Korean cities are the most convenient places I’ve ever been. For the past two years I lived in an area named Bundang in the city of Seongnam. The specific name of my neighbourhood was called Jeongja-dong. It is an upscale area with some of the most expensive apartment buildings in the country. With this type of luxury comes convenience. Actually, it’s not only the luxurious areas that are convenient, every neighbourhood that I visited was equipped with countless restaurants, stores, medical clinics, dentists, banks, you name it, they have it.
I lived in a building called Intellige Officetel (http://intellige.co.kr/main.asp) . An “offictel” is a kind of cross between a hotel room and an office. It’s an apartment building full of apartments that for the most part (not all) consist of one room, like a studio or bachelor. On my floor, most of the rooms were being used as offices during the day. The rooms had a kitchen, a bathroom, and then your bed in the opposite corner. It was small but comfortable. My wife and I adjusted quite easily.
Probably the reason that it was an easy adjustment was how close we were to anything we needed. On the second and third floor of our building was a bank, a dry cleaner, a CU (a 7 Eleven equivalent), a gym, five restaurants, a salon, a bakery, a clothing store, a dentist, even a Yankee Candle store. We literally never had to leave our building to get anything we really needed. If there was something we couldn’t get on the second or third floor, we had a regular sized grocery store that was a three minute walk away.
This type of lifestyle where everything you need is at your fingertips becomes very easy to get used to. In fact, it makes things very frustrating when you move back to Canada, unless you live downtown in a major city of course. Even then though, I’d find it hard to believe that you could have all of those things mentioned above be just an elevator ride away.