Seoul, South Korea
So here I am, living in Korea. I’ve been here since last week Tuesday evening, which, for those counting, is four nights, three days. (I still have to write about Tokyo and post pictures.)
Already it seems like ages. In this short time, I’ve moved into my summer residence — the same tiny goshiwon where I stayed last summer — started my language program, connected with various friends, gone to Itaewon and Shinchon and Hongdae and Samcheongdong and Bukcheon and done a little shopping, eaten galbi and kalguksu and cheese ramen and bingsu, and attended a cooking class where we made chimdak and haemul pajeon. I’ve done laundry and bought some housewares. I’ve made plans for a big hike tomorrow and to go see apartments with a real estate agent on Monday afternoon.
If it feels like I’ve been here a while, that’s partly because I’ve been here before. This time in Seoul is a continuation of my visits over the past three summers, during which I built up contacts and friendships and familiarity. I have a better mental map of Seoul than I do of Phoenix.
It’s different this time though. I’m saying. Sometimes that has me elated. At other moments it has me terrified. Mostly, though, so far it has relieved a certain pressure I’ve felt on previous trips to fill every moment, to fit it all in. If I have an empty day or evening this time, it’s fine. That happens in real life too.
For the moment, in my tiny little room, I still feel like a traveler. And I suppose I still am, in a way. But by September I’ll have a real home and a real job again for the first time in a long time. And it feels good to be laying the groundwork.