Today in Seoul 25: Lost (and found)

November 8, 2016

I’ve gotten lost twice since we’ve been here. Our first morning, walking back from an errand, I didn’t remember which building was ours. I’m standing in a metropolis of 21 Million with no way to communicate with Janet or Gillian (no local cell phone) and even if I could have asked someone on the street, I couldn’t have told them where I wanted to go. I tried a building and a door that wasn’t ours, beat a hasty retreat at a suspicious Korean snarl from inside. Did that a second time. Finally made a lucky guess. (Was it really luck? I suspect my subconscious figured it out.) This past Saturday, walking at a glacial pace back from a workout, I thought a shortcut might help. Lost again. Such a very odd feeling, to be lost. It isn’t that you don’t know where you are, it’s that you don’t know ow to get where you want to go. On Saturday I recognized the lost feelings I’d felt the first time: empty, somewhat amused… and then this desperate need to get unlost, and quick. I stopped, breathed, got a hunch and followed it around several right turns, one left, and… a familiar landmark one block from home. I know, I know… technology could help: Korean SIM card, GPS, online maps…. I promise I’ll go that route if I take a third strike. Meantime, I’ll continue with an analog approach: be aware, note landmarks…. It’s more organic, more how I live. Sunday, when Janet and I were out, we walked through the same intersection where I fell for the shortcut temptation. This time, I led us up a block, looked around, noted a new coffee shop we could try out, then turned us around and back to the street we’d just left. We were home in five minutes. Analog Lost and Found.

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