Monday, November 18, 2013

단풍 ~ The Leaves are Changing

Although the temperatures have been dropping to numbers I don't agree with I can't deny that the last few weeks in Korea have been anything but beautiful.  If it weren't for cold nights, difficult mornings (my bed is suddenly soooo comfortable in the AM) and early darkness, fall would probably be my favorite season.  "Sweatshirt weather" as many affectionately call it, is pretty awesome, but unfortunately that's only valid between the hours of, oh say 10 and 4, before and after that you need to throw on a few extra layers.  I've been trying to take advantage of the last few pleasant days before the death of winter sets itself upon me so walking has become my new hobby, and mode of transportation.  After all it's easier on the knees than running and saves me a few dollars on my scooter, oh and not to mention allows me views like this one: 

It's hilarious to listen to the different interpretations and remarks people make about the weather, I guess it's a pretty universal "small talk" topic but it's getting a bit old. I've gone through school days of students telling me how great the weather is "teacher good day" to turning around and hearing shrieks of 추워!! [it's cold].  Then there was the day last week when I was asked "Teacher, why sunglasses in winter!?", well because it's sunny? (oh and sorry to break it to you but this is not winter).  Granted sunglasses are not  the most popular accessory on even the sunniest of summer days, but I've already been told enough times that I have wrinkles so I don't need to add more. Also, the sunglasses immediately promote me to "movie star" around school, so why not?  

I usually run along the route these pictures were taken and often think, "Damn, that'd make a really great picture" but of course, don't have my phone or camera with me at the time.  Seeing as I've gotten sick of running, opting for it's slower, less popular, sibling I've been able to catch a few of the impressive views around my town.  I'm still a bit amazed at how comfortable I am in a small town, granted by US standards it's really not that small (has all the conveniences I need within a 10 minute walk).  I had a few random days off a recently so I used one of them to walk to Gumi to do some early Christmas shopping, it sounds crazy but when you have to ship stuff halfway around the world it really isn't too soon.  I wasn't very successful in my shopping endeavors but I must say the walk was worth it.  I loaded my phone with some Freakonomics podcasts *nerd alert I like economics* and was able to zone out for a good hour and a half eventually finding myself back in the hustle and bustle of Gumi downtown.

I used to think I'd DEFINITELY be a city girl.  I imagined myself living in a high rise apartment building in the heart of the city, always having something to do, but then I came to Korea and got placed here, on the farms of Buksam. I'm not sure if it's Korea that has changed me or if i've just grown and figured out what I really want, but this small little town feels a lot like home.  It's hard to say where i'll want to live when I get back to the United States, one of the things I love here is that I CAN walk wherever I need to go.  In the US that's usually only a luxury granted to those in the city.   I guess that could be a draw for me to put up with lots of concrete and high rises, although I'd like to think I could find a happy medium. Actually I think finding a future home might be a bit of a challenge for me....

I need all four seasons (preferably only 1-2 month of mild winter), I'd like both the mountains and beach within hmm we'll say an hour drive,  accessible, cheap and safe public transportation, a good variety of restaurants (let's be honest after traveling the world I'll need a way to satisfy my cravings), cute coffee shops (ie. not Starbucks), parks and bike trails, a lake or river wouldn't be too bad, and of course some form of night life.        
  Any suggestions? 

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