Here we are in fall! The bridge from August to September is filled with rain. I'm not sure if the term "monsoon season" is apt in Korea, but it rains a LOT in August. And then the typhoons start. This year we had predictions of a really powerful one at the end of August. For days, there were warnings of the incoming Typhoon Bolaven, and we were instructed to take all sorts of precautionary measures, like prepping the windows with masking tape, turning off the gas, stocking up on water reserves, etc. It was supposed to be the biggest typhoon in maybe a decade. The day of the typhoon, classes were cancelled for my students and Lucas' school closed. However, at many public schools like mine, the teachers were still expected to come in. So we did, and enjoyed a day of quiet to get tasks done in the building. We were able to leave before the winds really picked up, and I spent a cozy afternoon hunkered down in the apartment with Lucas and Carlos, making baked goods. Carlos left the news on the TV in case there was a real emergency (as if we would have actually understood any emergency instructions delivered in Korean...), but truthfully all we experienced were the high winds rattling the windows; barely any precipitation fell, we didn't lose power or water. It seems the Seoul region was mostly unaffected by the typhoon. The southern region of Korea was much harder-hit and apparently we'll soon be feeling the effects up here in Seoul as the obliterated crops from the South cause prices to rise even more at the supermarket.
Anyway, we're fortunate to have been virtually unaffected by that or any subsequent typhoon, and by the end of September, the glorious fall weather set in. Living in Chicago, I never really experienced a full fall season, as defined by a continuous period of days with temperatures peaking in the 60s-low 70s Fahrenheit. For like, weeks. It's amazing and beautiful. Chicago seems to jump from searing summer heat to chilly winter coat weather with a few temperate days thrown in the middle for good measure, and bounces back and forth a few times before making up its mind. Here in Seoul, it's this gradual easing into cooler temperatures, and the days are just perfect for getting out and exploring the city in the sun without getting baked by it. We've been taking advantage!
We've been enjoying leisure outings to different parts of the city, including the now-world famous Gangnam:
|From Fall 2012|
I got to enjoy my 30th birthday with Carlos and Lucas and a lovely cake from Paris Baguette:
|From Fall 2012|
And we've celebrated our second Chuseok in Korea. Chuseok is the harvest festival and probably biggest holiday in Korea. It's kind of like the US Thanksgiving and Mexican Día de los Muertos rolled together and celebrated with nearly the fanfare of Christmas on our home continent. Last year we went to Caribbean Bay with my recruiter and her family. This year we tried to be a little more true to the holiday itself by going to an actual Chuseok festival. We ended up going twice, since it lasted a week in downtown Seoul. Lucas also got to sample some of the traditional Korean wear that accompanies this holiday.You can click these for more photos:
One thing we didn't expect to find in the middle of a Korean harvest festival: A live Mexican band performing in one of the plazas!
|From Chuseok 2012|