humansofseoul

“When I was in second grade my mother got into a car accident and passed away, I didn’t know where my father was, so I lived in Busan with my grandmother. However when I was in middle school her health took a turn for the worse, so I told my grandmother I’m going to live on my own; after that I lived by myself in Seoul. Later when I became an adult my grandmother was disappointed in me because I said I was working as a tattoo artist. So, I met my grandmother in person and showed her my first tattoo, and she was really moved by it.”
“What made her change her mind?”
“Because my first tattoo was of my mother’s face.”

“초등학교 2학년 때 어머니가 교통사고로 돌아가시고, 아버지는 어디 계신지도 몰라요. 그래서 쭉 부산에서 외할머니하고 같이 살았는데, 중학교 때 외할머니 건강이 안 좋아서 제가 스스로 독립하겠다고 말하고 그 이후로 서울에서 혼자 살았어요. 제가 나중에 성인이 된 다음에 타투를 직업으로 한다고 하니까 외할머니가 실망을 하셨어요. 그래서 외할머니를 직접 만나서 제가 처음 한 타투를 보여드렸더니 감동을 받으셨어요.”
“할머니가 왜 마음을 바꾸신 것 같아요?”
“제 첫 문신이 제 어머니의 얼굴이었거든요.”

“How long have you been together?”
“(Man) 95 days. We are both 20 years old.”
“What is something you would most like to do with your girlfriend?”
“(Man) Get married.”
“(Woman) What?”

"만난지 얼마나 되셨나요?"
”(남자) 95일이요. 20살 동갑이에요”
"혹시 여자친구하고 제일 해보고 싶은 게 뭔가요?"
”(남자) 결혼이요.”
”(여자) 뭐?”

“She’s a recluse, so every day I need to take her out. She lives in Seoul, yet this is her first time coming out to a place like this. She likes things like reptiles and bugs, so we came here with an alligator stuffed animal as well. Hey! Why do you keep hiding? By the way, she’s particularly good at catching flies.”

“이 누나가 히키코모리라서 제가 맨날 끌고 나와요. 서울 사는 데 이런 데는 처음 와 본대요. 이 누나가 파충류, 곤충, 이런 걸 좋아해서 악어 인형도 같이 들고 왔어요. 누나! 왜 자꾸 피해. 아참 이 누나 특기가 파리 잡기예요.”

“(Girl) I first saw my now boyfriend when I was riding on the subway. I checked his school uniform and searched for him on Facebook. It turned out that he was my friend’s friend. I got his number from my friend and kept on writing messages and deleting them until about 12am when I finally summoned up the courage to send it, however I didn’t get a reply. I was shaking so much that night, I couldn’t sleep. The next day though he replied. I don’t think I’ve had such a happy morning like that before in my life.”
“(Boy) We really met by chance. I also didn’t realize that I would end up liking a girl like this.”

”(여자) 지하철을 타고 가다 제가 먼저 지금의 남자친구를 발견했어요. 교복을 보고 혹시나해서 페이스북을 찾아봤는데 제 친구의 친구였어요. 친구한테 번호를 받은 다음 문자메세지를 썼다 지웠다 반복하다가 밤 12시쯤 용기를 내서 문자 했어요. 근데 답문이 안 오는 거예요. 떨려서 잠이 오질 않았어요. 다음 날 답장이 왔는데, 그렇게 기뻤던 아침이 없었을거예요.”
“(남자) 정말 어쩌다 만났는데, 저도 이렇게 여자친구를 좋아하게 될 줄 몰랐어요.”

“Something special in my life? I’ve had a girlfriend for six years now. We went to the same elementary school, middle school, and high school, and now we are at the same college.”
“How did you start dating?”
“I didn’t confess my love to her or anything like that. One day I just suddenly started to see her as a woman, and we just naturally held each other’s hands one cold day.”

“제 인생의 특별한 점이요? 제가 6년된 여자친구가 있는데, 초등학교, 중학교, 고등학교를 다 같이 다녔고. 지금은 대학교까지 같이 다녀요.”
“어떻게 사귀기 시작했어요?”
“고백 같은 건 없었어요. 어느 순간부터 갑자기 여자로 보이더라구요. 자연스럽게 추운 날 서로 손을 잡았어요.”

“Since I changed my hair to this color, foreigners have the illusion that I’m an idol and ask for my autograph. It’s embarrassing. I’m not an idol”

"머리색을 이렇게 바꾸고 나니, 외국인들이 절 아이돌로 착각하고 싸인 받으러 와요. 저 아이돌 아니에요. 부끄럽네요."

“Foreigner customers are more kind-hearted and loyal than I originally thought. There are people from Nepal, China, Cambodia etc…who are all working in different cities, but always visit my food stall whenever they come up to Seoul. They can also speak Korean well. They come, eat and leave, all the while calling me older sister. Last time one person from Nepal ate 2,000 won worth of fish cakes, so when he was leaving I told him to come again and packed ten Bungeobbang (fish-shaped red bean filled bread) for him to go. Later that night he came back and brought ten of his friends. What a fun world.”

“외국손님들이 생각보다 정이 많아. 네팔, 중국, 캄보디아 등에서 온 사람들이 여러 도시에서 일하는데 서울에 올라오면 우리 포장마차를 항상 거처가. 한국말도 잘 해. 와서 누나누나 하면서 먹고 가거든. 저번에는 한 네팔 사람이 어묵을 이천원어치 사먹었어. 그래서 내가 갈 적에 맛있게 먹고 또 오라고 붕어빵을 10개를 싸줬지. 그랬더니 그 날 저녁에 자기 친구들 10명을 다 데리고 왔더라구. 참 재밌는 세상이야.”

“Bad things are like red flowers, and good things are like pine trees. Compared to red flowers, pine trees aren’t attractive, but when the frost comes only the pine trees remain. To me, this is what life is. As time goes on, our earnest and diligent lives are shown more than our colorful, glamorous ones. Life is the things that are seen with our eyes but aren’t so clear and the things we hear with our ears but don’t quite catch.”

“나쁜 건 붉은 꽃과 같고 좋은 것은 소나무와 같다는 말이 있어요. 소나무는 붉은 꽃에 비해 볼품이 없지만, 서리가 내리면 남는 건 소나무 뿐이죠. 저에게 인생이란 게 그런 것 같아요. 시간이 지나면, 간절하고 정성들여 산 삶이 화려한 삶보다 드러나죠. 삶이란 눈으로 보이지만 잘 안보이고 귀로 들리지만 제대로 안 들리는 것이더라구요.”

“It’s been 10 years since we first met, and now we’re getting married. We didn’t want to have just a normal wedding; we wanted to show people how we love each other and what we think about each other. So, we opened up an exhibit filled with the pictures of our relationship. This exhibit is both the debut of our amateur photography and our wedding ceremony.”

“처음 만난 지 10년이 넘어 결혼하게 되었어요. 그냥 일반 결혼식이 아니라 우리가 어떤 사랑을 했고, 어떤 생각을 하고 있는지 들려주고 싶었어요. 그래서 지난 연애의 기록을 담은 사진 전시회를 열었어요. 이 전시회는 저희가 작가로 데뷔하는 아마추어 사진전이면서 동시에 저희 결혼식이기도 합니다.”

“When I was in 3rd grade high school I dropped out and started working. Actually that was barely three months ago.”
“What is the most difficult thing for you out in the real world?”
“Working at such a young age has caused a lot of confrontations. Because I’m young, even though I think I’m correct people older than me think I’m not and constantly tell me I’m wrong. I think it’s because I want to live with an open mind and without prejudice. Actually having tattoos is one way I’m going to overturn prejudice. Later in life when I grow up, no matter how old I am, no matter my job, or how I’m living, I want to keep my diverse beliefs.”

“전 고 3때 학교를 때려치고 일을 시작했어요. 사실 그게 겨우 3개월 전 일이에요.”
“사회에 나와보니 뭐가 가장 힘들었나요?”
“어린 나이에 일을 하다보니 부딪치는 게 많아요. 제가 어리다 보니 제가 맞다고 생각해도 어른들이 아니라면서, 저에게 지나치게 뭐라고 할 때가 있어요. 전 넓은 시각으로 편견 없이 살고 싶거든요. 사실 타투를 한 것도 편견을 뒤엎자고 한 거예요. 나중에 어떤 일을 하든, 나이를 먹든, 어떻게 살든, 다양하게 생각하며 살자는 의지만은 반드시 지키고 싶거든요.”

“When I first saw my girlfriend, whom I’ve been dating for four years, we just greeted each other in our neighborhood and moved on. However, I had a feeling that she would be nice, so I asked her if she wanted to go on a date, but I lied to her and told her that we are the same age. I couldn’t speak English so well.”
“Oh, she’s a foreigner?”
“Yeah, she’s American. She’s actually five years older than me. We dated for a year and I ended up getting caught lying, even her mother in America found out.”
“What did her mother say?”
“Age is only a number.”

“만난 지 4년 된 지금 여자친구를 처음 봤을 땐 동네에서 서로 인사만 하고 지나갔어요. 그러다 여자친구의 느낌이 좋아서 사귀자 했는데, 제가 거짓말을 했어요. 나이가 동갑이라구요. 영어도 못했으니까.”
“아 외국인이에요?”
“네 맞아요. 미국인이에요. 사실 저보다 5살이 많아요. 그렇게 1년을 만나다가 결국엔 거짓말 한 게 걸렸고, 미국에 계신 여자친구 어머님도 그 사실을 알게 됐어요.”
“어머님이 뭐라고 하셨나요?”
“나이는 숫자에 불과하대요.”

“I had my first lesson today as a florist. I’ve liked flowers ever since I was young, but I was too busy working, supporting a family, and raising kids that I finally now, after 10 years like that, have the time to take this class. This may sound funny, but I kept feeling like I was going to cry during the lesson. Although my kids make me really happy, I found a different kind of happiness during the class, something like redeeming my lost self.”

"오늘 플로리스트 첫 수업이었어요. 원래 어릴 때부터 꽃을 좋아했지만 다른 일을 하다가 결혼하고 애 키우는 데 바빠서 이제야 배우게 됐어요. 10년 만에 여유가 생긴 거예요. 우습게 들리겠지만, 수업 받다가 계속 울컥울컥 했어요. 애기들이 절 정말 행복하게 해주지만, 그거와 다른 행복… 잃어버린 나를 찾은 느낌이에요.”