When I first moved to Korea, I spent every minute of my free time getting lost in the neighborhoods of Seoul. Wandering the unknown became a hobby and through it, I was able to learn a lot about my new home and discover many a hidden gem, whether it be a cafe, an interesting sculpture or a peaceful green space to sit and rest for a while.
As time went on and I grew accustomed to my new city, the neighborhoods lost a bit of their magic and I became slightly jaded. Over the past few weeks, however, I began to miss those afternoons spent in solitude and discovery and decided to get back to exploring the streets of the city. The historic district of Seochon-dong was first on my list. I had no expectations, which is probably why I was so delighted to have stumbled upon Dae-oh Book Store 33 Cafe.
Well? Good question.
Before I came to Korea, I'd been considering both Japan and Korea as possible destinations. Thanks to a dumb mistake on my JET application (postmarked by and received by are VERY different, kids), Japan fell out of the running pretty early. However, that doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of reasons why Korea felt like a good choice.
After "What's your name?", "How old are you?", "Do you have a boyfriend?", "Why not?" and "Do you know Dokdo?", one of the most common and weirdly challenging to answer questions I get in Korea is "Why did you come to Korea?" Why Korea, and not some other country? Why would you fly halfway across the world, leave everything familiar, and take a job here?