Seoul Street Corner

19 Feb

First thing in the morning, Ajumma got me out of bed and told me in pretty straight forward that I was going to learn how to get to the subway and get to her house. She was going to test me. And she did test me.

She walked me down to the station, cautioned me against the buses that pulled out and basically taught me the ropes of how to be a Korean in Seoul. First day I learned that Koreans never push through a crowd. they walk with the crowd. I saw some foreigners push and weave through. But she was patient and even with the morning day rush, she walked with everyone. No one ran, everyone just walked smoothly as if it were nothing.

She walked me into the station, and negotiated for a bus pass, and since the Korean tradition is that if you stay with someone, you pay for them, she paid for the pass and pushed my money out of the way. I learn fast and accepted it, though my American guilt ate me alive.

On the way out I paused to take a picture of a crowd because the I saw all the colors and I thought it was a really fascinating shot. Something that I had not witnessed in over twenty years. A crowd of Koreans all together in regular life. The cars got in the way.

Ajumma called to me, “Yoonmi ya!”

I turned to run and catch up to her while she grilled me on how to get back to her apartment.

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