From the city of Seoul to the countryside of South Korea

I am just finishing my second year of university, and since then I’ve gone back to Seoul twice during my summer/winter vacation to see my family. It’s hard, I get homesick easily for my parents, brothers, and life in general in Korea.

We’ve lived in Seoul for 3 years and just a month ago, my dad found out that his job was transferring him to the countryside of Korea (near Songtan). We’ve lived there previously before moving to Seoul, but having lived life in both the rural and suburban areas, I’m pretty sad that they’re moving back to Songtan. I’m going to miss living in Seoul.

Life in Seoul is fast-paced and very exciting (or at least, for a young person like me). The public transportation (such as the buses and subway) is very fast and efficient, making it easy to go anywhere without having to drive or invest a lot of time and money to travel. From my old house near line 4, I was a few stops away from some of the major shopping areas in Seoul (Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, Itaewon, I-Park in Yongsan Station). And life is always bustling, whether in the day or night.

Unlike the countryside, where life dulls down at around 9 or 10pm, in Seoul, the late night shopping centers start opening at that time until 4 or 5am, noraebangs are opened late, cafes are too, people are out clubbing or drinking with friends, and the city just feels so alive at night.

In the rural areas, life is much slower. There are more local groceries and businesses and definitely more elderly people around (ahjummas and ahjusshis). Transportation is also harder. To get to Seoul I’d either have to take a taxi to the subway station (compared to in Seoul when I would walk 10 minutes to get to the station) or take the bus and then transfer to the subway station, or take a local bus to go to the main bus terminal that will take me straight to Seoul. Nonetheless, it’s more of a hassle to travel, although in general South Korea’s public transportation system is really great. At least they have buses and subway stops to nearly everywhere in Korea that are easy to use, it just takes more time to travel and effort to travel when you’re in the countryside.

I guess there are a few advantages to living in the countryside. First, the local weekly markets are really nice and inexpensive. It’s definitely cheaper to buy food, clothes, and supplies in the rural areas. The vegetables and fruits are really fresh and cheaper than buying them in Seoul since these are from local farms in the area. Also, I noticed that stationary stores (the places that sell pens, notebooks, phone charms, and other little cute trinkets) are way cheaper too and still just as cute and fun. Even restaurants are also inexpensive and actually taste a lot better.

I remember in Songtan, about 4 years ago when we lived there, there was this really delicious pizza and chicken delivery place. I thought it was a chain restaurant but I hadn’t seen any in Seoul, and also, for some reason there were no pizza+chicken delivery places in Seoul unlike in the countryside. It still baffles me why there wasn’t any but now that I think about it, the pizza+chicken places have faded out because it’s too expensive and less profitable to sell both pizza and chicken rather than one or the other. When I come back home (well, to my new home) in Songtan for the summer, I hope that delivery place is still there or one that sells both pizza and chicken.

I guess I got a bit too carried away with talking about food, I can’t help it since Songtan had some really delicious, inexpensive food places compared to Seoul. Even the Korean BBQ meat (samgyeopsal) is super cheap, mmmmmmm.

It’s also nice because when we lived in Songtan before, I have memories of walking with my mom to buy groceries and other necessities at the local supermarkets. In Seoul, we would just call and have our groceries delivered from the Lotte Mart across the street or my mom would actually drive to E-Mart. All these places are always crowded with lots of people and it can be stressful and overwhelming sometimes. You get used to it, but that doesn’t mean it feels any better or more comfortable. It will be nice to spend some quality time with my mom in a relaxed area by walking together to the market and buying things without feeling rushed.

These are a few differences I’ve noticed about living in both Seoul and Korea’s countryside,. It’s not everything and I feel like I didn’t go too in-depth, so if there’s anything you’d like to know more about feel free to ask or leave a comment!


Winter Break

A lot has happened over winter break for me.

First, due to unexpected circumstances and a small (really not that big of a deal) family emergency, I went back to Seoul for the winter break.

I was only there for about a month, but the time flew by so fast that it felt like I was only there for two weeks or so.

I got to do a lot like shopping, meeting up with old friends from high school, noraebang, clubbing, etc. I was especially happy to be with my family again.

Even though it had been only a few months since I last saw my family, my little brothers seemed to have grown up so much! I still can’t believe my youngest brother will be in middle school next year, he still seems to tiny and like a baby to me.

Anyways, it was really nice to see my old friends again. I was reunited with two of my very close friends that I hadn’t seen in over a year, since I had graduated from high school. It was so great to see them again and catch up and talk like old times.

Especially one who is my guy best friend (who is also my girl best friend’s boyfriend) so we gossiped a bit about their relationship and reminiscing about old times of our high school trio.

I did a lot of karaoke in the beginning when I arrived. But after two weeks I actually got tired of singing because all the places have the same songs and it gets boring after awhile to do it too much in such a short amount of time.

I also did soooo much shopping. It was mostly makeup and accessories though, because for clothing, I needed summer clothing for the year-round hot weather of Miami, while in Korea it’s currently winter and still very cold. The boutiques only sold sweaters, heavy coats, and other winter clothing. I had no use for those and I couldn’t find any t-shirts or shorts so I didn’t bother with clothing shopping. Only very little clothing shopping.

Anyways, I will eventually do winter break makeup haul review later ~ I have the pictures and everything, I just need to stop being lazy and actually type up the review.

I also had some very nice encounters during winter break with some cute Korean guys 😉 I met them at an English cafe (not at the same time though, separately)  and from there, we went out a few times to grab dinner and chat for hours in a cafe. It was a lot of fun to talk with male Koreans and hear their questions about America and their thoughts and opinions about certain issues, such as in politics, music taste, relationships, etc. We are just friends, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they are cute! hehehe

I thought I was adjusting well to my life in Miami, but being back in Seoul for the summer, and shortly later for the winter, I don’t know how I will survive these next few months. I want school to be over so I can go back to Korea for the summer and see all my friends (new and old) again! And the difference of an American and Korean lifestyles and cultures are just so huge, I really do prefer Korea over America.

I might need to make a whole separate post about that since there’s a lot I’d like to talk about with the differences of living in the USA and in Korea (more specifically, Seoul. Although I could also talk about living in the rural side of Korea since I also lived in the countryside before we moved to Seoul). Anyways, I will consider making a post about this or not.

So that was my winter break! I’m back in the US now for university, spring semester. I hope it passes by quickly and smoothly so I can see my family and friends again in Seoul!