A friend asked me the other day if I find Seoul beautiful. I didn’t hesitate to answer yes. This city may not be immediately or traditionally beautiful, and many would disagree with me, but I love Seoul’s aesthetic.
I didn’t always feel this way. I think that my appreciation for Seoul’s looks has developed as an extension of my appreciation for Seoul’s spirit. (Kind of like the way a person’s face becomes more attractive the better you know them.)
I think it’s the small things that won me over. Like every city, Seoul has its own identifying details. Like these red, yellow and blue stripes on metal roll up doors. The closer I grow to the city, the more these details become precious to me. These visual tags have become tied to my sense of Seoul itself—each one of them encapsulates the feeling of the city as a whole. They’re emblematic. And in some way, that connects these seemingly unrelated visual fragments to every memory I’ve made in this space. They’re the bits of colored glass in the kaleidoscope of Seoul, shifting and recombining in varied yet similar ways to form the scenes of my life here.
Which is why, when I recently saw the sun setting on this striped door, I felt very sad. Because I saw the sun setting on my life here. I’m trying to avoid keeping a countdown or constantly saying things like “before I leave,” but I can’t help thinking about it. I know that it’s the right time to go, but that doesn’t mean I won’t grieve. ILU Seoul. <3