I don’t do these types of posts all that often (or ever, if I remember correctly), but I think a highly sentimental posts in order as I am finishing this year here in Seoul in a few weeks. I will then fly from here to Pittsburgh (via San Francisco) to spend time with family. I will then take the Amtrak out to New Jersey to spend time with friends and then to Long Island to spend some time with the father in-law for a week or so before flying out to London. London will be the sixth home in our eleven years; countless more since we respectively left our ‘homes’ after secondary school.
It has been a marvelous year in Seoul, made all the more marvelous by working from home (and at a 14 hour time difference), leaving early mornings and early afternoons free to explore the city, bike, and walk to my heart’s content. Along the way, I took photos and recorded audio and video, all with my iPhone. Most are blurry or distorted and the composition is highly suspect, but all serve their purpose for me. They will evoke a memory or an emotion even when I am old and forgetful. They are impressionistic rather than realistic; more sentimental than actual. I have limited these photos to Korea only, although I did travel quite a bit this year for work. So sorry Tokyo, New York, Changsha, Melbourne, and Taipei. Maybe next time.
Either way, curation being the nose of learning (I just made that up), I decided to pick my favorite ten from the year and not explain them much at all, except to give the location. You can add your own narrative if you want. I will keep mine for my daydreams whiling away time in some far off place. All evoke place, all evoke color and emotion (for me). All will be enacted in my memory while I am somewhere else. These persistent channels of memory battling it out in our consciousness.
We will most likely be returning at some point; nobody ever seems to actually leave Korea. We are so confident of this that we are leaving our furniture in storage here, just in case we return. If we don’t return anytime soon, it will give us an excuse to revisit this place later on in life. And return we will. We always do.
10. Automaton as seen on the Han River Park area west of World Cup Stadium.
He unnerved me.
9. Seo Sang Don( 서상돈) mural in Daegu, Korea.
My wife’s great great grandfather, he inspired me.
8. An older couple holding hands near Bonghwasa (봉원사), Seoul.
They made me wistful.
7. The electricity of the first snow. Mapo, Seoul.
I didn’t write about this one, but all first snows are magic.
6. Sunset over the Han as seen from Mapo Bridge, Seoul, Korea.
I just took this photo a few days ago and it made for a nice bookend to the year here. This made me miss Seoul before I even left.
5. Red door in Gyeongju, Korea
An invitation from history. A greeting from the past.
4. Mountain (안산) behind Yonsei University (연세대학교), Sinchon, Seoul, Korea
There are two feelings of freedom that I know of. The first is I have a lack of structure in this day (a freedom of the flaneur); the second is that my heart and mind are soaring due to the expanse. This was a combination of the two.
3. Sign as seen in Seoul Station, Korea
A reminder that cities can be civil, cozy, inviting.
2. View from my apartment, Mapo, Seoul, Korea
I have almost a hundred of these photos, but this is my favorite. Purely impressionistic in the capture of colors. This is what I will remember, those colors.
1. My wife in Tonyeong, Korea
A journey, a boat, the unknown, and my travel companion for this life.