life in korea

Why I Love Living in Seoul

This kind of post may already be a cliche topic for Korea-based bloggers but it’s not stopping me from creating my own list specifically for this blog. Living here for more than 8 years has given me a perspective that may be uniquely mine.  Besides, I aim to tell about my “Seoul-ful” life so let’s start by appreciating this city.

High-speed internet. South Korea is known to have the fastest internet connection with connection speed more than 3 times than the global average. It’s almost a sin not to be connected and an even bigger sin if you fail to answer your kakao messages.

Systematic garbage disposal. Since I followed my husband here more than 8 years ago, I have always been in awe by the obedience of the Koreans in following waste segregation. In our apartment, there isn’t a time when there is nobody manning the garbage area. But even without these maintenance workers, waste segregation is religiously followed by Koreans.

Bookshelves full of Children’s books. This may sound trivial but as a full-time Mom, my Korean friends are all full-time Moms, too. This is a personal observation uniquely from my perspective as a full-time Mom. The first time I visited a Korean friend’s house when our firstborns were still babies, I got a big surprise when the living room was lined with bookshelves full of… baby books! How could the mommy and baby possibly read all these, I wondered. Apparently, it wasn’t an isolated case. Almost all households with children have dedicated corners with bookshelves full of baby and children’s books. Where I come from, families would only have a number of books for kids. Most of them are even textbooks from school:-). Here, a household’s books for kids is almost equivalent to a library in the Philippines. Really.

Side dishes. With side dishes alone, you will have a happy tummy already. It’s practically enough to fill you up. Korean restaurants serve several side dishes. Traditional Korean restaurants serve even more. Even Korean households eating ordinary meals have a number of side dishes on the table. And you can always ask for more.

Tipping… none. Where did the practice of tipping originate? The practice never reached South Korea.

Freebies galore. Once in Myengdong, the lady from a skin care store handing out freebies just told me to get inside the store and I’ll get those freebies she was handing out. Don’t look for any catch in there because there’s none. Some freebies are given out with or without purchase. There are stores that give out freebies only when you have purchased something. Whatever. Those are freebies and they make my day.

Parks and playgrounds. Most parks are free. These are not limited to parks with shades and benches. The Children’s Grand Park is free and an afternoon is not enough to enjoy the whole place. Playgrounds and open spaces are everywhere so living in Seoul with kids is a joy.

Safe city. I find Seoul a safe city to live in. Parents and kids freely stroll in parks even at night. Mothers confidently push strollers on side streets, subways, parks. Personally, I don’t fear for my bag to be snatched any time. I don’t fear for the safety of my kids while we are walking on the streets. I am glad the kids are growing up here.

Efficient and clean transportation. This is another thing that made an impression to me when I first came over. Buses and subways and trains are not scary places. Buses stop at designated areas. Subways are easy to navigate, never mind my perennial dread of Singil Station (I never failed to take the wrong train at the wrong lane).

Yellow buses. These yellow buses are ajumma’s best friends! Really. Life would be unimaginable without these small yellow buses picking up and dropping these little kids mornings and afternoons. Yellow buses come and go in apartment buildings driving waving cute kids. And the ajummas? We sigh in relief. We are free of the little ones for a few hours. Time to clean the house, prepare meals and occasionally lunching out with other ajumma friends:-).

These are but a few but the list do give you an idea how easy it is to love living here in Seoul. I’d been living for more than 8 years here and there’s still much more to explore. Even if I have to spend a lifetime here, I guess, there will always be things to be excited about. Such is the dynamism of living in this fast-paced city.

(transferred from my site)

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