Are you a Seoul-born?
(Jo) I was born and raised in the outskirts of Seoul, Gwacheon. It’s a city where the nostalgic air of the 80’s and 90’s prevails pleasantly. I left to study graphic design at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design in London and so I naturally became to live on my own since then. And as soon as I came back from my studies I went straight to serve my assigned years at the Korean Army so I’m not that familiar with Seoul.
(O) I was born in Iksan city located in Jeolla Province. I moved to Seoul to attend college and started living on my own near the school in Hongdae. Since the mid-2000, during my college years, Hongdae began to turn into a busy downtown area. The basement level of a flat that I once lived became a chicken place. It was really strange to see my old bathroom refurbished into a store restroom.
You both moved to Seoul in your 20’s. What were the first impressions of the city?
(O) Iksan is a rural city that pretends to be urban. Well of course, it should’ve changed a lot by now. My first Starbucks experience was during college while my husband’s was during high school. I never understood what Starbucks was like until I moved to Seoul. My high school years were unfamiliar even with the word ‘café’ so obviously, as a teenage girl living in a countryside, I was curious to what Starbucks was. That’s how big the gap was between a rural city and a ‘real’ city. In the beginning I was quite shocked to see people getting coffees with a cost of some 3~4,000 won(laugh).
(Jo) After graduating from Saint Martins and before serving the Army, I worked as an intern at mmmg, a designed stationery brand, which led me to Anguk station for the first time ever. All I knew of Seoul were the English tutorial institutions spread out in the Gangnam area and Anguk was a totally different place. I realized then that Seoul is a great city in terms of diversity.