I had this grand plan of finishing three blog posts on my 14 hour flight from Abu Dhabi to New York, only to watch documentaries and sleep the entire time with my new neck pillow (if you're curious I watched Wolfpack and Amy). There is something about a cold, stuffy, dark, smelly airplane which makes completing any sort of work impossible. However, when that airplane is not a redeye flight, has sunlight pouring through the windows, and has wifi and ample legroom thanks to JetBlue, I'm happy to do all the work in the world. No, I'm not being sponsored by JetBlue, but I am a poor, pitiful college student... (sponsor me JetBlue). I have a strong bias for this airline. We've had good history. It all started when they sponsored a few of the food trucks around NYU during hurricane Sandy. My friends and I indulged in some serious Belgian waffles from Waffles & Dinges while the power was out for approximately 8 days all around the city. I know, I know– lights out, Belgian waffles, so romantic.
But yes, I am traveling again. My last post was written during finals, and much has happened since then so let me create a timeline. Finals finished > teary good bye to all Seoul friends > fly to Abu Dhabi > stay in Abu Dhabi for 24 hours > fly to Karachi > stay in Karachi for nine days > fly to New York > stay in New York for two days > currently on my way to Costa Rica. Even for a frequent flyer like myself, this is some of the most traveling I have done in a while, and it's taking a toll on me. As much as I am ready to enjoy this vacation to Costa Rica, I am also excited to get settled in a routine for the sake of normal sleeping, eating, and living. I also kind of miss school work. Am I allowed to say that? Well it's been said.
I also think a routine and just my life back in New York in general will help take my mind off of my time Seoul, which I am missing so much. Traveling and meeting family leaves ample time for my mind to wander and be overwhelmed with nostalgia. I miss seeing my friends after two hours of Korean class, walking up the Yonsei hill in moderate heels and hating myself for it, and spontaneous nights out to Itaewon. But most of all I miss thinking: "Oh, I have so much time before I'm in New York".
Part of me hates already being back. This experience that I was looking forward to for months has come and gone. Another part of me feels so comfortable in this place where I have spent my entire life. And while you'd think that 21 years living in New York would make me a pro, it still feels daunting going back.
At the same time as there is a constant sense of hope and excitement, New York is exhausting and overwhelming. A feeling of constantly moving forward that is fueled by an insane energy I have experienced in no other city. In contrast, Seoul felt static. Sophisticated and safe and secure, but static. Perhaps it was because I was a foreigner there– but my world was a bubble. I found it difficult to connect with my immediate community and of course the communities I had grown up with that were suddenly so far in proximity. Essentially I belonged nowhere, which was both liberating and isolating at the same time. One may come to New York a foreigner, but he will in not too long a time find himself finding his own community within the city. New York is too real a place to ever let its residents forget that there is a world beyond their own little bubble. I have seen some come to New York and crush under its energy, and others prosper. For the most part I pride myself in falling into the latter category, but sometimes I do question myself. I think the only way I have managed to stay sane during my four years of university is by going away twice– by escaping that energy and allowing myself to recharge for a bit in order to return stronger. Unless you have visited New York, it is impossible to know what it feels like to be in this city. Even flying over the Freedom Tower before landing in JFK, I started to feel nervous about the thought of being here so permanently at least for the next few years.
I've mentioned before how my style choices are directly a product of my surroundings, so wearing this very New York-inspired look in Seoul made me feel out of place. This is something I would easily throw on for class back in Manhattan for a number of reasons. 1. It's basically all black 2. It's a summer romper but I would probably find it stuffed in my clothing rack (I don't have a closet at school) and attempt to winter-fy it 3. It's loose so I can stuff a bunch of layers underneath it 4. I love my leather jacket so much 5. Oh and these glasses too.
But for Seoul it felt far too grungy and dark. And while I hate reading blogs and thinking "she/he definitely did NOT wear that out!!!!!!!", I did not wear this look out in Seoul. But I have worn something similar back in New York. At the time I hadn't yet bought my Zara jacket or these StyleNanda shoes.
I did enjoy shooting this, however: Sidney and I found these very Korean-style homes right around the back gate of our dorm. I wish we had more time to shoot other looks during the semester, but I have a few more posts shot by the lovely Sidney Hahm to put up before I get too upset. After that I don't know what I'm going to do. I suppose I'll have to find a new photographer for the coming semester.
Last note: I do not know what's going on with my hair.
Romper - Primark
Jacket - Zara
Shoes - StyleNanda
Photography by Sidney Hahm