i first met my friend dana through an old co-worker. dana is from seoul, south korea and last year she came to new york for a few months. we became pals and kept in touch over email when she went back to korea. in october, i got to go to shanghai for work and extended my layover in seoul to stay with dana. seoul reminded me of an asian san francisco as it's super hilly and incredibly modern/cosmopolitan. there was amazing food, shopping, art and culture there. it was the trendiest place i've ever been with the trendiest people i've ever seen. there was shopping everywhere you looked! for example, i bought a turtleneck in the subway.
dana was an incredible, thoughtful host and greeted me with a package of goodies -- korean candies, postcards, magnets and a disposable camera. i hadn't used one in ten years but it was the perfect way to document my time there (although many of the photos sadly didn't come out). dana showed me kindness that seems to embody her culture -- through out the trip she showered me with desserts, treats and candies. she also taught me a lot about life there and we spent much of our time together comparing notes on our different cultures. for example, creative pursuits are not widely supported in seoul especially as a profession. hearing this made me feel especially lucky to live in a country where art making is both widely pursued and supported. that trip taught me not to take that for granted. dana and i continue to keep in touch through the interwebs, sharing insights and experiences from afar.