November is slowly becoming December, and autumn is slowly turning into winter. The leaves, which are a beautiful amalgamation of red and orange, will soon disappear and the trees will be as skeletal as the buildings. The neon lights of Seoul will make it look less lonely, but out here in the edges of Hanam, even in my moderately populated, semi-cosmopolitan suburb, the waters outside my window are stilling, the streets are emptying, and the darkness is looming. Families no longer sit outside the line of chicken and hof places by the E-mart. The kids still drive those remote control cars, and some parents are braving the weather for the sake of leaving their cramped apartments, but only in the afternoon, and only on the weekend. Coffee shops are even more tempting than before. Connie told me that Chenon is closing at the end of the month as the sisters who run it after moving to Busan to be with their parents and open a coffee shop there, which has saddened me greatly. It was the place to go in Hanam for us waygookin: they had the nicest coffee, the best atmosphere, and they were lovely, lovely people.
When the air isn’t filled with smog, it’s crisp and clear, the kind of air that chills you to the bone. It’s time for coats, beanies and aegyo mittens, and street vendors are now selling long-roasting sweet potatoes, red bean fish breads, and sweet, syrupy hotteoks. It’s goodbye to bingsu and naengmyeon and hello to jiggaes and guks.
On Thursday, Danny and i went to watch Interstellar at the Lotte Cinema in Cheonho, which was unusually crowded until we realised all of the seniors were sitting their college entrance exams and it’s such a big deal here that they give the rest of the school the day off. After a customary post-film Starbucks, we braved Insadong because he hadn’t been and there we had a lovely kimchi jiggae, but it was that cold and we were that underprepared we left early, forgetting the lanterns, and huddled up in our apartment and played The Sims 4. On Friday, we went out for Elena’s birthday at an Indian restaurant called Ganges in Itaewon. It was nice, even if the portions were small and overpriced. Strangely, they didn’t have at least half the menu: out of a long list of drinks they could only make rum and coke. I don’t miss or crave Indian food so I won’t be going back. Myself, Danny, Connie and Reza split the bill as a birthday gift. Naturally we headed to Geckos and taxied it home by 2am.
On Saturday, Danny and I headed to Dongdaemun to see the Pikachu parade. It was crowded, over-hyped, and we only had a birds-eye view of about five of them. The inside event was even more crowded; the line for the store was out of the building, so we left rather quickly and stopped off for lunch at Cheonho. That evening Taylor, Alison and Stephen invited us to local bar for a couple of drinks, so we stopped by. Now it’s Sunday and I’ve never felt lazier.