Explored on February 8, 2016
Sorry for my extremely long hiatus! Hopefully this post (and the others to come!) will help you forgive me a bit faster!!
A couple of weekends ago, I visited 서촌마을/Seochon Village – although it took me a while to find. I actually walked into a police station for the first time in my life because I needed to ask for directions. It was definitely worth the experience. Seochon was amazing, even with the gloomy weather. In my opinion, the gloomy weather brought out the town even more! The small alleyways that were lined with vintage stores – not just clothing but even old mechanics – seemed like it fed off the dull lighting. And I’m not sure if I’m explaining my thoughts well, but the dull lighting didn’t make the atmosphere more melancholy or spooky. It just made it even artsier, like the town is!
One of my favorite aspects of Seochon was its amazing architecture. There were several rows of galleries; from obscure ones to well-known ones, each with interesting exhibitions! And wow, the architecture of those buildings was inspiring. The simplistic surfaces, the clean colors, the big doors, the modern windows, make up exactly the type of buildings I love!! Sadly they were all closed because of the Lunar New Year holiday, but I would have walked into every single one, at least to see the interior!!
Seochon was definitely a place where I learned to appreciate the details again. The big picture of the town was neat for sure, but what captivated me even more were the bricks that made up each building. The parking signs and murals that were hand drawn with one black marker. The dim colors of the doorknobs. The excitement that filled each store and restaurant! The fuzzy lighting was no match against the enthusiastic and artistic mood this town resonated. And in a city in which most of Google Images show bright lights of the high-rises and colorful reflections on the Han River, it’s important for us to stop and really appreciate the small details. The craftsmanship of the Korean people that sometimes go unnoticed. My country is filled with it. We are a culture that embodies 흥/heung, or joy and energy, and that embraces creativity. So why do we get forget it? Why do we get swamped in the flurry of all our work?
And I’m at fault of it just as much as anyone else. So I challenge you, and me, to stop one day; whether it’s in the earliest of dawns or the latest of midnights, and look at the little details that make up our world. Mine being the wonderful Seoul, South Korea.Maybe even smile at someone new. Then perhaps, the hustles and the stresses will be no match against your enthusiastic and sunny mood!