A Special Interaction at Songaksan

What makes Songaksan memorable for me is not just its breathtaking scenery.

As a solo traveler, I was enjoying my time alone on the trail around Songaksan with my camera hanging from my neck. I was happy marveling at the sea, the landscape, and the locals having as much good time as I. Everyone seemed so relaxed and relieved to be at Songaksan.

I had a camera mainly to take photos of the scenery. I did not intend at all to take selfies. I did not even dress for it. I was wearing a loose long-sleeve and jogger pants, and a cap to hide my wild hair. Plus, I was carrying a plastic bag of oranges, looking like a domestic who just got off the market.

I was just going about sightseeing when I meet the eyes of an old man, an ajussi, so I smiled at him like I normally would in such an occasion. (It’s a habit of me when I am in another country to be especially congenial and smile at strangers because I can’t contain my happiness.) Actually, I think he smiled first. He immediately followed it up with an offer to take pictures of me, gesturing to my camera. He did not speak English at all.

He took not one, not two, but four photos of me from different angles. And here I am again with my parental references—he was directing me like a parent would, enthusiastically forcing his awkward child to pose against certain backdrops. As you can see, I was really awkward.

These are not my best photos of me, but they are certainly the most memorable. These photos are precious remembrance of the time I met another sweet old local.

I hope to meet you again, ajussi.


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