WITH THE temperature in Seoul slowly decreasing, summer break is coming to an end. The season is on the brink of change, and there are moments that will be gone in the blink of an eye—the quietness of school buildings, or in contrast, the blazing hot streets of Sinchon. These scenes will not come back until we go through another cycle of coldness. Before it is too late, try enjoying the last days of summer to the fullest.
The main gate of Yonsei University, once teeming with students, looks so barren, with only a handful of people walking past. The scorching sun above the road further scares off those who want to pass by. Once the semester starts, the Baekyang-ro* will be bustling with students going to class while chattering with friends, under the relatively mild sun.
Lunch time. Students usually compete to find empty seats in the cafeteria, but all that boisterousness is gone during the summer vacation. The queue is almost non-existent and the unoccupied chairs eagerly wait for students to come and fill them.
The school library is another popular location during the semester. Yet now, there doesn’t seem to be many that come and go—or most likely, they are all already hiding inside the air-conditioned building, preparing for the semester ahead.
This serenity at school will soon be out of sight
Two big green parasols can be seen around the both ends of the sidewalks, right in front of the school’s main gate. They surely have not been there a few months ago. While impatiently waiting for the red light to turn green, people gather under the parasols to evade the direct rays of the searing sun. Some people still fan themselves or hold another parasol over them as if the shade is not enough to fight off the sun. Others blankly stare into the streets, desperately craving for some fresh wind, while merciless air-conditioned cars and buses speed past them emitting even more heat, bringing an uglier frown to pedestrians.
Across the sidewalk, while walking through the streets of Sinchon, it is easy to spot big colorful flyers outside of shops that scream summer sales. From clothing and cosmetic stores to cold beverage shops, summer item discounts lure customers into the air-conditioned complexes. Clearance sales are gladly welcomed by passerby’s wallets, but at the same time, these sales sadly remind them that along with these products, summer is also being “cleared out.”
In contrast, some store owners decide to take a few days off to cool down their worn-out bodies, using this break to spend time with friends and family. However, customers who are in dire need of refreshment cannot help but be disappointed as they stand in front of the still and unlighted store. So where do these store owners go totake a break from the heat?
During their time off, people go to places they wouldn’t normally visit on a daily basis. Especially in the summer season, nearby pop-up or temporary waterparks in the city are favored by many families. Not only are they close but they are activities that will fight off the heat in one go. Both parents and children enjoy the warm sun on their backs as well as the coolness in the pool water. Spending time in the open space brings happiness, washing away the heat-worn stress.
After a long summer day, people sit in outdoor restaurants or rooftop bars to enjoy a delectable dinner or an icy-cold drink. Some talk eagerly about their day while some quietly listen to the conversation—either way enjoying the rooftop breeze. As the night time makes the summer air a bit more bearable, some also lounge around benches in parks or stroll around the streets in Seoul. Spending time in the open space brings happiness and helps refresh one’s mind.
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It won’t be long until people crave to go inside, hiding away from the drastic temperature drop.
*Baekyang-ro: The main road in Yonsei University’s Sinchon campus