I hope wherever you are in the world, you are having a decent day filled with small, happy moments (whether that be catching up with an old friend or simply just enjoying a warm cup of coffee). Time has been flying by, and I have been finding myself taking stock of all of the ‘little’ things and moments that I will miss most once I leave Korea. So I thought that for this blog I would just fill you in on some small highlights of the last week or so here in Seoul.
During this past week, I got the chance to visit the opening day of the Salvator Dalí exhibition at the DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza), and it was awesome! I have always been a fan of Dalí, and the extensive exhibit was definitely worth the 20,000 won entrance fee. The museum consisted of both a collection of his physical works spanning the years of his artistic career, as well as some short films and a digitally immersive room where you could ‘experience’ the world of Dalí through a moving graphic landscape. The Design Plaza itself was a really cool place to visit, and the architecture of the building was mind-blowing. If you don’t know much about the DDP, it is a cultural hub designed in both the historical district of Seoul as well as Korea's largest fashion district. It is a huge building that looks like a smooth, giant, steel, mushroom-like structure floating above ground level. The DDP hosts a variety of events such as Seoul Fashion week, as well as contains many different art exhibits and shops. Outside of the DDP, there was even a small holiday market that sold yummy things such as peach and ginger tea, homemade pesto, and hand-knit scarves.
December 1st brought with it chilly weather and a lot of holiday spirit. Here in Seoul, temperatures dipping down to 20°F/6°C have got me squeezing my feet into two pairs of socks, multiple sweaters, and long johns every day for extra thermal protection. My mind has also been deep in the soup gutter, and I find myself craving bubbling-hot Soft-Tofu Stew most days of the week. Almost overnight, light-up snowflakes have been hung throughout the streets, and Christmas music has begun to play from mysteriously hidden speakers around public areas. It is hard to walk through the main street of Sinchon without taking a stop to watch the street performers, all congregated on the same corner, getting down at the same time in a sort of light competition with each other.
Holiday shoppers have emerged from hiding and can be seen in the numerous Christmas markets throughout the city. Such as Insadong, the district I am actually writing this exact blog in at the moment. I love this area because it is filled with lots of beautiful and useful handmade gifts, as well as a good assortment of tea shops and cafes alike. Out of all of the cultural habits I have picked up, one of my favorites (and possibly most dangerous), is the night-time café culture that envelops this city. I have begun to enjoy spending a nice evening out in a warmly lit cafe, with a hot cup of coffee and a friend nearby, even though the extra caffeine may not be doing me the best in the sleep department.
As these final remaining weeks of my exchange approach, I can't help but think about how grateful I am to have gotten the chance to visit Korea, and how happy I am that this IS the country I ended up in. Korea you will always have my heart, and readers you will hear from me soon.
That's all for now!