The last few days have been a blur. Streaking subway cars, masses of bodies with urban stoic faces, the midnight glow of bright neon lights stacked endlessly on the sides of buildings, luring you into their spaces. And yet space is limited.
One of the most immediate effects of moving to a city like Seoul is that you are instantly aware of the usage of space. Little is wasted in this city, and everywhere you look someone had innovated some way of maximizing the small amounts of room that are left. Seoul is built among the mountains, so flat land is at a premium. Every piece of land that is not at a 45 degree angle is used (and some that are).
This was made most obvious by the numerous vertical car parking lots jammed into alleyways.
The last few days have been exhausting, but endlessly stimulating. An infinite display of lights and sounds, subway station upon subway station, poking out like gophers to see various neighbourhoods and districts of the city. So much has been seen, and yet so much has yet to been seen, and will never be accomplished.
After a week of solid city living, we were fortunate enough to escape yesterday for an afternoon at the house of my school’s director. Her home was incredible, built halfway up a mountain and as spacious as any home back in Canada. We gorged ourselves for several hours and enjoyed an elevated view of the far east end of the Han River.
Full and exhausted from the heat (and children), we returned to the city of movement and noise. And the strange thing was, after only a few hours away, it felt a lot like home.