Wednesday, October 13, 2010

i'm really starting to take a liking to seoul.

it's funny how when i returned from my trip to japan and was riding the subway home from the airport, i felt this huge wave of relief come over me. having spent 4 days in a country and city where i didn't know the language and found it somewhat challenging to get around, i felt really excited and happy to be back in korea. the unexpected emotion was really an odd surprise but just goes to show how attached i've become in the past four months.

i still have moments when i'm on the bus alone at night, staring out the window and gazing at all the buildings and people, where it doesn't feel real that i'm actually here. if only i could finally find a job and make some decent money so i could live in this city for awhile, that would be ideal.

anyway, just as i did in nyc, i love walking around seoul and stumbling upon old relics and plaques indicating the historical significance of the spot and what once transpired there.

while the city is very modern with sleek buildings and state-of-the-art architecture, seoul is steeped in thousands of years of history. it's common to find an old palace or historical structure surrounded by glass towers and soaring advertisements made with neon signs and blinking lights. there's a lot of contrast here between the old and the new, and i love thinking about how different the city was a long time ago.

the area of the bar that i work at is within walking distance of gwanghawmun, which is a large gate that leads to one of the former main palaces in seoul. it was constructed in 1395 and is now one of the most popular and scenic spots in the city for natives and tourists. sometimes when i get off of work really late at night, i like to walk around the area alone. it can be eery when desolate, but it's great because there's a lot to see, including huge statues of iconic figures from korean history. i like to think about what it was like to walk down that very same street hundreds of years ago and imagine how everyday life was back then. what did they eat for breakfast? what was a popular topic of conversation? where did they go for fun? what were their hardships? i also think about the era of when my parents were my age in the seventies, and ponder how different it was for them to take a stride through the city. my mom told me she remembers as a young girl when she first saw bananas being sold in seoul, and how exotic and expensive they were. things have definitely changed since then and while i'm grateful for modern technology and growth that korea has undergone the past decades, a part of me wishes i was able to experience a simpler time as well.

here are a few photos of my parents (and one of my maternal grandma) in korea from when they were younger and what seems like another lifetime ago in the seventies. if only i could live a day in the background of these photos.


  1. Anonymous8:55 AM

    난 장소, 냄새, 사람, 음식을 보고싶어요.

  2. love this post.

    walking around town by myself, is something that i love. thinking about the same things you think about. what it was like in the past. discovering new things.

    cool pics too btw.

  3. nice photos. =)

    sometimes, having those walks (and thoughts) really help to connect oneself to this wide wide universe...I actually enjoy riding trains and buses all by myself sometimes (as long as it isn't during the peak rush hour) because in observing my surroundings and actually being there in the thick of things make me feel alive and human. (",)

  4. Anonymous11:15 AM

    korea can't be that old, u only had ur own writing script in the 15th century

  5. I like the photos.

  6. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Wow what a gorgeous couple..... makes me think how they would of ended up had they not had kids.

    Miss you !!!

    YS noona