The Many Faces of Seoul – A List

All views and information presented herein are my own and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.

Three weeks exploring, discovering, learning, inspired and in awe of this country’s resilience and grit. Reflecting on the opportunity of adventure and freedom, wishing for time to stand still.

Seoul is a patchwork quilt stitched with a thread of contradictions.The city embraces me in a way that allows me to feel comfortable, accepted and safe.

Hangul no longer looks like a jumble of symbols – I can look at a map and read street names, monuments, districts.  

Hangul no longer sounds strange – I can recognize the subway stops announced over the sound system without having to read the names of the stations. I read on my phone, no longer apprehensive that I will miss my stop.

Lists are one way of writing about places, things, people, life. Lists can be written in words of pictures. Many of us spend hours brainstorming, writing and reading them. For those of us who are lovers of lists, this is one I wrote alone or maybe not. I got help from Seoul and Seoulites.

Seoul List

Neon colored signs, food signs

Announcing everything for sale.

Barbequed meat, kalbi, bulgogi

Noodles, Mul-naengmyeon, Jjajangmyeon

Coffee, iceflakes, desserts

Lingering smells from stalls and streets.

Museums, monuments, parks

Sprinkling beauty on the town.

Butterflies, nabi, children

Flying, running free.

Hanboks, jeans, sneakers

Honoring tradition, looking to the future.

High-rises, two story houses

Palaces, hanoks

Writing a cityscape with no rhyme but reason.

Telephone wires, cellphones, high speed internet

Above ground and underground – connected and isolated.

Traffic jams, cyclists

Subways, buses

Traveling through the heart of the city and beyond.

Fountains, streams, the Han River

Flowing in its middle, joining the halves into one Seoul.






20 thoughts on “The Many Faces of Seoul – A List

  1. Monica,
    I finally getting time to sit and read trough your posts thus far. Amazing! I am a visual learner so I enjoy your photos. Helps us feel like we are traveling there with you 🙂

    I thought of you this week as we completed the “languages I speak” projects for back to school night. We are all doing well but miss your presence and guidance!



    1. Hi Casey,

      I am so thrilled to hear from you! It is great that you can get in the traveling mode with me! So nice to hear that the “languages I speak” is still being used. To think I made it some years ago. It makes me so happy to know you still use it!
      Stay in touch, Monica


  2. You made 5th post already. I feel you look very comfortable in that place now. I agree with you Hangul is easy to learn. You can read and listen some words.. Are we speaking Korean each other when you coming back?
    I like all your pictures. That made me to follow my old memories and miss it.
    Thanks. Ms. Schnee.


  3. I can see in your photos and hear in your words that this is everything you hoped and dreamed – and more! You are so brave and amazing – a model and inspiration for us all. Continue to soak up every second of this amazing opportunity.


    1. Thanks Beth for looking at the blog. Congratulations on your new gorgeous addition! Visit my page weekly and you will get a taste of Seoul. By the way, the maps of foods you gave me has come in very handy.


  4. Once again I am in awe of my dear friend. To become so fluent, so quickly, to be able to embrace your surroundings in such a loving and compassionate way. Looking forward to learning more about the Korean culture through you!


  5. Wonderful, wonderful post. I love the design of the print list supported by images–or is it the other way around: visuals supported by text? Thanks, Monica for including us in your travels!


  6. Looking at Seoul through your eyes is enlightening! It looks like you are exploring a lot of different places and things. Happy to know that you are enjoying the city and country very much 🙂


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