Journey To The Land of S(e)oul (Part VIII) : Living By Love

One of the things that I wanted to tick off my bucket list was wearing hanbok. It was a silent promise I made to myself ever since I saw Dae Jang Geum running around in them. I wanted to own one and when I told my friend slash tour guide about my wish, she said I must prepare a few 50000 KRW notes for that.  They are usually expensive.  It was not really surprising really, but I still felt dejected anyway. I prayed that I will come across a pretty hanbok with reasonable price.

Most people do not understand why I have to own one. If you ask me, I am not so sure myself. But, if people open my wardrobe, they are able to see baju kurung (of course!), kebaya (the long kebaya and also kebaya nyonya), cheongsam, saree, yukata and even a Hogwarts robes. I guess I love collecting clothes which are unique to different cultures. It makes me see the world through my wardrobe.

So, I told myself that it is okay to not own it. I must rent and tried it while in Korea. And I did.

Hanbok, or the literal translation Korean Clothing, is a modest dress, as any other traditional clothings are. The women's hanbok is composed of Jeogori, the upper garment and Chima, the underskirt. When I was asked to choose which jeogori I would like to wear, I instantly choose the long jeogori, which historically was worn by the Gungnyeo, or the royal court lady.  I paired my bluish-green chima with pink jeogori. The combination was fantastic!

I roamed the streets of Bukchon Hanok Village in my hanbok, pulling myself away from reality and went into the solitude of my mind. I was back in Joseon Era, with pretentious grandiose as a royal court lady, visiting the place of the people. I was trusted by the King to take the report to him. However, far from what Majesty King have known, the Prince and I, we have our own little secret.

The Crown Prince; Lee Min-ho 😍 and I were inseparable since adolescent. I still remember the first time we met, it was under the pink cherry blossom tree at the end of Bukchon Hanok Village. We were little, playing hide & seek behind this door with thousands of lotus flowers engraved on it.

It was the only cherry blossom tree there, behind that door. He would then, pick up the cherry blossom flowers and place it neatly onto my hair.

As we grow older, our love blossoms as the flower would be. Bright and lovely. But it was like an enchanted tree that grows in a forbidden garden. You are doomed to take it out as the garden is guarded by hundred of soldiers.

I am just a lady officer of the royal court, a daughter of a commoner. A love affair between a commoner and a crown prince is just like declaring a war to the entire kingdom.

But the Crown Prince;Lee Min-ho, the only heir of the Majesty King was determined to make me his woman of honor. Our secret somehow has leaked to the knowledge of the Majesty King and he had ordered all the guards to capture the Crown Prince & I at once.

"Meet me at the place where I put the cherry blossom flowers on you for the first time" said my Prince.

I ran as fast as I could to the place of rendezvous. The Majesty King's soldiers were chasing me from behind.

Behind the door I heard sounds of horses' neighing. Could it be the Crown Prince's horses or the Majesty King's soldiers?

I was taken back to reality of current time so fast after I saw a piece of paper hung loosely on a pair of cream jeogori and red chima. I had to leave Lee Min-ho in my other life, but I will always carry this forbidden love story with me in my Pink Hanbok scarf.

SALE! 40,000 KRW. It was written so lousily in blue ink marker. But it was enough to make me squeal. Why not? That was not even one whole 50000 KRW note! I completed my round in Bukchon Hanok, returned my hanbok and went back to the shop.

The shopkeeper was nice. In my haste, I thought of paying for the hanbok straight away. But, she said I must try first, just in case the cream and red combination didn't look good on me and if I needed another design. She helped me put the hanbok on and even taught me how I should tie up the ribbon on the jeogori. She took one look at me and told me the hanbok was meant to be mine.

I smiled at the mirror. I didn't need to be told twice. The payment was soon made and I went home as a proud owner of a hanbok.

Maybe I would be bold enough to don my hanbok for the upcoming EXplOration in Malaysia?  Who knows?


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