Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feeling Home

It was late by the time we arrived at the building that was to be our home in Seoul. We were led up one level to apartment number 204. My tired eyes looked around at what seemed a rather cramped, small space. Our luggage flopped onto the middle of the floor and the room was instantly full--as it happened, the middle was the edges and they met the walls directly.

We slept a roasting hot sleep, the dry air cracking our throats throughout the night, and awoke several hours later when day had broken. We sorted our belongings into the drawers, cabinets, and closet that made up our new surroundings. The floor that had been hidden under our luggage was warm and felt nice under our feet. It looked of wood but didn't really feel like wood, although the telltale grain of lumber was there to be seen, and even felt. Still today, weeks after this first encounter with the space, my eyes follow grain lines across the floor and to the walls, where the texture changes from not quite wooden wood to intricately pressed paper.

The walls are wrapped in texture as well. One wall is fancy with red circles on a cream background. Ribbons of subtle gold run from the floor to the ceiling, sometimes transecting the circles, both large and small. The other walls are decorated in a subtler paper--all off-white color and only diamonds pressed into it at regular intervals. The walls are touchable.

It took me a week to realize it, but everything in this apartment is touchable.

The floor is warm and grained but won't splinter,
The walls are a color that changes with light.
The desk drawers and closet have a laminate luster,
That kind's hard to find but sure out of sight!

There are tiles in the kitchen that I like to touch, too.
Then the glass in the doorway is partly opaque,
Which makes it all rough and hard to see through.
The list could go on, but I'll stop for your sake!

The phrase goes "feel at home," but I didn't feel at home until I felt home. It's all here. Every little bit of it.

...smooth mirrors; small, rough bathroom floor tiles; lampshades of canvas; a glass table top; the bright metal runners that are our cabinet handles; the soft and speckled pink marble that would hold in our thresh; the porcelain of our bathroom; the brand new metal fixtures; more tiles, more paper, more fake wood window sills...

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