in the middle of the morning, under the season’s first real rain, i stepped into a korean memory behind glass doors on San Pablo Avenue. paper lanterns of varying shapes dropped from an exposed ceiling and Asian furniture adorned the space creating small areas that catered to soft exchanges among tea drinkers.
an elevated bamboo platform encouraged us to remove our shoes and my legs folded with familiarity over each other on a colorful seat cushion. the smell of steeping herbs calmed the vigorous nature of hours before and my hands cupped a welcomed heat. this experience imported quick flashes of favorite spots discovered on strolls in the cobbled streets of Insadong nestled in the heart of Seoul.
there were, though, imperfections here.
for one thing, there was much too much open space-not enough hanging wooden bird cages nor small niches to hold a ceramic animal or bowl. the tea pots and cups lacked charm and delicacy. the classical music played was misplaced. the hostess smiled too openly.
yet, engaged in the exchange of stories from faraway places with a soulful stranger, i felt connected for the first time in a very long time to a reality of life that seemed to have vanished along with 2014.
[image by Autumn Ann]