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  • Anika Punjabi

South Korea - A Magical Place

‘I choose to collect memories instead of things’ - these were Diya’s favourite words. She had always wanted to travel. At the age of fourteen, she had filled her entire cupboard with pictures of places she would visit someday. Her parents had tried to quench her thirst for exploring but money would constantly foil those plans.

At nineteen she had decided that South Korea would be the first one on her list, feeling amazed by its rich history, futuristic modernity, vibrant cities, and of course her favourite sport Taekwondo. Since then, she had worked hundreds of odd jobs for three years to collect the money.

One day she woke up in a strange place with white walls. A man walked up to her and explained, “Please stay calm, you have been in an accident but everything has been taken care of. You are hurt but recovery is possible. Please rest.” These seemed to be the most painful sentences she had ever heard. Looking blankly at nothing, she processed the information.

Suddenly Diya felt a familiar presence by her side. She turned to see her best friend holding her hand with a distressed look in his eyes. Through stinging tears, he explained the accident to her. With a comforting hug, he suddenly removed his phone and a pair of earphones from his pocket. As he gave her the earphones he said, “It’s your favourite Korean-pop music, you will love it.”

As she heard the music, she felt her tears dry; all her fears slowly faded away. Though the language was unfamiliar, she felt herself strolling the streets of Insadong, eating some delicious spicy rice cakes, visiting the Gyeongbokgung Palace and understanding the exquisite culture of the Bukchon Hanok Village. It was all so breathtaking.

Since then every evening she would sit at her window, listening to Korean music. She just loved getting transported to her pictures, each day made her appreciate the beauty of their culture. On days when there was no hope, her dream of going to South Korea kept her motivated to get better.

Two years later, at the airport, stood a girl wearing a pair of bright blue headphones. This girl knew that now that she was completely recovered, it was time for her to go make her dreams come true. With a big smile on her face, Diya boarded a flight for South Korea.

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