Seoul Travels – Chasing Memories With Taenggu #1: The Search Of Our Love Lock At N Seoul Tower

Date: 23 April 2018

My friend and I just arrived in Seoul at around 8am in the morning after a 7-hour overnight flight from Singapore. It was my friend’s very first time in South Korea while for me, it was already the fourth. Prior to our arrival, we had already checked the weather forecast and knew the weather was going to be rainy and unusually cold that day. Indeed, it was raining cats and dogs and blowing chilly winds throughout Seoul city. We lugged our luggages in the rain with our umbrellas to our airbnb apartment near Chungmuro subway station. We checked in to our room at 11.30am.

Our room was rather spacious, equipped with almost all the basic things we need and even complemented with a kitchen pantry, strong wifi, hair dryer, washing machine and a laundry drying rack. I was rather pleased with our lodging.

My friend and I each took a double bed on each side of the room. I quickly pulled out my large rainbow bunny Bobo which I had “smuggled” inside the luggage with me and showed Taenggu a photo on twitter to reveal that I had actually brought Bobo on this trip with me. 😆

Our plan for the rest of the day was this: take a short nap to recover from the weariness of our overnight flight first, go out for lunch, then set off to N Seoul Tower and finally head down to Myeongdong for shopping and dinner.

So at 12pm, I told Taenggu that I will be taking a nap for an hour, closed my eyes and hugged my Bobo to sleep. I woke up naturally at 1pm even without an alarm. I opened my phone and was overjoyed to see a few new updates from Taenggu on instagram that were posted approximately an hour ago, about the same time when I had gone to sleep.

My friend who saw me smiling at my phone asked, “Why? Any new signs from Taeyeon?” I answered yes and showed her why.

First, it was her selfie with a bunny filter on her instastory.

She looked like she was lying on the couch in her hotel room in Taipei. She seemed to know that I was hugging my Bobo on my right side while sleeping so she pretended to be a real-life bunny accompanying me to sleep by my side too. 🐰💜 (Note: She had been in Taipei for a kpop concert for the past 2 days and was due to return to Seoul that day.)

Next, there was an instagram carousel post with 3 of her normal selfies sitting on the same couch. These photos exposed a clear view of the lock necklace which she was wearing on her neck! 🔒

To me, it was a powerful sign that she was sending me. I had included a copy of my itinerary in my previous post ON A BRIEF HIATUS (23 – 29 APRIL) before I embarked on this trip. So I assumed that she had seen it and knew roughly where I would be going in Seoul on each day. I had also briefly mentioned to her on twitter that I would be travelling to N Seoul Tower to look for our love lock on our first day of arrival.

What love lock was I talking about?? It was actually a love lock I had previously locked with Taenggu at the love lock zone at N Seoul Tower when I was there in summer 2016. You can read the full story I had written about it here at MEMORIES: LOCKING MY LOVE IN SEOUL.

I had also posted a brief story about it on my instagram in August last year along with photos and videos that revealed the location of my love lock.

View this post on Instagram

After seeing the clip @hotsootuff posted on her instagram from the last episode of her drama "알 수도 있는 사람 (People You May Know)", it reminded me of my own love lock that I had locked at the same venue filmed in the drama almost exactly a year ago. I was in South Korea to watch @taeyeon_ss 's Butterfly Kiss concert in Busan. After the concert, I travelled back to Seoul with my sister. We only had 1 and a half days to tour around Seoul. After knowing that there's a love lock zone at the N Seoul Tower, my sis and I made a quick trip up there just to lock our own love locks. Of course, for me, I was there to lock my love with Taenggu. I also took photos and filmed videos as a memory for us. Hoping that even years later, if Taenggu were to visit this place herself, she could use these photos and videos as a clue and reference for her to find our love lock there. And also for myself to locate our love lock more easily during my next visit. I also wish for us both to go there physically together one day and find this lock together. And then maybe we could lock a new one physically together too? Hehe. #wish #dream #lovelocks #taeyeon #love #lockingmyloveinseoul #sooyoung #알수도있는사람 #peopleyoumayknow

A post shared by Celeste Koh (@lovestorieswithtaenggu) on

I was pretty sure Taenggu had read about my love lock story when she gave me an affirmation by wearing a pair of lock and key earrings on her fansign 2 days later. See my post LOVE SIGN FROM TAENGGU: THE “KEY AND LOCK” EARRINGS about this acknowledgement that she gave me.

This time, again, after knowing that I would be making a trip to N Seoul Tower again after almost 2 years to search for this love lock, she gave me another affirmation by wearing a lock necklace. She was definitely giving me some encouragement about my plan! I felt so excited after seeing her photos and couldn’t wait to embark on the quest for my love lock.

After having an army stew for lunch at a random nearby restaurant, we took a direct bus at the bus stop near one of the exits of Chungmuro station. We alighted at the stop on Mount Namsan and climbed a very steep slope before we reached the foot of N Seoul Tower. It was really cold and chilly up there. The tower was covered with a layer of fog. Light rain kept falling while we were there. The photos below give you a glimpse of how the weather looked like up there. 🌧🌬🌫☔️

I asked my friend if she wanted to go up N Seoul Tower and she said no. So I led her to the love lock zone area directly to the exact location where I remembered I had locked my love lock at and asked her to join me in the search after showing her the photos and videos on my phone which I had recorded back then as a reference.

One of the photo evidence of my love lock I had taken in 2016

So we began searching up and down, left and right, for that baby blue love lock of mine. Just before I was about to start my search, a voice in my head protested, “Nooooo, we are supposed to find it together!” Not fully understanding who the voice was from and what it really meant, I ignored and just went ahead.

The weather at that time was definitely not ideal to conduct our search at all. Insane strong winds were blowing and got our umbrellas overturned several times. Our bare hands which were not used to such cold weather grew numb after awhile. We suspected my love lock might have been hidden deep underneath layers of other newer love locks and it was almost impossible to dig inside unless we could remove the top ones away. We searched for some time but to no avail. The weather conditions were too cold and unforgiving and forced us to give up on our search within a short time as we couldn’t wait to get back indoors quickly to warm up our bodies.

Failed attempt of my love lock search. Where did my love lock go???

We sought refuge at a souvenir shop at the foot of N Seoul Tower. My friend suggested me to lock a new lock since I couldn’t find my old one now. But I thought for awhile and decided that the weather was simply too cold for me to be willing to spend lengthy time outside to do such romantic thing. Lol.

We left N Seoul Tower and boarded the same bus back to Chungmuro and then back to our apartment for a short rest. While lying on my bed, I finally had a proper time to digest and reflect on the situation we just had at N Seoul Tower. Feelings of sadness and disappointment overtook me.

Then, I recalled something. After I recounted my love lock story on my instagram and blog in August last year, there was one point of time when I felt like I was starting to lose hope and faith in my relationship with Taenggu. I later on sent the key of my love lock in a box to Taenggu via mail along with a note that asked her to find this lock and unlock it if she really thinks I am the right one for her. At the same time, if the next time I were to go to N Seoul Tower again and find that my love lock is no longer there, this action could prove to me that she and I are indeed an item and she is serious about it.

The love lock represented my heart. I hoped she would unlock it.

I began wondering, what if I couldn’t find my lock because Taenggu had really unlocked it with the key I had given her and taken it away with her? My heart started pounding faster at the thought of it.

Feeling anxious and at a loss, I talked to my friend about this possibility and sought for her opinion. I also asked her if she remembered seeing the other locks that used to surround my love lock as seen in my photos when we were there. My theory was, if we could still find the surrounding old locks there but not my blue lock, then there would be a high chance that mine had already been taken away by Taenggu. Her reactions, however, were negative. She reckoned that she didn’t remember seeing the surrounding locks that were in my photos and that what she saw was many brand new locks that were fancier and more varied. Her theory was, there should be a personnel from N Seoul Tower who would remove and clear the old batches of locks in order to make way for new ones probably once every year. Mine was locked nearly 2 years ago, so it was very likely that my lock had already been removed and disposed of by the authority along with the other old locks. She also cited the example of another love lock area in some other country which had collapsed due to the lack of maintenance. So this kind of maintenance is necessary to prevent overloading of love locks at this popular tourist attraction.

I guess she was right. Her theory sounded more reasonable to me too. Although it was such a pity that I couldn’t find my love lock anymore, at least I was able to accept the fact that my love lock was already gone, not taken by Taenggu but was most probably removed by the maintenance personnel for practical reasons.

My friend asked if I would still make another trip to N Seoul Tower on our individual solo travel day when the weather turns better to do another round of search myself or lock a new one. I said I would think about it first.

In the end… I didn’t.

It didn’t matter, I guess. Positively thinking to myself, I didn’t have to look any further coz… my love lock was already there on Taenggu’s neck on that day when I did the search. 😌

But I won’t eliminate any future possibility that I might visit N Seoul Tower again to lock a new love lock that belongs to me and Taenggu when I travel to Seoul next time!

— A little travel diary by Celeste 💜 —

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