Exploring Hanok Village with New Freinds in Seoul, South Korea

Programs for this blog post

Arts + Sciences

Authored By:

Kasey C.

Everything was going wrong. I had a project due late the previous evening and had not slept well. Then I had to wake up at 7 am to go to a canvas bag making event at Hanok village. I personally had little interest in the event, especially when my warm bed was only inches away. But I had promised my friend I would go with her. So on a chilly November morning, I roused myself out of bed, got dressed, and headed to the subway. I got to the event early, but then had to wait a half hour for others those who arrived late.  As I watched the wind blow the few remaining yellow leaves off the already bare tree, I couldn't help but wish I had slpet in for just a few more minutes. Well, my friend never showed up, as she had slept through her alarms and missed the event. Clearly this day was not going to go as planned.

In a situation like this, it is easy to get upset, but I decided just to enjoy the day since I was already out. And I'm so happy I did. I got to walk around the beautiful Hanok Village where the houses are beautifully designed in the traditional Korean style 'hanok'. We sat in a small store looking over the hills while we were able to design our own canvas bags using fabric ink pens. I tried a grain latte and sat began to brainstorm ideas as I got to know the Korean Yecco students and other CIEE students who were at my table.  I eventually decided to design my bag based on Korean Folk paintings of lotus flowers. I’m not artistic, so it did no turn out very well, but I had a great time! When I shyly folded my bag up to cover the design and put it away, the shopkeeper unfolded it and praised it as so beautiful in front of everyone. I was so embarassed, but also extremely touched by her kindness and encouragemnt.

Looking back, I feel like everything went right that day. Since my friend did not attend, I was able to sit with two of the Yecco Seoulmates and a CIEE classmate who I had not talked to before. After spendng two hours drawing, we decided to get lunch together at a small naturalistic vegan restaurant and then go shopping around the area. The seoulmate bought us both a little keychain that looked like norigae, or the traditionl korean hanbok accessory. As we were shopping, it started to rain, so the three of us huddled under one umbrella and ran down the hill to a little hidden café to stay out of the rain. The CIEE classmate made little origami animals for each of us. I never would have guessed that a day where everything seemed to be wrong would lead to new fereindships and beautiful memories. Perspective is so important and impacts how we experience events and interact with others. I am so glad that I took a moment to accept that the day was not what I was had planned on, but then embraced what new and unknown things could happen.