The day begins. I wake up to my low loft-ceiling covered in small glow-in-the-dark stars, accompanied by penciled drawings of rocket ships by some small child who once dreamed up here. The neon pinks and greens look down and mock me as they remain pasted to the peeling, dirty, off-white colored wallpaper that is suddenly visible in the morning light. I turn over.
The morning light is just a general expression for the few photons that kindly decide to shimmy in between the abutting eleven-story apartment buildings, shoot all the way down to my window and filter in through gaudy gold and silver curtains. There’s so little of it that consequently I am always sure it’s raining.
I love the mornings though. If I can get up on time. Maybe because it’s the one time of the day that being alone feels okay. Feels…peaceful.
I start with a shower in the awkward square of a bathroom that must have been designed by someone with terrible spatial reasoning skills (at least the water pressure’s good). After, I make myself a bowl of cereal and some coffee and enjoy those first few sips like embracing a lover. I flip through news stories or scroll social media on my computer and run down the clock till I have to maneuver my bike through the doorway, down the hall and into the elevator. I put in headphones and stare at myself in the elevator mirrors covered with Korean advertisements and try and guess at who the girl looking back is.
I bike slowly through the tiled walkways of the streets, littered with last night’s flyers and cigarettes. People either stare or don’t see me at all. The contrast of the bleak buildings and quiet streets in the morning versus the profusion of lights and life at night always makes it feel like the city woke up hungover.
I wait at crosswalks forever with the other morning travelers. For the first week I wondered why I kept seeing Korean men and women on (seemingly) random sprints, until I found myself doing it to beat the 30 second count down. Like a team of drag racers the cars wait impatiently in six lanes and are gunning toward you before the light reads “1”. If you aren’t already waiting at the crosswalk your ass better start sprinting unless you want to wait another 6 minutes. Thankfully my bike allows me to get to work without being sweaty and feeling like losing my breakfast.
After I make it across main street I enter one of the massive buildings and head up to the fifth floor, where most surprisingly, there is a kindergarten. The day begins. Again.