"We have to pretend to be a couple.": Weekend Adventure Part 2

So let's see...where did I leave off? Ah yes. Bubble tea. Myeongdong. I had plans to meet Yun around 2, so I settled down on a rock...bench...thing in front of the art museum to wait, splitting my time between people watching and reading. The only problem with the choice to read a book is that when he showed up, he was able to scare the living daylights out of me. I now only possess dead daylights. It's a modern tragedy.

The view from my seat.

I haven't known Yun for long, or at least, we haven't spent much time together, but I feel remarkably...relaxed and comfortable around him. Sure, he scolds me if I speak too much English and teases me when I speak Korean like an old lady, but it's in an undeniably friendly, light-hearted way. We escaped the heat in Cafe Pascucci, and eventually decided to track down a noraebang to hide in during the worst of the hot afternoon, then adventure over to the Hanok village area. I don't know what it is about Korean guys, but I feel like they either want to take you drinking, or take you to culture landmarks. Or both. I mean, I don't mind, but it's almost a sure bet that you'll end up in a bar or a palace.


I'd never been to noraebang before either A) during the day or B) while sober, so I have to admit I was a little nervous. I suppose we could have bought some beer, but Yun had a cold and didn't want any, and I didn't want to be the awkward person drinking alone. Luckily for me, for both of us I guess, everything turned out just fine! Also, may I just say, he has a surprisingly good singing voice. No offense to most of the people I go to noraebang with, but I'm used to singing with people make up in enthusiasm what they lack in skill. That's all well and good, but to sing Maroon 5 and 2ne1 with someone who appreciates my harmonies and can even call me out when I make a mistake? Glorious.

I'd been to the Hanok village before, but I didn't have the heart to nay-say his suggestion, since I'd already shot down seeing Transformers. One time seeing that hot mess was quite enough, thank you very much. And really, it did seem kinda fun to see the Hanok village again, if only to compare how it looked back in freezing January. It's nice to wander around Seoul with someone who actually knows where he's going, too. Tara, if you're reading this, I'd like to repeat that it was the SCENIC TOUR and we TOTALLY WEREN'T LOST.


We wandered past a group of performers doing the traditional song and dance, and joked around together about joining them. It got even worse, the joking I mean, when we went inside the first house, serendipitously named "Yun's Family House". I started us off by thanking him for inviting me to his house, and from then on we were...just...really dumb. When we came to a room we weren't allowed to go into, he'd mention his mom was very strict. At a bedroom he assured me I'd could stay there the next time I was in Seoul. A palanquin was offered up at my new car. I don't know if it was the heat, my own dumb sense of humor, or what, but I promise it was hilarious at the time. Really. Stop looking at me like that.

This was frozen the last time I went!

Dinner was a bit of an adventure, but after some criss-crossing we managed to find a place that was both acceptably delicious and not closed. Over steaming bowls of stone pot bibimbap, our conversation moved from favorite actors to what kind of people we want to date, from favorite Korean foods to the funny questions taxi drivers ask. He even scolded me for not trying to speak Korean more, which I actually really appreciated. It's easy for me to get lazy when I'm spending time with people who have a high level of English, but that's no excuse!

As it turns out, Yun has this magical app/car service that allows him to use cars that are all over the city. It's seriously amazing. You open the app, it tells you where all the available cars are in your area, and you unlock it straight from the app. I think you even pay for it through the app. Anyways, I bring this up because after eating, we tracked down one of said cars and headed out for what would turn into a fun and one might even say romantic tour of Seoul in the evening.

I rarely drive in Seoul, usually spending my time either walking or down in the subway, so to relax in the passenger seat and watch the city go by was novel and quite enjoyable. I'm not sure I'll ever want to drive in Seoul, though...the traffic was pretty intense and scary, but with a confident driver at the wheel, I felt totally safe. We hit a few of the big sights, past Seoul Station and the palace and the big statue of Sejong the Great and who know what else. Eventually we turned onto what was, to me, an unfamiliar side street that took us winding up a tree-lined road, slowly rising higher and higher above the city as the sun moved lower and lower in the sky, slanting warm and golden through our rolled down windows.

Our destination, and I didn't even know we'd had a destination, was the top of a mountain on the outskirts of the city. Korean mountains, I have to admit, are pretty adorable in comparison to the behemoths I'm used to. I wish I'd taken more pictures, because the place was gorgeous; a big building in the style of a Buddhist temple, trees silhouetted against the setting sun, children and couples everywhere.

Sunset glow.

There was an amazing moment when the sun seemed to sit on a nearby peak, perfectly balanced for a few seconds before sinking below the horizon. It was hard to believe that we hadn't even really left the city. The air was still warm from the sunny day but starting to cool, there was the smallest of breezes to ruffle the trees, and I could feel my stress melting away into the air.

Say cheese.

I didn't get a picture of this, but if you walk around to the other side of the balcony, there's a gorgeous view of the city. There's nothing quite like watching the lights in a city come on as the daylight disappears. I do enjoy living in the countryside, I really do, but there's a part of my heart that will always love the city. The countryside has stars, but the city has neon, and I'm still trying to decide what I like better.

After getting our fill of sunset, we returned to the car for the final leg of our journey: a nighttime drive along the Han river. According to some it's the most beautiful night scenery in the world, and I'll not argue that it's got to be pretty high up on the list. We turned up the radio, rolled down the windows, and I soaked up the scenery. We passed bridge after bridge, some lit up in red or blue or green, some carrying cars, or trains, or subway rails. Neither of us talked, just sank into the comfortable silence of night driving, lost in our own worlds.

Our last stop was the riverside itself, a small park full of people with the same idea as us. Even though there were plenty of people, the whole place had a feeling of quiet, as if everyone was keeping their voices down. Even the raucous laughter of college students drinking beer in the grass felt muted somehow. We joked about there being too many couples, and for a moment Yun put his arm around me with the joke "We have to pretend to be a couple."

It was just...one of those perfect nights, you know? The kind of night that makes you want to say things like "I feel infinite". The kind of night that makes you want to freeze time so you can linger in the warm night air, trying to see past the streetlights and into the stars.

Teacher Pretty
Middle school ESL teacher, lover of pink, eater of kimchi, addicted to Etude House, expert procrastinator, meeter of 2-dimensionial popstars: Ana. That's me.

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