Autumn in Ulsan

Heya folks!  I can’t believe November has come and nearly gone so quickly; I feel like I’ve missed out on my favorite season entirely!

I’ve spent many Autumns in the US and the UK, and adored them both equally.  Growing up in America instilled in me an appreciation for Fall festivals, and all the seasonal delights they brought with them: sticky, hot apple cider, funnel cakes, caramel apples, pumpkin and pecan pie…  I love everything and anything containing allspice and cinnamon, so Autumn is when I’m in my culinary element.  Along with all the sweet treats, I love how crisp and smoky the air becomes in Autumn; there’s something so ethereal about Autumn mornings, chilly without being too cold, and sunlight pouring down through canopies of honey-colored leaves.

Autumn in the UK is a bit chillier than in the US, and they don’t celebrate the pumpkin with the same fervor us Americans do, but there’s still that crisp, cinnamon-laced scent to the air.  Around this time of year is when all of the Christmas markets begin to set up in the UK, too, bustling with people and scented with pine needles and mulled wine.

Needless to say, Autumn in Korea has been a different experience entirely.

First of all, Autumn doesn’t linger around here the way it does in the US and the UK.  It was still crazy hot here in October, until one morning, I woke up absolutely freezing, with dry skin and a sniffly nose.  Korea seems to skip over the pleasant crispness and just dive straight into cold weather.

I also missed out on all the sweet, cinnamon and pumpkin treats this year.  Korea has traditional pumpkin candies and cookies which appear in shops and grocery stores in October, but I’m pretty sure the majority of them are artificially-flavored.  We bought a box of cookies, but their taste and texture was reminiscent of earwax.

I really wanted to get up in the mountains and look out over all of the red and yellow Autumnal trees, so we spent a couple weekends hiking in Ulsan.

However, the scenery was still very green; the only trees which have changed magnificently are the ones sparsely lining the highways and roads.  The air has also become much smoggier with the drop in temperature, and the stream running beside our house has become especially smelly now that the water level has dropped and begun to stagnate.

We found a few patches of red and gold while hiking, but nothing close to what I’d been expecting.

The best parts of our hikes were the animal friends we found along the way, including a few woodpeckers, chickadees, and Korean Red Squirrels (which are actually black and white!)

The squirrels were all stocking up on pine cones and chestnuts.

I don’t intend on spending another Autumn in Ulsan; we’re looking to move to Seoul next year, where there may still be smog and stinky smells, but at least I’d be able to get more of a festive Fall fix than I have here!


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