Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hanti Yok (Station) Bound

As I walk out from a long day of teaching from my building and onto the street, everything hits me like a ton of bricks. This city of blinding light and a million voices overcomes my sensations and it feels great. A million different senses alight as I take my usual 2o minute stroll home to Hanti Yok.

I see the small children reading a book and texting someone in the middle of a busy crosswork. Waiting recklessy to get smooshed on the street like I have almost seen happen many times. It used to bother me, but now I am numb to it. I see old men who take a second and perhaps even third look at me, the round eyed, bald-headed foreigner. Again, I am numb to it and invite the lookers on to my exoticness. I see a thousand Korean restaurants in one square block, and a Starbucks on every block. Here, you can get everything you need, especially food. This culture is obsessed with food and you can see people of all ages standing and eating all types of meats and noodles with the city street vendors near their portable bodegas. I see a thousand faces in an eye blink and realize how much I don't, and do actually fit in this Megapolis of dark-haired and dark-eyed faces.

As I walk past each block, a plethora of smells hit me. Never in this world, did I think that the smell of raw sewage mixed with car exaust and Kimchi Mandu could smell so wonderful! All these sights, smells, and sounds meld together to transform Seoul into my temporary home. It is a true taste of a slice that is my life right now. And life tastes good right now. That is for sure. That is absolutely for sure.

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