Courtesy of Ivy Cho

Living in Suncheon as a teenage girl who likes to hangout is pretty boring. There’s little in the way of entertainment for someone my age. It is all about navigating the same neighborhoods, the same streets, and the same people. Everything is familiar. Nothing is new. Life is described by that word: same.

Sometimes, it feels like our world is confined within these narrow alleys, where every corner holds a memory, and every face tells a story we already know. There are no strangers. Everyone we meet knows someone we know, and so on, and so on. This makes me feel safe but, at the same time, the sense of familiarity can feel suffocating, as if the eyes of the city are always watching me. For teenagers going through puberty, this is doubly-hard. Anonymity is a luxury only those who live in a city know about.

And all the fun things in life seem to be in Seoul: K-pop idol concerts, pop-up stores, amusement parks and cool cafes. Whenever me and my friends are there we can’t keep our eyes off of the random streets, the faces, the clothes. The concrete jungle and crowds. For someone from Suncheon, even the subway in Seoul is kinda exciting to be honest. When you’re used to traffic and buses, the idea of going underground and quickly traversing the city is mental! Yet here in Suncheon, we are way down in the south. Literally the other side of the country. That’s why people in Seoul are generally surprised by how far away my home is.

The slow life

The pace of life in Suncheon is decidedly slower and less mental. This is a double-edged sword, bringing both comfort and boredom. But there are some wonderful things here that I sometimes take for granted. The natural beauty of the area is breathtaking. Concrete replaced by the colors of the passing seasons and k-pop swapped for the calls of birds. We can rent bikes and be at the bay in just 20 minutes. The beach is just a quick bus ride, and it only costs 100 won for students. There’s a 추천 huge park where we can chill, imagining ourselves to be in Central Park or somewhere similar. Lying on a mat and looking at the high blue skies is like heaven. And on New Year’s Day we can see the sunrise from our mountains. Life here is chill. It’s not the hustle and bustle of big cities. It’s slower and quieter, but kinda nice in its own way.

Suncheon feels special to me because it blends the excitement of a city with the calming beauty of nature. I don’t need to stress out about crowds and traffic. I can just walk and lie down in a field and chill. I never feel like I’m constantly distracted either.

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