washing machine.

I glance at my burger and put my pounding head into my hands. I just want her to leave. I want to continue watching X Factor and eat my lunch. My lunch that is getting colder as the minutes pass.

She starts talking again. In a language I don’t understand. Does she not see the blank stare I give her each time she opens her mouth? She begins to pantomime face washing. She wants a hand towel?

I reach out from the bed and grab a pair of leggings lying on the floor which I then put on while she is standing less than a foot away from me. From her expression it is apparent that I’m the only one who finds this strange. Once dressed, I walk to the hamper and pull out a dirty towel. She is momentarily appeased and goes out to the balcony to work her magic on this water problem.

She spends about 15 minutes out there, while Tara and I run around the apartment trying to make it look like less of a frat house, and then comes inside asking for a cord. We don’t have one. She leaves to go downstairs and get one from her apartment and makes it very clear that I am not to lock the door when she leaves. I resist the urge and when she returns I let her finish what she started.

The crazy lady’s finished work.

I pull a fry out of the bag. It is stiff and cold. I down a couple of ibuprofen and look at Tara. She’s getting increasingly angry. I’m too tired to feel and real emotion about the situation. I just want it to end.

The woman comes back inside and starts asking for something else.

“Upseoyo,” I say. I don’t have any. I hope she will take this as a sign to leave. But, not surprisingly, she doesn’t.

And then I hear it. Tara starts yelling for her to go.  She puts on her shoes and hesitantly leaves the apartment while saying something about not using the washing machine anymore. I say okay for what seems like millionth time and lock the door as she finally leaves.

“Is this woman bat shit crazy?” I ask Tara as I finally take a bite of my burger and sink back into bed thankful that she’s gone.

Hours later Tara puts a load of dirty clothes in the machine, dumps a cupfull of detergent on them, and presses start.

Nothing happens.

This crazy lady has disconnected the water supply. The washing machine no longer works.

What would you have done if this crazy lady barged into your house? Have you had any experiences abroad that left you in a state of disbelief? Let me know in the comments! 

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15 Comments Post a comment
  1. What!?! I thought she was going to fix it… Hand-washing the laundry from now on?
    Audrey | That Backpacker recently posted..The Ways In Which I’ve TravelledMy Profile

    November 5, 2012
    • Amanda Slavinsky #

      I KNOW! I complained to my school and a new washer will be delivered on Friday! Yay!

      November 7, 2012
  2. Wow. That’s crazy! What did you do??

    I really have no idea what I would have done. Maybe I would have called my landlord– but it’s really difficult for me to explain a situation in Korean over the phone, so I probably would have called my co-teacher and felt really guilty for interrupting.

    On a different note, last year my air conditioner was leaking. I had to call my landlord to fix it. She came over, and while the maintenance guy looked at it, she opened my refrigerator and peered around and asked me who all the people in my photos were. Then proceeded to tell the maintenance guy– “Hey! This is her mom!” Since I would be gone over the weekend, she asked me to give her my key code, which I thought was strange, but my co teacher said was normal.

    So I came back to my apartment on a Sunday after a Buddhist templestay, opened my door, and sure enough, my landlord was laying on my bed watching the guy fix my AC. But she brought me some homemade bancheon and ice cream, so I wasn’t too annoyed– and my air conditioner was soon fixed, not disconnected entirely. :/
    Sarah @ Mapping Words recently posted..Hiking, Gochujang and Buddhists with swordsMy Profile

    November 5, 2012
    • Amanda Slavinsky #

      I complained to my school on Monday. It would’ve been one thing if she worked for the building, but she was just some woman who lived downstairs.

      Your story had me laughing out loud. At least she brought treats :)

      November 7, 2012
  3. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that! I would go to your super if you have one cause that shit is not okay. crazy adjummas.
    Elizabeth recently posted..elephant islandMy Profile

    November 5, 2012
    • Amanda Slavinsky #

      I went to my school and complained. New washer that is not on my porch will be coming my way!

      November 7, 2012
  4. Oh, I’d be so annoyed! They always come and want to check random stuff around my apartment at the worst times! I usually get really quiet and not answer the door. Other times when people have randomly come in it’s always a mess inside and it’s so awkward! I feel for you, and for that burger!!
    Jessica Wray recently posted..#OnlyIn: A Friday Photo SeriesMy Profile

    November 7, 2012
    • Amanda Slavinsky #

      I was far past annoyed! If it had been someone who worked for my building or school it would have been one thing, but she was just some random woman who lived downstairs! And yes, they always do seem to come when it is so messy…I’m sure they think all foreigners are slobs ;)

      November 7, 2012
  5. Hahaha I LOVE this…but I LOATHE it at the same time. I mean, she just shut OFF your water supply for the washing machine?! Seriously. You should’ve gone and knocked on her door and dropped off a whole load of laundry for her to do after that whilst babbling at her in English.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Koreans, Take A Deep BreathMy Profile

    November 10, 2012
    • Amanda Slavinsky #

      It was seriously one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever experienced. If you just barged into someone else’s home in the US, the end result would’ve been much different. I like your idea, but luckily, as a positive, my school finally gave me a new washer after nine months of complaining!

      November 11, 2012
  6. Mackenzie #

    This made me laugh so much hahah.

    November 19, 2012
    • Amanda Slavinsky #

      During this whole ordeal, Tara said she wished you were here because you would’ve bitched her out and immediately kicked her out.

      November 19, 2012
  7. That is so bizarre! But at least you’ve got a funny story to tell at parties, right?
    Edna recently posted..Baku to the FutureMy Profile

    December 3, 2012
    • Amanda Slavinsky #

      It was one the strangest experiences of my life, and one that I will be retelling for years…

      December 4, 2012

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