Six months in Seoul: a somewhat brief summary reflection
The overall goal had always been Tokyo. I took an opportunity to join some friends in Seoul, hoping to make mad monies from modeling. I had some trouble getting on my feet right away, got screwed out of my initial plans and spent 5 of 6 months trying not to freeze(/starve) to death and eventually grew to love a city I originally only knew k-pop dance moves about.
When I arrived to Tokyo 2 weeks ago, I found myself really missing Seoul. Although the buildings and skyline are terribly ugly, there were a lot of charming qualities about Seoul I missed right away. cheap transportation, amazing food and a close-knit community of friends I had made. They helped show me things about Korea I would have not known or explored on my own. the mix of personalities together was a perfect puzzle of wonderful (and crazy) people.
that’s the trouble with travel–leaving behind people and places. for exchange of experience and memories, your list of “longing” grows larger. holes begin to form in the heart and you can only attempt to fill it with new people, places and things in the next destination. it won’t be the same but that could be a good thing.
I went to Thailand with only the knowledge that a lot of people like to visit Thailand. What I also did not know was the “rules to traveling guide” (made up by some guy I met while traveling) lists “do not fall in love” as rule #1 (and also again as rule #3). as far as rules go, I am not one to follow any (not even my own). and as other sayings by other people who don’t like rules (or authority or being told how to live their lives) goes: break rules. wait, no, it’s like “rules are made to be broken” so, who cares about rules.
I’m here. I’ve been here for nearly two weeks now, yet I’m still out of order. Have you ever tried to explain to someone an incredible vague dream that was almost too hard to put into words? Over explaining one simple concept just still couldn’t portray what you saw or felt while you were having this dream? The type of dream where you say:
“Then my friend appeared. but it wasn’t my friend, I couldn’t see their face. actually, they looked like someone I’ve never met, but in the dream I knew it was my friend.”
Seoul is a familar stranger to me. In combination with the other types of dreams wherein you can’t speak or hear a communicable language back and forth, that is what Seoul has been like so far. the vertical signs, the dark haired masses and small shops feel like Japan, but something is different. oh, it’s a whole ‘nother country and culture! I can’t help but compare things without accepting them first, but I’m still new at this. isn’t that what people naturally do though? compare and contrast what they know and what they begin to learn? everything I know about Korea is through pop music, dramas and vengeance films.
for just a moment, I felt as if I was living in a beautiful and skillfully described short paragraph in a book. a story that maybe not everyone has read, but the author put their heart and soul into telling.
a vivid and wonderful handful of seconds that could only be painted by a talented person with the ability to describe an atmosphere with a flourish of fancy words, carefully lined in a sculpted sentence.
to convey a strong yet vague portrait of a snapshot in time is not something I can do. to share a distinct but at the same time ambivalent air of abstract, I can’t quite figure it out.
it was warm, it was peaceful. it was quiet yet loud. it was calming but exciting. it was like a playful smirk but hiding something secret. all around me. I felt infinite in a comfortable and confined box.
when I became aware of it, I accepted it and burned it into my brain to try and keep it there forever to come back to when I needed it. then the moment was gone, but I wasn’t sad. it was nice.
you just had to be there
My mom and dad have been married for 28 years. to celebrate, my mom booked them a trip to Hawaii over a year ago. Just a few weeks before they were set to go on their anniversary, my dad was stressing out about our old family dog, Argus. so much so, he suggested I go with my mom on their trip and take his place so he could stay home with the dog. Thanks, Argus! the only great thing he has done for me, karma finally came around. a free trip to hawaii with my mom! what a ridiculous reason to end up on your parent’s anniversary trip, but I wasn’t complaining.
We spent a week together at my mom’s friend’s timeshare on the island of Kauai. it was an old hotel, but served it’s purpose of sheltering us and providing a space to make meals. right on the water, we woke up to palm trees rustling in the ocean breeze at 7am as the sun rose every day. nope, not one complaint.
no wait, I have just one. My mom is never allowed to drive a rental car ever again.
other than that, we had a great time! we are similar travel types. we like to walk around and look at shops and galleries. we like to eat a lot and try new foods. we both enjoy the downtime of reading or napping. and as long as my mom gets to beachcomb, I can wander off on cheesy tourist traps and take pictures with glee!
I spent a lot of time instagramming everything, although I did bring 3 film cameras with me. I can’t wait to get the rolls developed!
To pick up from the last entry in New York… I did more cool things, saw out of town friends, made new friends, took more test shots, got a freelance job, flew out to Palm Springs, sold at a Vintage market and then celebrated my 5 year anniversary of being with the little* bear up at Mt. Rainier. It’s hard to blog when you take mostly film photos. I have 14 rolls that still are waiting to be developed from months ago.
it didn’t rain so much in New York, but it got misty in Buschwick one morning. you can’t really tell in the photo, however. Now I have been back in Seattle, loving the rain but falling way too quickly into the same routine as pre-month-in-NYC. I wouldn’t want to live there, but subletting a few months at a time could be ideal. it’s all hustlin there, which is productive and all, but I would get NO anime watching in that’s for sure.
I came across my old blogspot I used for 12 entries sprinkled throughout 2009. I enjoyed the titles I used. and I liked the formulated rambling I did. I am not very good at blogging, am I? I am speaking into the depths of the internet as nothing echos back at me. I don’t suspect anyone will come across this, so no use in expecting an answer. it’s obvious.
“Sorry”, I shrug to no one reading this.
I promise not to make any empty promises about blogging better.
2012 has a lot in store, this I know. Good, bad, and the like.
Happy Halloween weekend. It’s mother effing snowing! I have stylish boots that have only form and no function. I was sliding all over and the seams were undone and my thirsty wool socks soaked up all the hypothermia my toes could handle. it’s slushy and stormy and snowy and slippery. I had to cancel my plans to meet a friend in the city and just trudged along with my other friend to finish getting her halloween costume for tonight. we held hands all the way back to her place, so I wouldn’t fall. it was pretty adorable, her saving my life like that.
I have officially about 10 days left in New York. I have met most of my goals, but still have a lot I would like to do while I am here. I feel good knowing that I came on a whim and my hunches were mostly correct. I also feel pretty good knowing I would like to live here for a little while, sometime next year (after winter time please). there are many a things & people I miss from Seattle, even being gone for just 3 weeks. although it goes without saying that if everyone and everywhere was the same, life wouldn’t be very adventurous or interesting would it. but there, I said it anyway.
the big picture is really to get to Korea and back to Japan (the ultimate goal is obviously to get a K-pop husband). so I got my massive $100 check from the Korean commercial shoot and spent it on a Korean lunch and a few language books. I gotta start learning Korean. but Japan is still 一番 (ichiban… #1!), don’t you ever forget it.
I saw Super Junior the closest I’ve ever seen them so far. My 3rd time seeing them, and my second SMTOWN LIVE! Gotta say, they really out-did themselves. Last year in LA, the stage was pathetic. the set was essentially a printed banner hanging up above a screen. This year they did it at Madison Square Garden and had all the lights, pyrotechnics and stage tricks you could think of. there were flying k-pop idols and fireworks everywhere!! Also, I am 99% sure I communicated with Kyuhun at the end of the show, which was a heart stopping moment.
I brought my Nikon D90 with a prime 50mm lens. the girl next to me snuck in a zoom lens and got some really nice shots. the girl behind us had the biggest telephoto lens I’d ever seen in my life! it was like a foot long! she must run a k-pop blog or something, but I have no idea how she snuck that in. I took random video clips and made a VIDEOOOO!!
The show was amazing to say the least. but the real adventure was after the 4 hour long show. Soon all the confetti had rested gently on the ground, and all the pumped up crying fans had shuffled out of the stadium, I was hesitatingly heading back to my friend’s place. I passed two girls waiting for the subway who were blasting k-pop out of their headphones. the avenues were very long and dark blocks. I played A-Cha! on repeat, getting more and more frustrated at myself. WHY!? WHHHYYYY of all the things to be unhealthy obsessed with, I want to sleep with a K-Pop idol. For some reason now, it seems more feasible that I could hook up with Justin Timberlake but maybe only for language reasons. K-pop idols are so over protected and closely watched by their fans and managers. They are prisoners. sexy sexy prisoners for entertainment purposes only.
I’ve been low on funds and paying jobs for the past 6 months since we left Japan. So I decided to change the scenery and try my luck in NYC. I have been here for over a week and I will be here until mid-November. a whole month! couch surfing among friends in the big ole apple, throwing around adorable business cards and trying my luck getting work, money and photo shoots in various ways.
Taking a cab early in the morning across Williamsburg Bridge into Manhattan to assist a shoot at Bloomingdale’s. I always feel fancy taking a cab instead of the subway.
I happened upon a craigslist ad that turned out to be way more amazing than I could ever imagine. something about “models wanted”, I applied. I get an email the next day telling me it is more like a cosmetic commercial and I would be a factory worker extra for a few hours and get $100. I assumed it was someone in front of 30 extras in a factory at an assembly line, explaining how the cosmetics were made. They are filming it in Jersey and say they’ll pick me up on the GW Bridge. hm, maybe I am being kidnapped and sold into slavery, but my gut says go with it anyway. long story short, me and one other girl were picked among probably hundreds of craigslist paid ad hopefuls to be STARS of the Korean New Jersey cosmetic factory! AMAZING! An all-Korean crew, I told them I loved SUJU and they laughed. one guy said Shindong was his brother. it was a fun and great crew, a really awesome day.
Then they invited us to film more the next night for more money and told us to bring friends. It was to be filmed at a 24 hour Beauty Salon (of which I found out there are over 300 in New York alone… WHAT). my make up artist made me look incredible. She was super stylish and amazing and so talented. I loved her hair. She told me she has done make up for 20 years and even did Byung Hung Lee’s make up! She didn’t speak too much English and I don’t know any Korean, but I got her info regardless to keep in touch! I brought my friend Jess and we modeled around like it was a Maybelline commercial. I was laughing so much, it was so much fun!
This beauty product commercial will be shown on the KOREAN HOME SHOPPING NETWORK!! How amazing is that? I feel like that should have been a goal already written down but I seem to have conquered it flawlessly already. Thanks Craigslist/Korea!
Also thanks to Korea: K-Pop. Speaking of which, I got a ticket to see SMTOWN LIVE 2011 at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN THIS WEEKEND! I came to New York with $300. I spent $100 on an unlimited metro card and $200 on the ticket. it’s very close to the extended part of the stage, and I am pretty sure I will make eye contact with one of the members of SUJU and either faint & die or telecommunicate bedroom eyes and get backstage. either way, this will be the 3rd time in almost a year that I have seen Super Junior when just over a year ago I thought I would only see them on youtube for the rest of my life.
DREAMS CAN AND WILL AND DO COME TRUE.
(I love you devin…! but this is relevant to my interests.)
Growing up in the Seattle area, I have had only 2 earthquake experiences. both went something along the lines of
“is this an earthquake?”
“it is confirmed an earthquake-what is the best thing to do?”
…earthquake over before your thought process can finish. 20 seconds, tops. the 8.9 (9.0?) earthquake that hit japan was nothing simple to describe, but I’ll do my best to tell you how that day personally unfolded.