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Delicious sparkling lemonade at the book cafe in Wolgye YumYumXD

Before the ’88 Olympic in Korea, many apartments began to be built in Seoul for the preparation of the Olympics. Apartments were very convenient and satisfied the people’s desire to have their own space. Also many people started coming to Seoul, and the apartments were very good ideas for the architects because many people could live in small areas compared to the number of people who lives there and it could get much profit. Apartments were the symbol of property and many people wanted apartments. Thanks to that, downtown Seoul is full of apartments. The outskirts are also composed of apartments, but when we go further from the downtown, we can find townhouses which were built a quite long time ago. When I walked around Wolgye, I could see the view which both townhouses and apartments coexist and it looked quite awkward and interesting.

On the outskirts of Seoul, there are many villages mixed with apartments and townhouses, keeping the old scene of Seoul. When we go to the left side of Wolgye library, we can find a village with lots of townhouses along the byways. The paths are narrow and both sides are all houses. The houses and everything along the paths all looked old. Overgrown trees covering the houses also looked old and it helped the town look more old and ambiguous. Vines covered the walls of the houses and we could see wires complicatedly tangled up like a spider web when we look toward the sky. They were not arranged and looked very dizzy. While I was walking between the houses on the narrow byways, I smelled some kind of familiar scent of wet dirt and something, and I soon recognized that it was the smell which I smelled in my grandmother’s village in the countryside. Smelling the scent, feeling the old village, reminded me of my grandmother and the village soon made me very comfortable and relaxed.

When we walk a few minutes more from there, there’s a street full of many kinds of shops. Hair shops, grocery stores, snackbars, eating places, hoff, stationary, laundry… delicious smells stimulated my appetite and the scene of various shops crowded the alley made me interested. The houses near there looked modern but walking around the village, what I saw was an old village keeping all the traces of the past. Although some houses were rebuilt or partially repaired, they also still had the signs of the previous building, and it gave me a queer look. Since I smelled the familiar smell of my grandmother’s house, I started to have some kind of comfort like I’ve lived here for a long time. I loved the view of old houses and old village and I wished that this village to remain, and not be damaged or changed.

Then we walk toward Induk Univ., we can see there a lot of apartments. They are modern and more neat than the townhouses. The apartment villages were well organized and looked more pleasant to live. As I walked further from the townhouses, more clean, well organized apartments and shopping streets appeared. Like that the apartments were the symbol of wealth, they looked good, and living there will be more comfortable. However I also thought they looked quite boring, too- too well organized.

Apartments are very efficient and look neat. However, townhouses are also good and there are many people who prefer townhouses in small villages which are older rather than apartments. Not only that, almost everyone in those towns are old people who have been living in those old houses since they were built, and those houses are very worthwhile to them. I prefer those old townhouses than apartments. Apartments are convenient and clean, but I like the townhouses more. Nowadays, old villages full of townhouses and old byways are redeveloped into apartments. Redevelopments are good for using more space and making other useful buildings, but it’s sad the old village with the past remains and memories are disappearing into ashes. I know redevelopments are unavoidable for regional development but the fact these old villages will disappear was pitiful for me. However, redevelopments are unavoidable, so I thought the only way is to remember those things.

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2 thoughts on “Coexistence of the Modern and the Past in Wolgye

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