Not in Seoul! For the last two winters in Korea I have been processing images of people consuming cold beverages and frozen desserts in their down jackets and mittens with absolute wide-eyed wonder.
I am the kind that associates frigid temperatures with drinking hot cocoa or tea with fingers wrapped around the cup for extra warmth. So imagine my befuddlement at finding Seoulites sipping coffee with chunks of ice in them all through winter.
One night in Jamsil station not too long ago, I saw this dad buying soft serves for his kids at Lotteria – a fast food chain. We were waiting for our order and in those 15 minutes until our food arrived we saw soft serves flying off Lotteria’s shelves and landing in the hands of pimply teenagers, kids and elderly couples, practically everyone except us.
Now, I may not be fully convinced about eating an ice cream at the height of winter yet but the more I see people doing it around me, easier it is getting for me to wrap my head around something which I thought was outlandish!
Isn’t it interesting how travel constantly stretches our perspectives and makes it easier for us to acknowledge and even adapt if we so desire to norms, values, beliefs, behaviours, attitudes that are far different from ours?
Rick Steves in his book, Travel As a Political Act says “Travel challenges truth that we were raised thinking self-evident and God-given. Leaving home we learn other people find different truths to be self-evident. We realize that it just makes sense to give everyone a little wiggle room”.
This sketch will remind me of many such truths that are different from mine and how I can always choose to coexist with them.