Well, let me define Seoul by spelling it first: S-E-O-U-L
'S' is for shopping! Yes, that's what most tourists want to do in Seoul. 'Shop and till you drop', as they say. And shopping is not just limited to the Myeongdong area. The malls and factory outlets like the outlets in the Garibong area swarm with shoppers who want the best bargain deals!
And if you're a nocturnal shopper, the bag market in Dongdaemun is open from midnight until the next morning!
The city government has always been spearheading environmental consciousness. With projects like the Cheonggyecheon (Cheonggye Stream) and buildings in the city that save energy, Seoul is an example of how the government and its citizens can work together to preserve the environment, even providing Seoulites with spaces and parks to relax and exercise.
'O' is for 'organized'. I have always appreciated Seoul's transport system, which is very organized and efficient. Riding the bus and subway trains makes your journey from point 'A' to point 'B', and even up to point 'Z', very easy and convenient. With most citizens commuting to work everyday, the organized scheduling of the buses and train has everyone arriving at work and school (not to mention parties and weddings!) on time! For me, one other very organized system is the transport bus to and from Incheon International Airport, which always makes my journey to Manila hassle-free all the time.
'U' is for 'upbeat'! Yes, Seoul certainly has some cheerful and optimistic atmosphere to it, every time you walk around downtown, which are always busy with events and so-called festivals. As most celebratory holidays are always observed with performances and at times, parades, there's always a cheerful vibe that rubs off on everyone, especially the kids. And speaking of festivals, there's one right here in my Itaewon neighborhood!
'L' is for living! I have lived in Seoul for many years now, and as long I take extra care in crossing the street to avoid the reckless Korean drivers who don't follow traffic lights, and take precaution from the motorbikes who speed through the sidewalks, living in this city is generally okay. I find that my neighborhood is safe and getting home late at night is not a worry. Proper sanitation is clearly enforced and the city streets are always cleared and cleaned. Plus, the Seoul city government has put up the Seoul Global Center to provide information and assistance to the foreigners living in Seoul.
Seoul is like my second home already. I am from the Philippines, which is just four hours away by plane. But unlike the Philippines, Korea has four seasons, which means I am not able to wear short pants throughout the year. Ha-ha-ha!
(My first home)
But be it winter, spring, summer or fall, living in my Hannam-dong neighborhood in the Yongsan District in Seoul, has been convenient and satisfactory so far. Hannam-dong, a neighborhood sandwiched by the most popular mountain, Namsan, and a very famous river, the Han, has some restaurants and cafes, and a hospital.
And if you're visiting my neighborhood, welcome!
(A view from a hill in Hannam-dong)
(Sorry, I can't squeeze the letters into one line. Ha-ha-ha!)
"This is where I live. This is Seoul."