How We Live In Korea

I thought it would be nice to talk a little about in what kind of place we live now and what are the differences of renting an apartment in Korea versus renting an apartment in Finland. We are living now in 30m² one room officetel apartment. Like the name officetel suggests some of the apartments of this building are used as offices. Usually this type of housing offers other services too. In this building we have 24h convenience store and Korean restaurant, pharmacy, dentist, and our realtor's office. We have also three (super slow...) elevators and 24h guard who we can contact from our apartment in case of an emergency and who will take our post packages if we aren't home. Our apartment is in the corner of the building so we have windows on two walls and only only one wall shared with a neighbour. Luckily the aparment next door is used as office space so no one is there in the night time and there hasn't been any disturbing noises from any of our neighbours.

View from our rooftop. That's pollution, not clouds.
There's Namsan Tower.

The area where we live has very good public transportation. It's very easy to go everywhere from here either by subway or bus and my school is pretty close too. As a bad side we need to listen constant noise of traffic because there is an express road going right next to this building, only few floors under our apartment. People seem to drive there in the middle of the night too... In my first night I thought that I made a very bad mistake to choose this apartment because I love silence, but now I barely notice the sounds of traffic anymore. It has one good side too since under ther road we have nice walking route where we can go for walks with our puppy. It was actually one of the reasons why I wanted to move to this apartment. We have few market areas nearby (including traditional medicine market which strong smell makes me feel really sick always when I walk past it) so this area is not very hip and cool, but instead filled with very old and poor people. While stepping outside of the subway it might seem that all of the Seoul's elderly have decided to visit the same station. Because of that most of the services around here are targeted for older people, so not much nice restaurants or other cool places to visit around here. Luckily we have one very pretty and nice tiny coffee shop next to our house where we can grab delicious huge iced lattes and caramel macchiatos with just 3,500 won (around 2,6 euros). I really try to limit myself not to visit there everyday. Anyways I love live in this bit calmer Northern Seoul and wouldn't want to move anywhere too far from here.

I found a dog bed for Haru that is almost exactly the same color than our sofa!

I like the lightning and windows of this apartment a lot. But not those office curtains...

Then few words about the differences of living in Korea and living in Finland. In Seoul deposits for apartments are huge, usually starting from 5 million won (around 3 970euros). The bigger the deposit you pay, the smaller your rent will be. In Finland deposit is usually the amount of two months rent, but can also be less or more. In Korea you might need to pay monthly building maintenance fee too (called 관리비), when in Finland that's something that the apartment's owner will take care of. In Finland I've used to pay rent in advance, but here I paid my first rent after living in this apartment for a month. Most of the apartments in bigger buildings don't use keys but have electronic system with number codes to get in. Korean stoves work usually with gas when in Finland they work always with electricity, but I've seen that nowadays in new buildings they might have chosen to use induction stoves instead. Korean apartments don't usually have ovens at all (in Finland almost always), but have instead laundry machine under the stove. If the apartment has balcony, laundry machine might be put there instead of the kitchen. In Finland laundry machines are usually located to the bathroom and it is something that you need to purchase by yourself. Apartments in Finland don't usually have air conditioners because summers are so short and mild, but in Korea it's a must! In Korea heating is usually build under the floor, in Finland electric or water radiators on the walls are the most common system of heating. And if you want to use warm water in Korea apartments have usually their own boilers you need to remember to turn on to heat the water, in Finland warm water will come out always without any extra steps. Recycling in Korea is mandatory and you need to buy specific plastic bags for your trash. In some buildings you will just leave your trash on the street next to your building, but in our building we have a specific place for trash and need to buy bags only for trash that can't be recycled. In Finland people recycle a lot too, but it's not mandatory.

Space is very limited... Bought few new pretty plates.

My most often used make up in our bathroom. Love this shelf infront of the mirror.

I've also adopted some Korean ways after living with Koreans for years. Buying a rice cooker was a must for us. After you have tried it once you don't want to live without one anymore. I can live without a microwave but not without a rice cooker. And of course we have lots of kimchi and usually some other typical Korean side dishes in our fridge too. I also must have some roasted and salted sea weed with my rice. So good! In Finland people use big towels to dry themselves after shower and might use the same towel multiple times after letting it dry, but in Korea people use usually those hand towel sized towels and wash them after every use. I chose only small towels for this apartment aftert getting used to this Korean way. Korean tap water should be drinkable, but I don't know anyone who would drink it just like that, so we buy our drinking water in bottles. Thankfully water is pretty cheap here! And because you can get everything delivered to your home our front door has a collection of magnetic delivery menus, which I think is a very typical element for a Korean home. :D

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