I am so excited to share some of my Chungdahm Apartment in Gangseo, Seoul!
After training week was completed, all successful instructors were taken to their respective branches, and new homes. I am staying in an officetel which is a multi-purpose apartment building where most new teachers are housed in South Korea. An officetel typically contains a 3 piece bathroom (sink, toilet, shower), a small kitchen, washer, and living space. They are designed so that their residents will be in close proximity to their work place. My officetel is a mere thirty second walk from the subway station, and luckily we are right on an express line, which cuts commuting time towards central Seoul in half.
My apartment is adorable, and incredibly conveniently located. The best way to go about furnishing an apartment in South Korea is by going to Homeplus, a superstore, which I would describe as a Costco/Walmart, hybrid is right next to our building. There, I was able to purchase a number of things for my apartment: a mirror, lamp, light bulbs, storage containers, rugs, cleaning supplies, as well as my first round of groceries. That place seriously has everything...a serious spread of goods and services all in one place. I'm not kidding, you can grab lunch, a bottle of wine, beauty supplies, get your dog groomed, hit the gym, and your nails done all in an afternoon at HomePlus. I even got myself a membership card. Thankfully, the previous tenant (and my lovely co-teacher) left me a lot of great items, which made "furnishing" my place a simple task. I inherited a kettle, lots of kitchen knick knacks like pots and pans, a futon, my bedside table and several cleaning tools.
Another great store to check out when looking for affordable home goods is Daiso- which is South Korea and Japan's dollar store. Our neighborhood Daiso is en route to our Chungdahm branch, which is useful for picking up teaching supplies on the way to school, such as stickers, folders, markers and organizational items. If you're looking for some cute items to make your officetell feel more "homey," you must check out a store called Butter. I was so thankful to stumble upon a Butter in Coex Mall (Line 2 Samseong Station, Exit 6), which sells all sorts of fancy goods and home decor for reasonable prices.There are so many quirky trinkets, with animal characters and funny phrases. I picked up two decorative pillows which are now adorning my futon, for around 5,000 won (around $4.50 each). So adorable- you can spend a serious amount of time in that store, it's an overload of cuteness.
These adorable pillows are from Butter, a home decor and accessories shop.
My officetel is warm and cozy. I'm on the 13th floor of a 15 story building which provides a great view of the street and surrounding area. It's located directly across from SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System), which is a national television and radio network. There are various TV shows (K dramas!) as well as newscasts that are filmed there... cue screaming Korean girls on Sunday mornings! Gosh they are an enthusiastic bunch! I'm hoping to eventually attend an interview show as studio audience.
To get a full tour of my apartment check out my video:
Housed in my apartment are other teachers from my branch, which is a ten minute walk away. There are tons of places to get food nearby- groceries, as well as restaurants and cafes, namely my favorite Caffe Bene. Right around the corner from my building is a beautiful park with a stunning little pond, as well as plenty of space to lounge with a book, have a little picnic, or sit and relax.The Han River is a 5-10 minute walk away from the building, which I have run to several times. Seoul is such a great city for staying active- all along the Han are beautiful biking/jogging paths, along with public workout equipment. In the mornings before school I've been able to get a full workout in just by heading outside, no gym membership required!
Views from the Han
I have really been amazed by the convince of our neighborhood. Everything is so compact and available. I've already sent cards through the post office, set up a bank account, and know where I can get any food I want. Ahhhh, Korea.
Gorgeous little park- right around the corner
Needless to say I am adjusting well to life living and teaching in Korea and I look forward to continuing exploring the various neighborhoods in Seoul as well as the other major cities in Korea.