“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
Of the spectrum between pack rat and minimalist, I lean towards the more spare lifestyle. At least once a month I get this irresistible itch to clean out my closet and empty out every drawer in my house to see what I no longer need. If it is not useful or adds any value of beauty, I coldly disregard whatever it is and place it in its new place, whether that be the donation box or recycling bin. This philosophy of cleaning, however, leaves little space for the knick knacks that we humans seem to inevitably collect as we go through life experiences; letters I never sent to my ex-boyfriend, a chunky bracelet my friend gave me that doesn’t fit around my wrist but carries fond memories of my birthday from a few years ago, the little hand-carved, wooden key-chain with my name painted on it in haphazard fashion. None of these things add any utility to my daily life, nor are they particularly beautiful. Nothing I would display anywhere in my simple home. Yet, it is these little things I have the hardest time parting with, though I recognize they are oddities in my straightforward minimalistic philosophy of house-cleaning.
About a year ago, I came across a cafe called HoHo Myoll. It was small, cozy, and boasted trifles and trinkets in every available space. Vintage action figures with dusty limbs, tiny cars with squeaky wheels, and paper cups with childish handwriting saying, “HoHo Myoll” in faded colors are placed lovingly on shelves and windowsills. Each little bauble seemed to carry a tiny memory inside of it. Every bit of HoHo Myoll is a saved recollection. The first time I came to this cafe, I was struggling with making an important decision about an important relationship in my life. I remember sitting in the corner of that cafe late one night and finally coming to conclusion. It was mentally and emotionally liberating to finally make a choice. I returned to HoHo Myoll a little over a year later, and seeing the dusty sheets of music hanging in their same old space, the same Volkswagon car parked in the middle of the cafe, the same Christmas lights twinkling in the corner, the memory of that night came rushing back. I wasn’t struck so much as quietly reminded that these little material things might serve their purposes as well. They are like miniature time capsules, small bottles of perfumes whose scents stir up old recollections from the back of your mind.
I came to HoHo Myoll alone this time. Just myself and my thoughts. I looked around at the small cafe. How new and novel it all looked to me, though everything was in their original places. I was thankful that this little memory box of a cafe still remained.
Location: 93-44 Sangsu-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul
Hours: M through Sat 9:30 am – 11:00 pm / Sun to 10:00 pm
As always, if you visit, I hope you will tag me on instagram @sincerelybeckyw !
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