Here are a few more random things about living in South Korea that I thought I'd share:
1. Love it or hate it, Facebook is SOOOOO useful here - I use it daily for post announcements, the local online flea markets, advice from the tight-knit expat community, play groups, trip advice pages, Seoul tourist info...you name it, there is probably a group or page for it. I think our experience (and that of others) is probably a lot more manageable because of modern day social networking.
2. We stumbled across this lovely parking space icon while out and about this weekend near the river. Can you guess what it's for? There were two entire rows marked with it. Go ahead...take a moment...did you figure it out?
It's not "stork" or pregnancy parking (they have those, too) and it's not a weird shaped bell or nautical symbol. It's parking designated specifically for female drivers. And no, it's not just for Marilyn Monroe impersonators.
According to the mini debate I accidentally started on a local FB page (with my honest "what does this mean?"), this is designated for women either because of a) safety concerns (the spaces are closer to lights, entrances, and security) or b) Koreans consider women to be poor drivers (the spaces are supposedly larger than normal, as well). Either way, this is part of the government's plan to make the city more female friendly - here's an article on the subject: Female Friendly City
I fluctuate between feeling irked about it or happy that I can sneak up closer to a destination and Michael won't bang the neighboring car's doors with ours. Just one of those things I'm going to chalk up to living in a different country and culture...
3. I am always amazed at the amount of art that is all over the city - every apartment complex in our neighborhood has it's own outdoor features and random sculptures can be found everywhere you go - part of the efforts to beautify Seoul. This mural popped up one day on the wall leading up to the local subway tunnel.
And here's a random sculpture in our neighborhood:
4. Another thing you will find all over are splash pads, water features, or large community pools (along the Han River). We went to a larger wading pool last week at the park. This splash pad is at an apartment complex about 5 minutes from our place...we "borrowed" it for a quick bit of cooling off. :)
5. The Air Quality: yes, we are in a city of around 11 million people, so you know there will be some smog hanging about. But being in South Korea means you also need to pay attention to the yellow dust that comes across from China. There are good days and bad days (more good, thankfully), but the Asia Air Quality App is my new best friend. Here's a quick comparison from our kitchen window:
Nice blue sky vs. YUCK!