sitting inside our neighborhood all-night indian food restaurant that my roommate and I frequent, I watched the devastating blizzard wreak havoc on Metropolitan expressway no. 4. I was finished with my hot cassis and only had one thing on my mind: to film.
I watched through the window as the unforgiving winds continued to barrage endless amounts of snow in front of us. for a moment I imagined being out there in the shit. breaking (another) umbrella, getting pelted and stung in the face by ice crystals, my nose running, my feet wet and freezing, and not being able to feel my fingers. the thought was not welcoming.
I had my camera on me with my initial intentions staying clear. I really wanted to take a shot of a shrine I saw covered in snow on the other side of the highway. the thought of crossing the tundra of hell only faltered me with doubt for a second–I decided I hate regret more than I hate blizzards. I have reoccurring nightmares about regretting not documenting something that catches my eye. I’d rather be cold and uncomfortable to get the shot then at home, warm and lazy, without photo. this is how I’ve always lived my life and I should know myself by now.
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 keep getting lost in my thoughts. I dip a toe in just to test the thought water–maybe plan on committing to some ankle-level wading around in day dreams. but before I know it, a large wave of overwhelming thoughts crash into me and I’m swept out into an entire ocean of non-sequitur images, ideas, plans, hopes, dreams, goals, wants, needs, memories, and a long to-do list that I immediately forget because the last thing on my mind is the present.
In the middle of these thoughts, I startle myself back to present by really looking around. On the subway today, I was mentally swimming around when the train shot out above ground and I saw the city I was in. Seoul! It was that time of day when the sun set and your eyes see a flat color of light. shrouded in winter time dusk, the tall cement buildings with glowing hangul signs felt like I was in a Blade Runner spin-off. a pang hit my heart. I was really here, on this part of the planet, in this world–one I don’t know much about. it’s always exciting when I re-realize this, no matter how many times I need to pull myself together and be present.
Yasunori Mitsuda – Secret of the Forest (Chrono Trigger OST)
film, grain, light, clouds, perpetual rain, images, ghosts, haunting, forest, wind, twisted branches, together, alone, calming, peaceful, green moss, brown wood, red stones, fallen leaves, wet ground, dusk, tall grass, 2 paths, steep slopes, breeze, secret, past, memories, exploring, future, spirits, resilience, stormy, brisk, last, adventure, cliffs, waves, darkness.
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.
In 30 days I am leaving behind everything I am familiar with. all my friends, family, and the one person who loves me unconditionally. I am sacrificing security and comfort. I am trading it all to move to a country I have never been to, where I only know the popular dance moves and how to say “Hello! I love you! Really?”. I have a one-way ticket to Seoul, with dreams to be on billboards and magazines.
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!
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.)