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In a Seoul Whirlwind

Moving chaos

It’s back to reality for us. Our year long trip around the world has finally come to an end. I thought we’d experience some post trip let-down, people usually do after an extended journey, but frankly we just haven’t had the time.

We’re back in Seoul and it’s been quite the whirlwind. Moving house, looking for work and reconnecting with old friends and family has kept us jumping, never mind the insane pace of life in this uber-modern, 24 hour mega-city.

Before we took off on our global adventure, we’d lived in the decidedly ex-pat Itaewon neighbourhood of Seoul. Upon our return, we wanted to integrate more into the culture and society, (and to be honest, live in a more modern home), so we moved our life south of the Han River and into contemporary Seoul.

Han River

A Quick Seoul Geography Lesson: The city is basically bisected by the mighty kilometre wide Han River. The areas north of the River are considered to be the more historical parts of Seoul. This is where you find traditional hanok style housing and the 5 palaces of the Chosun Dynasty. South of the Han River or Gangnam (Gang means river and Nam means south, so south of the river in Korean, for all you Gangnam Style fans out there), is the modern part of Seoul. Forty years ago, Gangnam was nothing but agricultural fields, but since then, it’s developed into the most affluent, dynamic, and influential area of both Seoul and South Korea as a whole. It’s south of the River that you find modern apartments, huge malls, commercial complexes and the powerful chaebols (LG, Samsung, Hyundai).

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Living on this side of the River requires some adjustment. We used to live on the 3rd floor of a 3 story walk-up, surrounded by other similarly sized houses (called villas in Seoul), with a view of Namsan, the mountain in the middle of the city. Now, we’re on the 33rd floor of a building that’s part of a huge complex of apartment buildings. We don’t even have keys for our front door here. It’s pass card or code only. Sometimes, I look out the window and feel like I’m in some sort of dystopian reality, but these apartments are, in fact, very modern and comfortable. Thousands of families live in these buildings.

Seoul Apartments

We still have 9 months of travel adventures to write about, and we’re committed to doing it. It just might take a bit longer than anticipated. After all, we’ve got important things to deal with in our new house, like figuring out what all these buttons on our toilet mean…

Toilet buttons

Anyone wanna take a shot at deciphering this for us? ๐Ÿ˜‰

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Good luck with the translation. Can’t wait to read all about your adventures ๐Ÿ™‚

    March 19, 2013
    • Good thing there’s a few pics to help out! ๐Ÿ™‚

      March 19, 2013
  2. I’m so excited to see you soon! Good luck getting settled and all that and watch out for the button that shoots water up your butt. If you press it on accident it is quite the ordeal.. or thrill, whichever you’re in to. ^^

    March 19, 2013
    • YES! Soon soon!! Lol…I think Agri accidently pressed that button already. Not sure if it was an ordeal or a thrill for him though. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      March 19, 2013
  3. Oh, I miss my Korean toilet so much! (Actually it was Japanese). Once you figure them out, they’re amazing. The first time I tried to flush one, I pressed the wrong button and watched as a little nozzle came out and proceeded to shoot water into my face and all over the room for about five minutes until I managed to find the button that turned it off. It didn’t help that I was in a bar in Itaewon and pretty drunk at the time.

    March 20, 2013
    • Lol! I think there are many foreigners who have had that same experience, drunk, in Itaewon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So far, I’m totally digging the heated seat…winter doesn’t seem to want to let go completely just yet!

      March 20, 2013
  4. I encountered my first toilet like that in the Narita airport. After pushing what I thought was the flushing button, I was suprised by a loud robotic noise that I later found out was a result of my pushing the ‘flushing noise’ button. If I hadn’t just emptied my bladder, I might have needed a fresh pair of pants! Good luck!

    March 22, 2013
    • Haha, dang all those buttons!! In Korea, some of the public toilets automatically start pouring water (and making a “peeing” sound), when you sit on it. I must admit, that it has confused me on some occasions. Did I go or not? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      April 2, 2013
  5. jeseris #

    We have been back for nearly 4 (?!?!) months now and have hardly had a second to feel let down, or miss travelling or write any of our blogs. Having said that, some friends are leaving in 6 weeks and it made me want to start planning something…Welcome home and good luck with the crazy times that will follow. x

    March 30, 2013
    • Thanks! we’re glad to be back and yes, times are indeed crazy. Actually, we still feel like we’re traveling a bit. Our apartment is being renovated and we’re staying at a friend’s house and still living out of suitcases! (actually that part I don’t like so much) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Look forward to reading the rest of your blogs when you do find time to write them!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      April 2, 2013
  6. How are you guys settling in? Hope things are going well. I like the new blog look! Very clean and elegant.

    April 25, 2013
    • Thank you!! We’re settling in okay…renovations on our condo are finished now, and spring is so beautiful in Seoul. Flowers in bloom everywhere! No furniture yet though…guess that’s the next step. ๐Ÿ™‚

      April 29, 2013
  7. I’ve never been but Seoul looks incredible!

    April 28, 2013
    • Sounds like a trip is in order… ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s the perfect time of year!

      April 29, 2013

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