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  • Writer's pictureGeo

Restarting, Rethinking, Revisiting

Collection of celadon teacups and small bowls.

솔직히, 저음에 모든 걸다 힘들었어요. 생각보다 힘들었어요. 저음에 제가 왜 여기 있는 지 몰랐어요. 걸으면서 제가 좋아하는 음악을 들었고 세 가지 생각을 머리속에 담아두었어요. “울고 싶으면 울어도 돼요.” “마음이 아프면 괜찮은 척 안 하셔도 돼요.” 물론 도착하자마자 다 완벽할 것이라고 생각하지 않았지만, 조금 더 쉬울 것 같았어요. 아직도 많은 것이 힘든데 나날이 좋아지고 있어요.

I'm back in Seoul. It's been almost exactly three years since I left - and it's been much harder than I thought it would be. Especially at the beginning, before I started school, I struggled to feel grounded, asking myself several times a day, "what have I done?" I went for a lot of long walks to try and center myself and come back into myself and remember why I came back to Seoul. I feel better and more like myself every day. I still have things I need to figure out, but school starting has been so helpful in making me feel like I'm not just spending each day aimlessly.

I still don't have a plan for this blog - what I want to write and how I want to use it. But I have decided to write something in Korean for each post that I won't translate, but the ideas I'll write in Korean will be echoed, at least in part, in what I've said in English. In this way, I'll be able to practice my Korean and communicate the thoughts I have only in Korean more clearly. If you want to translate, feel free :)

I recently revisited one of my favorite art museums in Seoul, the Leeum (Samsung's art museum), and the current exhibit of Korean craft work takes up all three floors of the main building. Starting from the top, you walk through traditional Korean pottery works, then move to calligraphy and painting, and finally end up in metalwork - the most prominent being bronze. It's maybe one of my favorite exhibitions I've seen in a long time. It's so well thought out and gorgeously displayed in dim lighting. All the pictures of art in this post are from that exhibit.

The lady who took my paperwork told me what she thought of this by saying "You're so white in real life, why do you look so bad here?" So that's a win for me.

Going back to settling in Seoul - I've realized how easy I had it the first time around with Yonsei. Even though the partnership with DU was minimal in the hand-holding department, Yonsei still made lots of things easier. Last week I had to submit my ARC paperwork but my picture was the wrong size, so I had to walk in the very very wet snow to a subway station, sit on a freezing cold metal stool, pay an absurd amount of money for the worst photo of me on this earth, then walk back through the snow to submit the final stack of paperwork. I was not living my best life.

I hope that as I get more settled things get easier and I start to feel more comfortable doing my thing. Also, if it could get warmer so I could go for walks again, I would appreciate it. Clearly, I'm taking the "sometimes here" part of this blog very seriously as this is my first post in well over a year. Going forward I hope to be a little more consistent.

Left: 쌍도정도, 조선, 18세기 (18th century, Joseon Dynasty)

Right: 금동 용두장식 자물쇠, 고려, 14세기 (Guilt Bronze Crown Padlock, 14th century, Goryeo)

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