Daily Life Korea Trips & Travels

Seoul: A recollection

When we arrived back in Seoul, it was pouring rain but everyone was already out. With our biggest umbrellas, we ventured out to Hongdae, the arts university district where my mom also studied painting. After a strong cup of coffee, I stayed out late walking around eating snacks and snapping photos.

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A sleepy ride on the KTX speed-train back to Seoul.

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All I wanted for breakfast–a plain toasted bagel and cream cheese with black iced coffee.

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I wasn’t too happy about the rain!

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Everyone lined up to grab late night snacks.

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“Hongdae children’s park”

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An impromptu street jam session that turned into a b-boy battle.

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Seoul is and isn’t the way I remembered it from my childhood–a haze of mountains and skyscrapers standing tall, side-by-side. And then there are these sudden moments of recollection. The details are profoundly ordinary, like the time I ordered a bowl of rice cake ramen with my friend Jiyun. We were only in third grade, and this was our first time eating out alone just outside of the school gate. We sat on stools nibbling on pickled dikon radishes when a middle-aged woman brought us the food. The noodles were perfectly al dente. I always overcook my noodles.

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“But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”
– A selection from “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust

10 Comments

  • Reply
    ZEOLITE
    August 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Aw, I like that photo of you! I remember wandering around Hongdae with Yujean and Claire for a really brief afternoon. That was also the first time I tried tteokbokki! (I had took look up how to spell that.)

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Ohhh they have so many dukbokki places around Hongdae. I found this one place on Korea’s yelp (wingspoon) in Hongdae. They put a ton of seafood in it, mix in ramen boodles, and then melt shredded cheese on top. When you’re about done with the meal, they’ll make fried rice in the leftover saucey goodness. We should totally make that together when it’s cold back home. :]

  • Reply
    Celsy
    August 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Stumbled across your blog and can’t stop looking through your entries, so lovely! My parents went to Seoul once, they loved it. I really wish i could visit and ramen noodles ftw! haha

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Ohh thank you! Haha, you should visit Seoul. I really loved my time there.

  • Reply
    Eileen
    August 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    That picture of you is priceless! Gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Galine
    August 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I was never a fan of Hongdae at night (embarrassed by many of the foreigners!), but I adore it come autumn…so beautiful, so many sweet little shops and the wonderful weekend art market! Beautiful pictures, they all really make me miss Seoul more and more :)

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 20, 2011 at 7:22 am

      Ohh I didn’t see as many foreigners around Hongdae as Myeongdong…to a point vendors kept speaking Japanese to me! πŸ˜›

  • Reply
    Rina
    August 23, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I love the small selection you closed with in this post.
    perfect.
    Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.
    ps. I always overcook my noodles ),:

    • Reply
      Sewon
      August 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm

      Hahaha, I don’t know why it’s so easy to overcook noodles. It doesn’t seem done and you let it sit for a minute longer…..and it’s too late! <3

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