It might have been somewhat stupid in hindsight (in terms of suitcase space and weight), but I decided to take advantage of the cheap prices in Seoul to find a new hobby. I have never been artistic, but I have always enjoyed making things even when they turn out ugly. As I am nearing graduation and I hope that means I will have some free time finally to find and nurture hobbies. My friend likes to make jewelry and suggested we go to a traditional market together that specializes in jewelry, fabric, yarn, and other art supplies called Dongdaemun.
We started the day at Lotte World Tower to see the view of Seoul. Air quality is usually an issue in Seoul which makes viewing the city from above often difficult. Although we tried to plan for a day with some rain so the pollution would clear up, it unfortunately did not rain as forecasted so our view wasn’t as good and the air was brown. But we still enjoyed seeing Seoul from a new angle.
Then we were off to Dongdaemun! Unfortunately, pictures aren’t allowed inside this particular market. I believe the other Dongdaemun markets allow photography though. So, all I have to share is a picture I took on the way to the market (the building on the right). Inside the market was a hectic maze of shops. Each floor had one to three themes (yarn and fabric floor, jewelry supplies and beads floor, etc.). My friend was on the hunt for two things, yarn for her new knitting hobby and beads for her pre-existing jewelry making hobby. I was supposed to only be along for the ride, that is until I laid eyes on all the beads and the examples the stores had on display of things you could make using their supplies….
But I suddenly felt inspired and made a few bad purchases. What I learned after making bad purchases at the first two stalls I made purchases at, is that you need to come into places like this with a plan. You need to know what you want to make at the very least, but it is also good to have a fairly clear idea of the supplies you need so you don’t overbuy and end up with things you won’t use. I was doing much better after about an hour at the market because I came up with a plan of what I wanted to make and what kinds of supplies I needed to do it.
This can also be seen as a lesson in life. Plans can be valuable as long as you maintain flexibility. My plan had been to not buy anything, but I realized soon after arriving that I would regret it if I left without taking advantage of the chance to start a hobby at a cheaper price. I practiced flexibility in deciding to buy supplies, but I needed a plan to make smart decisions of what to buy and what not to buy. In life it is important to have goals, you need a plan to achieve these goals, but you also need flexibility. The goal shows you what you want to achieve, the plan breaks down for you how to work towards goal completion, but flexibility is required because life doesn’t always go as planned. Things may come up that require you to change how you reach the goal or change the goal itself. Without flexibility we can be left feeling like we failed, like we are victims in life, and overall depress us. But, with flexibility we can persevere, adapt, and feel hopeful about the future.