Today marks our 1 year back in South Africa.
This past year has been one crazy roller coaster ride, a year I will never forget, never want to have over again and a year where I learned the most about life than ever before.
It has also been a year where I thought a lot about our 5 years in Korea and sometimes even wondered why we came back…
Korea will always be a part of who I am, always. A memory and time in my life where I knew who I was every day, where I stood my ground, determined to be the best I can be. A time I learned to love myself, my flaws, my strengths, my own quirkiness, just plain me. And a time where I discovered what I really wanted to do with my life, where I developed my craft and lived out my passion and came to be the person I am today.
At one stage this past year “South Africa happened to me”, and I forgot all of this… At one stage I didn’t even want to be a photographer anymore. How sad is THAT!
I worked through that, made a few plans and now I’m back on track, so not so sad anymore. But it got me thinking!
So I revisited my time in Korea, to remember the old Ilze, ignite that passion again.
This is a tribute to the beautiful country we got to know over the years, the wonderful people we met there, the awesome friends we’ve made, the coolest little kids we taught, the trips we took, the food we miss daily. Korea is my second home, a place I hope to visit again one day, and show my kids too.
And if you’re in Korea while reading this, remember, you are blessed to be there, to be able to experience and live among another culture. I know how hard Korea can be sometimes, but it truly is a wonderful place to live, so embrace every moment there!
The place David and I got engaged, Naminara island in the middle of the Han river.
Some nights after school we would take our bicycles and drive all along the river running through the city and have a picnic. Our view was just apartment buildings and the highway, but at the same time it was a peaceful setting.
Our closest friends in Korea! Deon, Nadia, Hendrik and Dorette. How I wish for a lekker kuier with these peeps sometimes.
During our time there I also met a whole bunch of people and families for photo shoots, literally from all over the world, also working in Korea for a bit, or living there permanently. I enjoyed hearing everyone’s stories, of how they met, why they travel, why Korea and stories about their own home countries.
And then of course, I took loads of photos of life in Korea. The photos will never do it justice, because to truly understand the land of the morning calm, you must’ve been there. It’s a colourful country, full of contradictions and contrasts, never how it seems, but always how it seems. Technology in abundance, but at the same time old worldly. Beautiful and ugly, free and confined, alone but also never alone…