High Rise Living in Seoul
CONTRIBUTED BY MORGAN O’BRYANT
It is no secret that I am a city girl, but high rise living has been a first for me. When you live in a city of 11.2 million people, the space has to be utilized in a very methodical manner. Seoul’s living mainly consists of low and high rise apartments to better accommodate all of these people living in such a small area. Our building is one of Seoul’s newest high-rises and the apartment we live in is priced around the 1 million dollar mark with all the most modern luxuries and conveniences. We have an indoor golf range, work out room, playroom, cafe, sauna, massage chairs, meditation room, and soon to be–direct access to the metro lines!
However, after being here a month and the general concept is good, these are the “10 commandments” we have learned to live by in just a short time living in one.
1. Thou shall not be a streaker around your house. I think the neighbors have been getting some nice shows by all of us up until a few days ago. The first time I was dressing in my bedroom, I noticed that there was a creeper standing by his window just watching his free peep show. When I realized what was happening, I hit the deck and screamed for my husband to come in and close the blinds. To say that you have to become aware of your surrounding is an understatement!
2. Thou cannot be a light sleeper! We live by one of the main train stations and busiest streets in Seoul. While it is convenient, we have the privilege of hearing train announcements, trains coming into the station, yelling, protests, and cars all night and day long. I have become accustom to the sounds and my husband even mentioned how the city sounds are soothing to him. The latest and greatest is the pitter patter of our upstairs neighbors’ feet. UGH–I won’t get used to that! One night my hubs had to go up there to tell them to knock off their running around (well they weren’t actually running around–but doing some adult acrobatics) at midnight.
3. Thou shall not do large shopping trips. Gone are the days when you do a big shopping trip to Costco or the grocery store. Daily shopping is a must or you will wear out the elevators and your arms on the big shopping trips. We tried this once and I think by the 3rd trip up 24 flights (oh wait–I take that back–we found a grocery cart that you can borrow to bring them up and down!!!) SCORE!
4. Thou shall hold onto your britches. WIND. Enough said. This is also the ONLY English announcement made over the intercom, so you know it must be bad.
5. Thou shall not like space. Do you like living in a box? Well then this place is for YOU! No really, talk about living a minimal life! This has its high points though really. It is amazing to learn about all the crap you don’t actually need to live. So this one falls into the (Positive) check box. We don’t even use the baby monitor because we are so close to her room–we can hear a mouse fart. The apartment is 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 living/kitchen area and a laundry room. About 900 sq ft. NO joke! Remember we moved from about a 3900 sq ft home in California so this has been a bit of an adjustment so to speak. EK.
6. Thou shall be tall. Step ladders are a must. Because there is little room or space for storage, your cabinets in the kitchen go up. If a step ladder comes with the place–you know it is going to be put to good use!
7. Thou shall not be a hypocondriac. High floor living means ear popping EACH time you go up and down the elevator. Just recently we had friends come over for dinner and they happen to live on the 4th floor of the same building but they mentioned getting a type of vertigo coming up this high. After a few weeks of going up and down 24 stories a few times a day, I have now added to my list of ailments, vertigo.
8. Thou shall welcome guests frequently and with open arms. Maintenance people seem to be constant guests. Since we have moved into our apartment we have had numerous “issues” that our friend affectionally calls “teething problems”. I call them a pain in my a$$.
- Shower leaked for two months before they finally added a metal piece stop the water. It was great getting out of the shower and stepping in a pool of water and washing the bath mats each day.
- Disgusting sewage smell beneath our sink. Yep–imagine 35 floors of sewage seeping out of our sink drain. BARF.
- Washer/Dryer combo stopped working mid cycle and wouldn’t open. (Tim saved the day on that one but it wasn’t without a trip to the local store to buy sheets for our guests staying overnight because we couldn’t use the darn thing and the maintenance people could have cared less)
- A/C unit didn’t work–2 days of sweating and complaining until it was fixed.
- A/C unit leaked all over our living room–just days after it was fixed. OMG
- Our water cooler leaked all over our kitchen floor, ruining brand new floors.
9. Thou shall embrace technology. Modern conveniences are kind of inconvenient when explained and operating in a foreign language. EVERYTHING is in Hangul and we guess on which buttons to push most of the time. For that reason, we haven’t used the dishwasher but 2 times since moving in.
10. Thou shall like your neighbors. Thank goodness I have made some great ones here in our building because our weekly “wine date” in the “meditation room” is just the perfect way to unwind.
Here are a few shots of the apartment.
Control panel for the whole house–this will call the elevator, unlock the doors, turn on and off lights/ac/heat, call the police, and raise your children (ok not really but it does just about everything for the house). Too bad we cannot operate it fully. BOO
The oven–in Celsius TOO
Haven’t quite figured out how Thanksgiving is going to work with this thing! UGH
The bain of my existence–the washer/dryer
Welcome to the most fancy toilette you might ever sit on!
And it’s controls….hahah
What do you think? Do you think you could do high rise living? And could you do it in a foreign country? I am so thankful (even with the downsides) that I am able to add this to my list of broadening experiences. After all, who can say that they have lived in a high-rise in Seoul, Korea?—–UM—-ME!!!!