Ok so I’ve been here closer to 15 weeks but then I would lose the relation to the iconic Kate Hudson and Matthew McCounahey movie that became “the” RomCom of the the early 2000’s.
As mentioned previously, I thought I would be not having to use my paid vacation days this week and just leave early: 840-1130. Well…something must have gotten lost in translation because other than the administration office I’m the only one here. So I figured since I already made myself a portable cup of Earl Grey tea, put my face on, and dragged myself to school (yeah yeah It’s a 5 minute walk) I should at least get some stuff done.
So last time I mentioned debating between Seoul and Busan.
With GEPIK you have the option to resign with your school (if they offer-if they hate you….haha I guess ignore this) after a year, and gain a lot of perks-more vacation days, and a raise.
However, if you’re like me, and you want to leave you lost all of that.
I really do like my school. Despite the weird cancellation of classes and the sometimes boring afternoons, I am treated well, like my co workers, and have grown to really care about my students. I don’t mind living close to school that much, and the neighborhood is very residential so I don’t really feel like I’m in the city. Bijeon-dong was built with being a residential community in mind. But that does present a problem at time to people like myself who does not have a car or a family.
I have to take the bus to get to downton (DOWNTOWN OMG too much BBC) Pyeongtaek and then from there take the train or subway.
For someone who lived in Philadelphia for over 4 years, i cannot express the importance of Public transportaion.
The city itself isn’t bad, but Seoul and Busan both have an accessibility to so much more.
My initial plan, like so many, was to have a position in Seoul. But then it switched to Suwon, which was why I chose Pyeongtaek. It’s closeness to both Suwon and Seoul was part of it’s appeal as well as already having a stable friend already here.
But now living here for over 3 months, I’ve come to realize what things I really want.
So when my contract is up I want to move to Seoul or Busan.
But the question is: which one?
I’ve only been to Busan for a grand total of 2 days, and one of them was spent inside a concert hall/escaping from rain.
The main appeal of Busan is to be closer to W. I consider her my bff here in Korea and I miss having easy access (that sounds soooo wrong!) to my friend. I had been used to hanging out with my friends every day after work so now I find myself alone most of the weekdays. I do like the alone time but sometimes it’s “too much” alone time. I never thought I would say those words.
Another appeal of Busan is the city has a subway system. When I was with W we traveled all over Busan with it. Shopping was easy as well as getting to and from the HUGE train station which also houses a KTX line.
Although I hadn’t really been able to see much of Busan, the air felt cleaner, and it definetely gave off a different feel from all the cities up North. From what I did see, it was very pretty and seemed like a really nice place to live.
It’s that much further away from Seoul. While yes there is a KTX train to Seoul, it’s expensive and isn’t as frequent and cheap as my train from Pyeongtaek. The only other choice is the bus for about 3 hours.
Summer gets very crowded. With the Busan film festival and tourists, W told me the cities and beaches are filled with people.
Because Busan is the second largest city, the living quarters are much smaller. W not only has a 1 room/studio but her kitchen is super narrow with two small windows and a typical “korean bathroom”.
I’ve learned that while my apartment is older (it has keys whereas everyone else has the super cool code locks-jealous!) it is much larger and I’m very lucky. Now having this large apartment and western bathroom, I’m not sure I’m going to want to downsize….especially now that I’ve had to buy things to “fill up” my empty space and walls.
Overall: While there are more pros, the cons do weight heavier. I plan on visiting W in two weeks so we will see if I can get a better feel for Busan.
I spend almost every weekend in Seoul so I’ve gotten a decent grasp of the city.
By now, I’m super familiar with it’s subway system. I have yet to use the bus, but I hardly use my own buses. While the subway isn’t the easiest or most logical thing in the world, it does get you where you need to be while also having fabulous underground shopping. It also has easy access to both Incheon and Gimpo. I find that I now can get around Seoul comfortably, especially the area around Seoul station.
Because Seoul is an international cosmopolitan city, it has that international appeal as well. While I don’t spend much time in the foreign districts like Itaewon, I can buy the international products I need-spices, random American brands-\. Being in Seoul would make that slice of home I miss a little more accessable and not force me to drag it an hour south to get it home.
Also there is a more wide variety of food options. Here in Pyeongtaek there are some international options, but nothing like Seoul. Also things in Pyeongtaek definetly shutdown at a certain time, while I find that Seoul always has something open.
There isn’t really a park here in Pyeongtaek to relax-but Seoul has Yeouido and the Namsan area if you are looking for a “nature” retreat, or just wanting to sit outside and picnic. Coming from a suburb area in Maryland, there was never a lack of wooded areas. So while I enjoy the city I would like a place to retreat to. Yeouido and Namsan are perfect. Many people bring tents and food and drinks (IT’S LEGAL TO DRINK IN PUBLIC!) and make a day of it.
Going hand in hand with Namsan, there is just so much to see in Seoul. The historical land marks live hand in hand with the modern city while the city is surrounded by mountains. It’s really a city unlike any other and it’s why I fell in love with it.
Another large part is that it’s Seoul-major events seem to happen in two places-Seoul or Busan. But all the concerts W and I have attended have been in Seoul. It would make life easier to live in the city and not have to worry about making the trip up to Seoul, stay in a guesthouse, and then worry about getting a train home.
Like with Busan, even more so I bet, the living quarters would be small. I have a friend, J, who lives there now but her job is a “baller” job so I think her apartment is bigger than normal. But as I mentioned above, I’m now accustomed to my “larger western” apartment.
The main appeal of Busan is a negative of Seoul. While I wouldn’t be that much further away, and there would be the benefit of a KTX station, I wouldn’t be closer to W. However I would have J and my Pyeongtaek friends come up to Seoul a lot. And with W making monthly trips to Seoul I guess it wouldn’t be too too bad.
Overall: It seems like I’m pretty biased towards Seoul….but I’m counting this as it’s close to where I live and I travel there so much. But I’ve been leaning towards Seoul ever since my first visit and fell in love.
I think with more travelling to Busan and spending a little more time here will help me make my decision…even if it seems that my mind is made up.
Now I did promise an ice cream review!
So Baskin Robbins is a decent chain back in the USA, but here in Korea it’s huge! And rightfully so. The flavors here change and are innovative so it’s not just your average flavors. Yes they have the iconic mint choc chip we all love but in Korea there is a flavor called Shooting Star….OMG
It’s “soda flavored” ice cream whatever that means. It’s white and blue and red-i guess the blue and white are the soda flavors, and then there is a red “jelly” like strand in it as well. But the best part,,,,is the blue pop rocks. Yes you heard right. Blue pop rocks in ice cream. It makes the entire flavor right there. Now I love ice cream but I’ve never been one to buy “packed” take out ice cream because the grocery store was good enough for me. However, now the Baskin Robbins guy knows me as the “english speaking customers”. And when you buy take out ice cream, you get it in a really nice baskin robbins bag with dry ice to keep it cold. Basically getting ice cream in Korea Baskin Robbins is the best. Not to mention they give you these cute little spoons as well!
Wow this post ended up being longer, and a day that I don’t even have to be here….also the humor was lacking. I apologize.
Next time on the Real Archives of Black and White dog of Korea: Lotte world review, learning that I have officially passed the age of clubbing in Hongdae, Namsan Cable Car fun, and trying to deal with my shopping addiction.