We have met Suji and Jein two weeks ago in the hostel hall. They were drinking a tea and a beer in silence when they asked us to take them a picture. “Where are you from?” We asked, while trying to make them smile and pose for the picture.
“We are from Seul, but right now we are globetrotters. We are currently staying in Milan these days. We fell in love with it. “
” We like it very much! Even the cemeteries of Milan drive us crazy.”
“The cemeteries?” We asked, surprised.
“Yes, yes, you got it right. Cemeteries.” Suji said. “Imagine that just for this passion, this afternoon I had almost fainted.”
So, we asked her for more details, suggesting to continue this curious story.
“Today is my birthday”.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY !”, we said, but she doesn’t want to be interrupted on her magnificent speech.
“As I said, today is my birthday. But I’m a little sad about the idea of getting older. No, no. I do not want to look like one of those women obsessed with the myth of youth. Quite the contrary, but today I’m in a bad mood. I was thinking about how much longer I will have to live, but tomorrow I will surely complain that I didn’t live this important day fully because of all the thoughts that are whirling through my mind. However, coming back to us. Today is my birthday and Jein told me he had a surprise for me. I was out of Milan for an interview, then I took the train towards Porta Garibaldi and I reach him right in the crossroads between Corso Como and the streets to this side. “
“So the surprise was an aperitif in Corso Como” we asked jokingly
She smiles “No, no!” She continues, “I thought it too, hoping it was not like that. But luckily Jein dragged me through various streets. We walked for 15 minutes, while my curiosity grew bigger and bigger. Are we heading to the terrace in Via Ceresio (the beautiful one from which you can see all of Milan)? I asked him, but his answer was always no.
At a certain point, we find ourselves exactly in front of the Monumental Cemetery. I stared stunned. And I wonder, “Are you serious? Will you take me to the cemetery for my birthday? Charming place, of course, perhaps one of my favorites in Milan. But today is still my birthday. I don’t want to be among the dead today. Then Jein looked at me and came out with an even more unequivocal phrase:
“This experience will make you feel very very young”.
Having said this, I was completely sure we’re going to the cemetery.
“But I start thinking about how important is this Cemetery in Milan. Since we travel together , Jean and I love to visit places, but especially the cemeteries from each city. In Korea, for example, they are very different from here.
It is even interesting to see how the concept of death changes from one place to another in the world. For example, I love some statues of the Monumental: sometimes they seem to be presences without a body that wander without the anxiety of tomorrow, where to go, who to be, when to die.
So, when I think back to these statues, to how they seem to me to be evanescent, I am convinced that in the end, also a tour of the Monumental Cemetery, it has their one reasons to be a nice present, a particular one, but still beautiful.”
Suji stops, laughs with her eyes. “ Suji, tell us, did you go to the Monumental Cemetery?” We asked curious.
“NO NO. 200 meters away from the Cemetery, just when I was already imagining a dark birthday, I realized that we were near to the Fabbrica del Vapore where there was the Harry Potter Exhibition! Do you understand?
He took me to see the Harry Potter show, a gift that actually brought me back to my childhood” While finishing this sentence, Suji’s big smile becomes small again.
“What happens Suji, didn’t you like the show?” We asked.
“No, no. I loved it. For sure I felt like a child among the children. Even after, when I returned home I was disappointed that the gift was not actually a visit to the Monumental Cemetery. I hope that next year, Jein will really take me around a cemetery for my birthday. “