Another year, another trip to Korea.
I’ve been so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to visit Korea almost every year for the past few years. With each trip, I learn more about where my parents grew up, the memories of their childhoods spent in now forgotten places, the stories written in between the lines of my grandparents’ wrinkles. I get the chance to saturate myself with the pop culture, discover the undergrounds of Korea’s music and fashion scene, and indulge in the best trends of makeup and skincare. On one occasion, I attended my first rock festival and witnessed Radiohead perform live to hundreds of Koreans packed like sardines, a truly one-of-a-kind experience that I’ll never forget. Trips like these remind me that my life is small and interconnected–and that I’m here today living a seriously lucky life because of the immense sacrifice and hard work of my family, especially my dad.
I was in Seoul for less than a week–a bitterly sweet, short trip–and I mostly spent my time making the rounds of visiting relatives, doing some light shopping, and eating delicious seoul food. The main reason for the trip was to celebrate my paternal grandpa’s 90th(!) birthday. His actual 90th was on January 10th, but with relatives’ trips to Korea coinciding, my aunt planned the party early–and when you get to that age, every day is worth celebrating.
I landed at dawn on a Friday, equipped with a few rolls of film and a new 105mm Nikkor lens. Disclaimer: I hadn’t shot film in a while, so please excuse some blurry shots, developing mishaps, and a beginner’s job at color correcting. Enjoy!
A view from my grandparent’s apartment in Ilsan.
My grandma’s love language: she always asks us to give her our dirty laundry, which she hand washes and line dries.
My grandma, at our favorite local soba noodle and katsu spot.
My family jokes that my grandpa doesn’t have a lot of wrinkles because he rarely smiled in the past. It still doesn’t come naturally to him, but at age 90, his heart has softened up quite a bit.
Views in and from the Courtyard Seoul Times Square.
Snapshots from my grandpa’s 90th birthday celebration.
Our vacation-within-a-vacation to Sokcho and up one of the highest mountains, Seoraksan, a Korea National Park.