Time to time I sometimes reminisce about my experiences and my daily life in Seoul. I am not saying the lifestyle is better in Seoul than it is in Calgary and vice versa. Every place and person has a different type of lifestyle and way of living. Here is my list of experiences that I miss about Seoul and that I wish I could experience here in Calgary.
You can find convenience stores pretty easily in Seoul. There is probably one convenience store at every block. What makes convenience stores great in Seoul is that it carries pretty delicious fresh daily meals and microwavable foods that you can grab to go such as 김밥 (Kimbap), 도시락(Doshirak), and fried chicken. It is also pretty popular, especially students to even eat at the convenience store. For those who are of legal age, you can also purchase alcohol at the stores. My favourite experience is eating 라면(Ramyeon) at convenience stores and using the 라면 기계(Ramyeon Cooker).
In Calgary, convenience stores often are associated with gas stations. Convenience stores do carry fresh, microwavable and to-go meals such as hot dogs, corn dogs, and fried chicken. But you often do not see people eat in the convenience store. It is also not as easily to find a convenience store, you may have to walk a couple blocks or even drive to find one.
Food deliveries is commonly used in Seoul. You can practically get everything delivered and there are many restaurants to choose from. You can call, or download an application to place an order which makes it really simple and quick to order. While I was in Seoul, I was practically obsessed with the McDonald’s Application for McDelivery (McDonald’s delivery).
In Calgary, we have third-party delivery companies that do delivery food and some restaurants have its own delivery methods. However, the selection of restaurants is not as many compared to Seoul.
Travelling around Seoul and surrounding areas is very convenient via train, bus, or taxi. You can get around every place in Seoul with no issues. Walking is also convenient to get to places. As mentioned in my previous blog post – 10 Tips When Studying Abroad in Seoul, T-Money is a very convenient card to use when using public transportation.
In Calgary, since places are spaced out – it is more convenient to drive to places. It can get inconvenient to get to places by train, bus or walking. Sometimes there is no public transportation to get to certain areas.
One of the biggest parts of what I get nostalgic about is food. Specifically, street food stalls. They are a great option for quick meals or even for a light snack. Not only is the price of great value, it also tastes great!
In Calgary, I have only seen hot dog stands during the summer time. It is rare to see street food stalls unless it’s part of an event. However, we do have food trucks.
There are many shopping malls and boutiques in Seoul. But one shopping experience that I found which was pretty unique is the subway terminal underground shopping centres. You can find a lot of trendy fashion pieces at a reasonable price. I highly recommend you visit these subway terminal underground shopping centres such as 강남역 지하도상가 (Gangnam Station Underground Shopping Centre) and 고투몰 (Goto Mall (Gangnam Terminal Underground Shopping Centre)).
In Calgary, unfortunately the subway terminal underground shopping centres do not exist. We do have shopping malls, outlets and boutiques.
Cafes are trendy in Seoul – you could probably find more than one unique cafe in every district. I love going to cafes for its atmosphere and its interior. When I was Seoul, I was addicted to finding cafes with unique interior, themes, food and drinks. To find these spots, I used Naver (Popular search engine in Korea).
In Calgary, there is not as many unique interior, and themes cafes compared to Seoul. However, there is a growth in unique cafes within the past few years.
I love city nightlife. At 5am, you can still see people walking around or people eating in major areas of Seoul. It felt comfortable walking around late at night because of the amount of people still outside and seeing all the late night shops still open. The biggest cultural shock that experienced was seeing some of the shopping malls open as late as 5am!
In Calgary, there are clubs, bars, pubs, 24-hour fast food restaurants, and a few restaurants that open late at night. Unfortunately, there is no shopping mall that is open till 5am.
Please leave a comment below and share what experience do you miss in Seoul that you cannot experience in your home country!