‘I miss you. Stay safe!’

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‘I miss you. Stay safe!’

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LEE DONG-HYUN
The author is the deputy editor of the industry team at the JoongAng Ilbo.

After cherry blossoms filled my apartment complex, the magnolias are in full bloom now. Nature is going with the flow, but humans are trapped in the hell we created. Two months into social distancing, I miss people and am curious about the outside world.

About a month ago, I told friends “Let’s meet after mid-April,” but I’m not sure if I can meet them, even now. Some have argued to keep the date since we already set it, while others are urging more caution. Either way, I am not sorry or anxious. I just miss them and want to catch up, but their reluctance is understandable.

I struggle on the phone or when texting. I often tell friends to stay cool, but when someone says “Stay healthy,” or “It’s been a while. I miss you,” on the other side of the line, I become sentimental even through I realize it’s just a greeting.

A few days ago, a colleague started a conversation on a messaging app for work. Replying to him, I added, “It’s been a while since we got together — because of Covid-19.” I hope he knows I was sincere.

Online world travel is booming on social media. Videos of scenery from around the world is paired with serene music. As I stare blankly at the monitor, I feel healed somewhat. I browse through old photos and videos from past trips.

Model and TV personality Han Hye-jin posted a photo of her exercising, photoshopped, on foreign land, and wrote that it was hard to travel the world. We all feel that once the epidemic is over, we want to make good memories in good places with good people.

I read online that a true trip is not to see new scenery but to have new eyes. It was credited to novelist Marcel Proust, but I’m not sure if that’s accurate.

Still, it doesn’t matter if it is a fake quote. The message is right. The epidemic will be over someday, and we will visit more places and make memories with more people. That’s how life is.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 17, Page 29
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