Portrait of Maria

¨Portrait of Maria¨

Photograph by Chihoon

Ushuaia, Patagonia, Argentina 2011


I love her smile. I met her at a flee market on Christmas Eve, 2011.

We became good friends after a couple of minutes of our conversation when we first met each other.

Her daughter is about my age, but there was no difficulty for us to be good friends,

which is almost impossible in korean culture (you only become a friend of someone who is your age).

Many people come to Ushuaia to see the beautiful nature. Sometimes they complain about Ushuaia

because they do not enjoy the scenery as much as they expected before.

However, the heart of the beauty of Ushuaia is ¨People¨ in this village.

It was my first time to spend Christmas without my family and friends in my life.

I was not lonely because I could meet so many wonderful friends in Ushuaia.

On Christmas Eve, I was supposed to take a boat to see a famous light house.

But the trip was canceled because of the heavy wind on the sea.

I was walking down the street and saw a flee market sign.

I entered the artisans´ flee market building.

I met Maria and other people there.

We had a conversation and started sharing mate. I mean their mate. They shared their mate with me.

If someone shares mate with you in Argentina, it means that you are one of the friends of them.

I was a little disappointed that my trip was canceled,

but I had much more meaningful time with the people, now my friends.

People in Ushuaia do not focus on what you have,

but they focus on who you are instead.

They see the beauty of nature which is you, a beautiful human being.

People try to find the beauty of nature and the beauty of life as I always do.

But one of the key answer is near you, your people and the people that you meet in your life.

Maria gave me a big hug and a big kiss on my cheek when I left the town a week after that I knew her.

pura vida