So my friends and family know that I've basically had a hate-hate relationship with hot water in this apartment since I got here. I was told my water heater was new/had been recently replaced.
Or something. I don't really care anymore.
At first, I thought it was just my ineptitude. You see something like this:
And you just think, "Okay. I must be doing something wrong because I can't read it."
The power button on the top right is pretty easy to figure out: you hit it, things light up. You hit it again, all lights disappear.
Underneath the knob is a switch. The left side heats both the floor and the water (SUPPOSEDLY!), and the right side turns on just the water (SUPPOSEDLY!).
The large dial is the setting for the floor heat (with settings for each season), and the little lever on the bottom right is the timing cycle for heating the water (SUPPOSEDLY). As the lever sits now, the heater is on, but I am "out of the house" so it will not heat the water over and over when it sees the temperature dropping.
The green light means that the system is operational. Now here's how my first three months went: 1) Turn on the water in the shower, bathroom sink, and kitchen sink full blast. 2) Leave water running for 2-5 minutes until a red light appears next to the green light. The Korean translates to something like "examination" or "check". 3) This light eventually shuts off. 4) If I was lucky, my water heater would turn on. If not, I proceeded to spend the next 1-1.5 hours turning the water on and off. 5)Eventually, the best light in the world (far right) would turn green ("operational") and I would have a 3 minute shower in scalding hot water.
Which would freeze before I finished rinsing the soap off.
My wonderful co-worker called the apartment a few weeks in. They said it was normal.
Fast forward two and half miserable months. After spending 3 hours attempting to get hot water on a Wednesday, I gave up and decided to try again the next morning. I spent another 1.5 hours in the morning before I got my 3 minutes of scalding hot pain/bliss.
So I explained to my co-worker again and told her exactly what I did, how the lights came on (when they came on, etc.). The red "examination" light seemed odd to her so she called the apartment and scheduled someone to come visit me at 5PM that day after school.
I rushed home, they took the control panel off the wall, looked at the water heater, turned various faucets on and off, tightened some things so that it would work momentarily, but they said it would happen again so they needed to replace something.
The next day they call my co-worker and say that they'll have someone at my house that day to replace things.
Well. They replaced everything. Brand new water heater, brand new control panel.
I can turn on my sink and two seconds later I can wash my face and it's not numb.
I can actually wash my dishes in running hot water instead of letting them amass, boiling several liters of water in a hot pot, and then pouring that water into a basin so I can do a massive cleaning.
If I want to clean my spoon after I use it, there is hot water.
If I want to wash my hands in the morning, I don't have to worry about frostbite.
If I want to clean a vegetable, I don't have to stop every five seconds so my fingers don't freeze.
IF I WANT TO TAKE A SHOWER, I CAN TAKE A SHOWER WITHOUT HOLDING MY BREATH.
Hold on. I need to repeat that.
I CAN TAKE HOT SHOWERS. HOT. SHOWERS. GLORIOUS HOT WATER.
(Provided it still scalds me and probably removes a few layers of skin, but I can work with that. A little nudging of the handle and I'm into lobster-red-but-still-retaining-skin territory.)
Forget the 14th being used to commemorate couples for Valentines, or peoples' birthdays, or any other nonsense. The 14th of every month will now be reserved to celebrate water that does not make you cry (which is ironic since tears are basically water).