Trip Down the Memory Lane

Yes, I know. It’s been too long. I’ve been drafting over and over again trying to figure out what to say as my ‘update’ post but it all ended up sounding too heavy and wordy. So I decided, I can update you slowly. For now, I’m going to go with a light post. You all know I’ve decided to settle down in Korea after 18 years of living abroad so I thought a perfect post would be to show you my memory of Korea before leaving (back in 1997). So, this weekend, I decided to go back to the neighborhood I spent 2 years in before moving to Cambodia. I was surprised at how much I still remembered. I didn’t even need a map to revisit all the places.

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The house we used to live in. I remember visiting the neighbor’s everyday since both of my parents worked.

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The daycare I used to go pick my sister up at everyday. She graduated from University today.

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That uphill looked MASSIVE when I was 7 years old.

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The house in front of ours – I used to play by those walls under the shade.

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I used to collect coins and go to the small hole-in-the-wall store at the bottom of the hill. Looks like they’ve been closed for a while. :(

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The only school I’ve been to in Korea. I was here up until half of 2nd grade.

It’s always bitter sweet revisiting old places. It definitely brought back a lot of memories. So, with this post – I promise you more regular updates.

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My New Chapter

Many things have happened since the last time I updated you on my life. Last thing you probably remember is me announcing that I am quitting my job, leaving, and traveling for a while. And then I went silent… The past few months (9 months to be exact) has been eventful and a lot happened – not just physically but also emotionally. I’m hoping to tell you all those things when I’m ready to put them into words. For now, I just wanted to tell you the state I’m currently in.

Through my travels, I had a lot of time and opportunity to think about myself, my situation and my future. I got the chance to realize and rediscover what it is that I want to do and what makes me truly happy. I weighted those thoughts with what I think is best for me and my plans changed… immensely.

If you follow me on my Facebook page, you’ll know that I am currently in Korea, a place I call one of my ‘homes’ but have a hard time connecting myself to. I was also here few months ago. There are a few reasons why I’m back here but one of my main reasons is that I decided to give Korea a chance and stay here for a while.

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Deciding to live in Korea:

As you may have read, I am Korean but I left Korea when I was 7 years old. Ever since then, I visited a few times but never really had the time to connect with this place – a place where I understand the language, love the food and look like everyone else but a place, where its many cultural aspects were puzzling and frustrating to me.

When I came to Korea couple of months ago, things started to change. I thought ‘maybe, I should give it a chance… If not now, when will I ever have the opportunity to come back and live here? If I really hate it, I can always leave.”

That was exactly what I thought and decided to do – but when I went to Cambodia, my thoughts started to change again.. ‘I’m not ready to settle, work and live the conventional life I left… I’d rather spend this time exploring and living in other places and doing projects that are worthwhile. I want a free life.’

But, I’m back. I’m in Korea. I have mixed feelings about it still but right now, I’m pretty certain about it. I’m going to give it a chance – be it a month, year, 2 years or more. After all, I am a Korean. If I don’t try living here now, I’ll never know. It’s unfair for me to not be here because of my prejudice and expectations.  And I seem to have found the right type of people who stop me from doing anything conventional. What will I be doing here? I’m going to be learning new things I’ve always wanted to learn, be it dance, sports, a language, etc. I’m going to try jobs that I’ve always wanted to try – be a bartender, barista, freelancer, teacher, yoga instructor etc. I’m not going to pressure myself to be a certain type of person.

I’m pretty confident. I’m pretty excited. I think it’s time for me to let go of all expectations and give this new chapter a try. 

Patterns of Korea

Patterns, colors, and the little details are what come together to make something beautiful and amazing. I’ve blogged about the patterns and colors of Cambodia before similar to my post, Cambodia Travels: Patterns of Angkor. Today’s post on patterns and colors is on Korea. I haven’t been to Korea in a while especially after I started this blog. I think if I visited Korea now, it would be a VERY different experience for me just because I’ve learned to appreciate different things more. I would explore the culture a bit more and pay more attention to my surroundings than I used to. Back when I used to visit, more often than not, I was busy doing day to day stuff… going shopping, taking classes, hanging out with friends… but didn’t really get to travel much and even if I traveled, I never really paid attention or cherished it.

My friend Han is in Korea right now and has been taking some amazing photos reminding me how beautiful Korea really is. The photos are all taken in the middle of the city too and I think Korea’s a great example of a city that preserves its culture so well in the midst of modern development and architecture.

All you have to do is pay more attention and just observe. These are all photos taken in Seoul.


He just went to the army today (like a proud Korean man – haha). Wish him luck!

Check out more of his amazing photos on his Flickr & Tumblr.