‘Tis the Season
One of the things that I sorely miss (and never fail to lament) living in Los Angeles is the changing of seasons. I know a lot of people feel we’ve got it made here in SoCal since we never have to deal with the hardships brought by humidity, rain, tornados, derechos (I know…wtf are derechos), snow, sleet, ice, blizzards, hurricanes, etc. All we need to worry about is perishing in a watery grave when The Big One finally hits and the entire western seaboard slides into the Pacific in a terrific jumble of concrete, dust, and organic quinoa.
But I digress. While the lure of a perpetual summer may appeal to many, I would argue that (1) swimsuit season being year-round is utter bullshit and (2) there’s something to be said for a break from monotony. I, for one, find it depressing to wake up and check the weather every day only to determine whether it’s going to be hot or hotter. The three days of “rain” we get a year - and I use that word loosely because it’s more like baby spittle than a proper downpour - offer me a profound sense of relief and novelty that is downright pitiful in its intensity.
Having grown up in Korea where spring, summer, fall, and winter bring with them a distinct climate, landscape, color palette, sound, mood, and pace of life, I learned to appreciate the changing of the seasons as a means for anticipation and renewal. It was impossible to remain stagnant or complacent when every few months I was compelled to adapt to an ever-evolving, dynamic environment. The activities I engaged in, the way I dressed, even the way I moved were dictated by what the season encouraged. Many foods were only available at certain times of year, and made indulging in them special for the very fact that it was brief and finite. Spring meant some of my favorite greens fresh from the newly warmed earth, blanched and seasoned into side dishes. Summer meant cold buckwheat noodles in chilled, tangy broth. Fall meant crunchy persimmons and apples the size of your head. Winter meant baked sweet potatoes and roasted chestnuts bought from street vendors, served steaming in yesterday’s newspaper and eaten with cold fingers in the ambient heat of their iron barrel-carts.
Perhaps there’s a part of me that romanticizes these seasonal memories in favor of acknowledging the inevitable irritations that came with them: allergies in the spring, the relentless and deafening buzz of cicadas in the summer, soggy piles of rain-soaked leaves in the fall, the many terrors of ice in the winter. But somehow, I’d still take those grievances in a heartbeat over the repetitive sameness of L.A. living. Because even in the oppressive heat & humidity of summer in Seoul, I could look forward to the little thrill of seeing that first yellow leaf which meant the turning of the tides was imminent. It felt as much a spiritual transformation as it did a physical & environmental one, and the lack of it now is something I feel acutely. It’s one of the few things that give me pause about where we’ve put down roots.
And let’s face it…I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that as a lover of fashion I really, really miss the diversity that varying weather allowed my wardrobe. Summer happens to be my least favorite season to dress for, so the fact that I live in a Groundhog Day of 75° weather causes me no end of frustration. Come wintertime I’m always gazing at my IG feed of people who live in cooler climates, with their cozy outerwear and chunky boots and fluffy scarves and adorably pink noses, and I shake my fists at the (dry/sunny) heavens.
Which is just one of many reasons why I am VERY hotly anticipating our 2.5-week long family trip to New York and Vermont at the end of this month. Finally, a change of scenery! A real white Christmas! Holiday decor that doesn’t seem absurdly out of place! Call me crazy but I can’t wait to feel the sting of frigid wind on my face, to scurry indoors where it feels like walking into a warm embrace, to hear the crunch of ice with every step, to hold onto one another to keep from falling, to feel the stillness and silence after a heavy snow. It’ll be the girls’ first holiday in a winter wonderland and I can’t wait to share my love of the season with them. Skiing and sledding and making snowmen and snow angels and hot cocoa in lodges and fleecy cuddles in Vermont! Ice skating and Rockefeller tree-gazing and Dyker Heights holiday lights insanity and Central Park all feathery and twinkly with snow in New York! And some shit for the kids, too!
In case you haven’t picked up on the subtle hints I’ve been dropping, I am a massive Christmas nerd and all-around lover of winter. As far as I’m concerned every other holiday is just a stepping stone to the main event, and come November I’m practically vibrating with excitement as I wait for Michael Bublé to emerge from the cave he hides in the rest of the year to signal the start of the holiday season. Therefore it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I started pulling my sweaters out of retirement with the delirious fervor of a deranged person way back in August when we booked our plane tickets. It’s still warm enough for shorts and flip flops here but my woolly knits have been posted up on a bench in my dressing room like a lovable, ragtag B team waiting for their shot at the big time, all scrappy and eager and “put me in, coach!”. Every day I look at them and I know…Winter Is Coming. And I am very, very excited. Maybe too excited, but you’d have a hard time finding all the f***s I give because there are none.
So the next time I write, dear readers, it will likely be from the frosty climes of the opposite coast. Prepare yourselves for some serious freaking merriment.