The newest thing that I’ve decided I want to be is a Korean homemaker.
Since ethnicities aren’t interchangeable and I have no plans of shifting out there, perhaps I should elaborate.
I love Korean lifestyle vlogs. Based on what I’ve seen so far, it would seem that all Korean households have beautiful, uncluttered, minimalist homes in shades of white and brown, peppered with green plants, cute pets and animal-shaped cutlery. The protagonists neither speak nor show their faces; we watch them move unhurriedly to the score of soft songs playing in the background – transferring groceries to the fridge and pantry; chopping up fresh produce for lunch and dinner; measuring out careful portions of oyster sauce, kimchi, sesame seeds and various other condiments to white rice and meat in perfect unblemished spoons; sitting beside a cup of colored tea after a day of prepping or tidying up – it’d almost seem voyeuristic if it weren’t for the subtitles that greet us and converse with us throughout the video. In the midst of all the loud noise that exists out there in the name of content, Korean vlogs are an extremely quiet and soothing breath of fresh air.
Aesthetics and BGM apart, another reason I love them is for their depiction of what generally falls under the mundane. Cleaning, wiping, tidying, chopping, sauteing, plating, washing, repeat. Simone de Beauvoir very rightly points out in her famous book how few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, and yours truly is certainly testimony to that. Until we become adults and live alone/ with a partner, we never realize how much energy it takes to simply keep the house from falling apart into a chaotic entropy of dusty shelves, soiled clothes and unwashed dishes. The fact that I do not enjoy cooking in the least adds to the mayhem. But, as I watch these vlogs, I am reminded of what Albert Camus has said – how we must imagine Sisyphus happy; how the only way to essentially escape the dreary suffering of everyday life is to welcome the recurring moments with joy. It feels like an unattainable dream till I watch these women on screen moving about their everyday lives, and suddenly I am inspired to be one of them.
I hum lightly and move unhurriedly around our home, de-cluttering, wiping, washing – a belated attempt at spring cleaning. It takes much longer than I expected, the waste bins fill up quite quickly, and I pause for the day. But, as I lock up and retire to my bed tonight, I smile and tip an imaginary hat to Camus.