First Month in Seoul


Changdeokgung Palace


Changdeokgung Palace Entrance

It’s been a crazy five weeks since we packed up our belongings and Noodles (and Noodles’ belongings) and moved to Seoul. Our first impression of Seoul (well, my first impression, Alex’s second) was that it was really hot and humid. Apparently we had just missed the rainy season, which normally lasts one month but lasted two this summer.

The humidity made it almost impossible to do any sort of sightseeing. We went to see Changdeokgung Palace but it was so hot, we only lasted 10 minutes before retreating into the subway station.

The one thing that really surprised us about Korea is how expensive things are. Fruit and vegetables in grocery stores are 2X-3X what they are in the U.S. And electronics are very pricey. We haven’t found a rice cooker for under ~ $90! It really makes us miss Walmart and Target…

In our first month in Seoul, we:

  • Set up a bank account (unfortunately Korea does not do joint bank accounts)
  • Replaced our U.S. SIM cards with Korean ones (side note: Government mandates that you cannot be sold a SIM card during the weekend or holiday) and signed up for pre-paid phone plans
  • Learned how to use the Seoul subway (really convenient, people are very orderly and it’s so CLEAN!, but service ends around midnight most days)
  • Met Alex’s Samsung GSG group and their significant others
  • Moved into our new apartment (brand new: we are the first tenants) on the 32nd floor, with a beautiful view of the Han River
  • Took one week of “intensive” Korean class- so we now know how to greet people, count to 10 (in both Korean and Sino-Korean), and bargain

Some of the highlights from our first month in Seoul:

  • Biking the Han River
  • Exploring restaurants and eating lots of delicious food (Alex can eat kimchi with any meal)
  • Experiencing the farmer’s market and Garak fish market

Major non-highlight:

Being mistaken for being Korean. Most of the time, people think that I’m either stupid (why isn’t a Korean woman fluent in her native language?) or rude (why is she ignoring what I’m saying?). People are shocked to learn that I’m not Korean. I get a lot of double takes and “Are you sure you’re not Korean?” questions. I guess this means that I have to study extra hard at Korean so that I can be somewhat fluent…




Gyeongbokgung Palace Garden

Anyway, we’ve now been in our apartment for two weeks. We are still getting used to the idiosyncrasies and the space-age technology (seriously, we have a tv built into the kitchen cabinet), as well as the little issues with the apartment that we are slowly discovering.

We would love for friends and family to come visit us! 🙂


Olivia & Alex


One response to “First Month in Seoul”

  1. Merbao says :

    What a Happy couple at a exciting adventure! the korean days will be very very memorable when you recall it later in your life.

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