Daily Life

Awake in New York

I arrived back in the city alone with a small bag, feeling surprisingly at home. I had every reason to feel displaced, and I braced myself for a surge of loneliness. It never really came. I spent all week seeing friends and the weekend reading books by myself at my new place. It was a relief to finally have the freedom to do nothing in my own personal space.

I haven’t quite stopped moving since I left Shanghai last summer. Since then I’ve built cozy little homes in/around Beijing, Korea, Yunnan, Brooklyn, and Vietnam. The truth is that I’d do it all over again.








I used to buy vegetables and dumpling skins at this wet market.








On Sunday, I was interviewed by one of my graduate program colleagues about my early life history. Listening to her calming voice, I reached far back into my memories. Then I panicked. I remembered always having a bedroom in a safe home, and friends and family. Sometimes I even had pets. But I couldn’t place them on a geographic map or a chronological timeline. Memories aren’t linear.

I thought about it for a long time afterwards. Home is not really a physical place, is it?

It’s the people, the conversations, the meals you’ve shared. The street you walked on, day after day.


  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

    No truer words. And such beautiful accompanying photos!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Aw sewon, I love this post, especially you’re concept of memories and home. I miss blogging these days, taking photos and sharing them, reflecting and writing. You are always so inspiring.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Nice thoughts about home

  • Reply
    Veronica Fish
    September 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    What an amazing life you lead!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    That’s so true, Sewon. Home is not simply a place named, “Home”.
    Sometimes even if I’m at home, I couldn’t feel homed. But, sometimes, when I’m in somewhere outside home, I feel homed. The feeling of “Home” is complicated.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Lovely pictures, and even lovelier words.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    this post is so relevant to me right now, thank you for speaking the words i can’t seem to put down.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I like the dreamy atmosphere of your pictures Sewon 🙂 Your thoughts about memory sound so familiar! home is where my heart is at home… 🙂

  • Reply
    felicia jade
    September 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Another well written entry! And I absolutely love your photographs.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Great to hear from you! I totally agree, home does not always have to be a geographical place (although, for some people, it might be).
    I’ve only lived in one city my whole life, so far. I hope that maybe one day, I can have many “homes”.
    I love all these photos, as always. They bring up very familiar feelings. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 14, 2012 at 2:13 am

    I can honestly relate. I am now living in Taipei and I will officially be a resident very soon. 12 hour time difference from where I used to live. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 14, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Such nice words and beautiful photos! I can really relate to what you are saying and it feels comforting to read it.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I love this post and you make me long to travel, to explore parts of the world that I’ve only ever dreamed out. I couldn’t agree more that home is not always a physical place. I felt that when I moved from my childhood home and realised that it’s just a house and what makes ‘home’ are the sweet memories and people around you.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2012 at 1:45 am

    book exchange will be fun and i look forward to.

  • Reply
    September 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Totally agree about home, Sewon! What kind of graduate program are you doing in NYC? Hope all is well 🙂

  • Reply
    Emmie Rae
    September 17, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Your words are as beautiful as your photographs. Every post is a favourite for me! x

  • Reply
    September 18, 2012 at 12:47 am

    I love your photos and your words! They are so true.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I want to travel with you one day

  • Reply
    September 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

    “I thought about it for a long time afterwards. Home is not really a physical place, is it?

    It’s the people, the conversations, the meals you’ve shared. The street you walked on, day after day.”

    This is so perfect. 🙂 I completely agree.

    I’ll be heading to New York for a week or two next Easter. I can’t wait to experience it firsthand. 🙂

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