The city of Seoul has a heartbeat.

Ten million people together: riding subways, hailing cabs, buying kimbap, waiting for buses, crossing streets, watching for small slices of sky between the high rises. One day I went out wandering and I got lost in the subway and liked it. Then I got lost in a crowded textile market and when I walked out into the daylight, I was almost run over by a moped carrying small white birds in cages. I found a river running through it all and then spotted a K-pop memorabilia stand and almost bought a Girls Generation poster, but realized I needed to save my won for some kimchee and a side of rice.

So I told the lady: annyeonghaseyo, anyo, kenchanayo!, which in Korean means: hi! no. thats ok!

And while I was busy getting lost, the ladies around me carried sun umbrellas and men carried their girlfriend’s Prada purses, because sometimes in Korea, it is the men who like to flaunt the brand name handbags. On the day that I got lost in the heart of Seoul, I learned that reading a Korean paper can be harder than it looks; I realized that among age 50+ women, a plastic sun visor is a fashion YES; and I discovered that there are ashtrays in bathroom stalls because people like to smoke in small places.

Now that I am back from my Asian adventure, living a metro-less, kimchee-lacking existence, I am realizing that I might have accidentally left my heart in Seoul, somewhere under a seat on the on the subway. And now it is beating fast and hard on a Korean train, bound for a part of the city that I haven’t yet explored…