I’ve already talked about how Vermont and Korea are surprisingly similar. Well, the similarities only go so far! Beyond the obvious, here are some of the ways that living in Korea is absolutely NOTHING like living in Vermont.
1. IT’S CROWDED!
Maybe that’s only because I’m in a big city, but even when we traveled to other cities and towns there were huge apartment buildings, clusters of them actually, popping up EVERYWHERE. There are tons of people here. At least by my limited Vermonter standards. It’s crowded all the time, especially at festivals and events. Way too many people for my introverted, country dwelling self.
2. Driving is crazy!
So I’m no stranger to crazy driving. I’ve driven in Boston, Jersey and through DC many times. Lets just say that most cars here have these little foam bits on them, because sometimes you brush into other cars. The roads can be very narrow, and very steep when you get to the back-roads in the city. The one way signals seem to be only a suggestion and people park wherever they can. Then there’s the motorcycles & scooters. They ignore pretty much all the traffic laws. If you thought you were safe on the sidewalks, think again, they are often there too. That being said the traffic regulations are also very strict, in particular as it relates to pedestrians. Pedestrians do have the right of way and that is (mostly) taken very seriously by all drivers.
3. Awesome public transportation!
Vermont doesn’t have such great public transportation. Most cities and towns are spread out, so even if there’s a bus stop in your town you still have to get there. Here there is the bus system, an awesome safe & reliable metro and of course tons of taxis. You can get anywhere you need to go, and the best thing is you can use your same card to pay all of them. Just swipe your card and go!
4. People are well dressed.
Vermont isn’t the fashion capital of the world. Unless maybe you count flannel and ski/snowboarding wear. I dress in a typical Vermont manner – that is to say T-shirt and jeans – and have felt under dressed in every city I’ve ever been in. City folks dress nice. Seoul is no exception and fashion is a big deal here especially for the younger folks. Everyone is in nice suits or fashionable clothes, no sweatpants or jeggings here.
5. Air Quality
Living in the city has its drawbacks and one of those is air quality. Not all of its from pollution either! Every spring, the winds bring the yellow sand down from China creating poor air quality. However, it’s not just the spring. We’ve had many poor air quality days. Most of the time it’s not that noticeable, until you leave your windows open in the nice weather. Then you get dust all over everything. I was sweeping the floors almost every day when we had the windows open. There’s a reason they tell you not to bring your white furniture when you move here: it gets dingy due to the dust.
As you might expect living in Korea has its differences. Some are good, some not so good, some just are different! These are some of the things that have stood out most for me.