Autumn befallen

Hello America. Lindsay here.

It’s November 1 and Whit and I have now spent three months in Asia. It seems like it was just yesterday when Mom and Dad dropped us off at the bustling Atlanta airport and we got in the one line that seemed shorter than all the others.

Thank goodness we didn’t let that deter us. If only Korea could figure out how to market itself as a tourist attraction. Because believe me, there is plenty here to do and see.

And on this cold and colorful day in Gwangju, I want to blog about a few of the small things that I am loving.

First of all, I love fall. I love when the leaves change colors. I learned as an outdoors reporter that it is in the fall when leaves show their true colors–that beautiful caucophony of gold, red, orange and russet. It is the sun and warmth (and, yes, students, chlorophyll) that makes the leaves green. It’s not their natural color. But every fall, they return to their true selves.

And here in Korea, we are getting a splash of color better than I’ve seen in years, as you can probably see in some of our photos. Every morning, we walk to school wrapped in scarves and hats and warm jackets beneath golden-leaved trees. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a movie, it’s so pretty.

There are certain things I loved about autumn in America: the hundreds of pumpkins always stacked at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church just off the Oxford square; the overhanging crisp leaves above McCallie Ferry Road in Sale Creek, just down the street from my parents right in the middle of Nowhere, Tennessee; the sight of the fall colors slowly creeping down the ridges in Black Mountain from the front porch of the Colby Stepp House; and of course, always writing about the “best places to leaf peep” for the Asheville Citizen-Times.

While I can’t replace those images of fall, I can certainly bring in seasonal substitutes.

One new fall indulgence is eating persimmons as my dessert after my lunch of bipambap and spicy warm soup. I had never eaten a persimmon before coming here. But they are hugely popular in Asia. I’ve probably seen them in America before in the grocery store, but ignorantly passed them off as discolored tomatos.

They don’t melt in your mouth like a peach or crisp between your teeth like a good Granny Smith apple, but they do evoke feelings of fall in my mouth. I can almost feel the leaves crunching beneath my feet.

I find them to be a mix between apples and pumpkins. And maybe I am imagining it, but I can almost taste a hint of cinnamon. And there are little brown spots inside, so I eat away, happily telling myself I’m eating something akin to pumpkin pie.

Then there is also the smell of Korean red-bean donuts cooking on street corners. The steam from the yummy pastries rises and mixes with the cold crisp air and you just have to buy one. Ummm.

Well. All this talk of food has my stomach growling. I’m off to dinner with a couple from St. Louis, Missouri.