Many people have asked about what it’s like to live in Korea. Some even ask if we have running water and proper grocery stores. The answer is yes to both, and I’ll throw in the fact that we have awesome floor heating, gas stoves, fridges, air-conditioners and beds. Although some expats teaching out here do get assigned to rural communities out in “the sticks,” Korea overall is indeed a first world country. All over Korea you can find McDonald’s, Burger King, the odd Taco Bell, Subway sandwich shops, Starbucks, a Costco here and there, not to mention Indian restaurants, Thai restaurants and amazing dollar stores from Japan called Daiso.
To paint a better picture of what an average town like mine is like, I’m preparing a two-part photo series on the life of an expat in Korea, outside of Seoul. I say outside of Seoul because I live in the neighboring province of Gyeonggi-do, so I’ll be taking photos of where I live. Plus there is lots of information available on Seoul as it’s the capital city, so why not spread some awareness on life outside the capital?
My humble town of Deokso is not cool or happening in any way, but it works for me and has everything I need. By “cool,” I mean, there is no nightlife, no local watering hole for foreigners to gather, even though there are five or six of us foreigners in this town. When we expats want to hang out, we usually meet for dinner at a number of restaurants available in Deokso or we jump on the subway as we do have a subway station too. In town, we have Korean restaurants a-plenty of course, but also a McDonalds, a Baskin Robbins, a Dunkin Doughnuts, a Thai restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, lots of fried chicken joints and countless cafes.
For nightlife, we tend to make our own. A few subway stops west of Deokso is a bigger city called Guri, where more of a foreign community exists. We often congregate there or somewhere in between all our little towns and do group dinners and drinks, sometimes wrapping up the night in a karaoke room, called “norae bangs,” where you can rent a room and sing your heart out with your friends. So even if your neighborhood is lacking in social activities, there is usually a community in a bigger, neighboring city that you can easily get to, so don’t worry if you’ve taken a job in a random town. As long as your town has a subway station, you’re not too much in the sticks and you’ll be fine. Unless of course, you’re looking for the rural experience, then by all means, go for it :)
Anyway, moving off the streets and back into the home, allow me to begin part 1 of the photo series by showcasing my humble rooftop apartment.
The view from street level, as requested. It’s not too pretty!
I’ll be joining another cooking class this weekend, so stay tuned for those results next week!