Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Apartment and a Walk to School

A little upgrading has been happening from time to time in my apartment, and I thought I would show you some of the latest improvements.

The one I am happiest about is the new bed that I inherited from one of the departing teachers at the end of February. Let me show you!

Isn't it all kinds of awesome! Having a regular sized bed really helps me feel more at home in this place. For some reason, although the twin bed was fine, it really felt so temporary. Also, now that I have a queen sized bed, and a mattress for the floor I can entertain guests! **hint**hint** Don't miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Asia! As an added bonus the dollar is really strong here, so you'll find everything soo cheap! Whoo hoo! Book your spaces now, they're filling up quick! :) hehehe...

Aside from the bed other noteworthy (but not quite as big) changes include the plants that I bought from HomePlus and potted myself, and a wall hanging that Andrew Bown brought me back from Australia, that is currently my only decoration that is not Christmas themed. My mother says that I must be related to Aunt Shelia. Hopefully she reads this!

Although the route I take to get to school everyday seems a little mundane to me these days, I remember finding it fascinating when I got here first, but was too shy to take pictures, already standing out as much as I do. I thought I might put up a few for you so you can get an idea of the area of Seoul that I live in. Gangseo-gu is the name of the district of Seoul that I live in, and although it is pretty much the suburbs you will see that there's not much that you and I would consider suburban about it. I'm not sure how far outside of Seoul you would have to go to see single family homes like we are so used to, but I haven't seen it yet.

Ricki has been asking for months to see the view outside the window in my apartment, so I am going to start with that. Here are a few pictures that I took for her the other day.

That's the view out the left and right sides of the window respectively and then a view of the street below. Even though the street is a dead end just past the left side of this picture, it is always sooo busy!

Next, here's what my apartment looks like from the hallway. Followed by a thrilling view of the elevator! Hooray!

Living in a house my whole life I was pretty amused to find myself living in a place where not only did I take an elevator to get to and from my apartment, but I was also living on the 7th floor! There aren't even that many buildings at home with that many floors, but here tall buildings are much more common than short ones. I guess they have so many people to cram into such a small space one can hardly blame them.

The rest of my walk to school can actually be quite interesting at times. Selling things on the side of the road is very common here, and I walk past soo many street vendors on my ten minute walk to school. That is pretty neat in and of itself, but amazing considering I live in one of the slower and more boring parts of Seoul. There are people here selling anything you can imagine on the side of the road. Food, to electronics, to household supplies and even a mobile dollar store with everything lined up in baskets on the side of the road.

The first thing I see when I walk out of my building and head towards school is HomePlus, a huge department store right next to my apartment building. You can get almost everything there, although you'll pay a little more than if you shop around. It's pretty much gigantic, a lot bigger than any single store in St. John's I would think. Perhaps not bigger than department stores in other place.

I guess with everything said and done, it makes sense that the department stores here would be so big, with such a high concentration of people in such a small place. There are so many apartment buildings here, and where they are they are very concentrated. If I hadn't been so dazed on my way into the city from the airport I would have taken more pictures, because the horizon here is very interesting. It looks like a normal city for the most part with average sized buildings, but then all along the horizon there are pockets of a dozen or more high-rise apartment buildings. I'll take a picture when I see a good example for you some time soon. I have a few good pictures of apartment buildings, but none that really show the horizon the way that I would like to.

The next thing I saw on the particular day that I went out to take pictures was convenient, because it was the bus I take on rainy days, or when I'm feeling lazy. I take this bus pretty often, so I thought it deserved a picture and a spot on my blog. Here it is.

Isn't she a beaut!

As you can see there's a little bit of construction going on around where I live. They're putting in a new subway line right next to my house which I am finding pretty exciting. It is due to open in May, and will take us from where we live, pretty much right into the centre of the city. That will make doing summer time touristy things all the more easy!

Here are a few intersections and a few apartment buildings, so you can see this concrete city that I'm up against here! There are some parts of the city that aren't so bad and also, nothing living is turning green quite yet, so the whole thing is looking pretty bleak. I'll have to take a few more pictures once summer is here!

Everywhere you look in this place there are people, buildings, cars, apartments... its amazing!

The last part of the journey is of course the destination, which for me is school! Aside from the classrooms and the kids that I have already showed you the school also has a staffroom which is my first destination of the day. Its pretty crowded, and here's what it looks like!

That concludes another fascinating insight into the life of Laura in Korea! Stay tuned for more fabulous updates to come! :)

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