During my last few hours in Korea I sat down to try to summarize what I’ve seen and experienced here. It’s difficult because I felt like I haven’t experienced anything, just what the tour has shown me: the kitschy tourist items, the tea fields, the fake traditional wedding, these all seem like things that have shown me what Korea was. I didn’t even touch on the things which have truly defined Korea throughout its history: colonialist rulers, the war, the division and desire for reunification, and the constant sabre rattling of its neighbour to the north.
As I write this, I’m sitting on a second floor looking down at more than a few very well-groomed, extremely thin young women with fairly heavy makeup wander down the high street looking at cheap leather boots and giggling, moving from stall to stall searching for what they want; who is to say what they want, I bet they don’t even know. Perhaps this is the best description for Korea.
Korea is a rapidly growing country, much like it’s people, it is always on the move, always looking for opportunities to cut in front and take the reins of its own destiny. It’s a country bent on moving forward, where the smartest, prettiest, most plentiful are waiting to be developed and turned into something… yet unknown. It’s a place where there’s one eye on the sordid past, but ultimately, they choose to face the future.
The place where I am now, surrounded by the young LA Dodgers ball cap, hammer jeans, vinyl leggings, slick suit and smart mini skirt wearing young adults is the real Korea, it’s the Korea I want to visit and get to know the next time around; this is the Korea of the now, and the Korea of the future.