Staff Writer Lia Jung closes out our annual Houses and Homes series with a visit to her quiet neighborhood in Seoul.

Where: A quiet residential neighborhood near Yonsei University and Seoul Foreign School, Yeonhui-dong is one of the few spots in Seoul that has villas and two-storey houses instead of the conglomerate apartment complexes you would normally find in Seoul’s other residential districts. It is 20 minutes away from Hongdae, and 30 minutes away from Gyeongbokgung Palace (15 minutes by cab with no traffic).

Sight: Opaque blue light that fills the room during the Blue Hour (right before sunrise, usually around 5 in the morning)- that momentarily turns my room’s aesthetic into a scene from the Blade Runner movie. Three DHL boxes, untouched, sitting in the corner, next to my hideously large suitcase, also unpacked. 

From the balcony, you can see our neighbour’s garden and her collection of Jangdokdae (which are traditional Korean earthen jars used to store and age kimchi, gochujang and other fermented pastes/dishes). 

Outside- abundance of coffee shops, stray cats and utility poles.  

Smell: Nag Champa incense burning in the living room; faint scent of Febreze Fabric Refresher wafting from the dresser; sesame oil, sweet BBQ marinade and lemon zest from the kitchen; mix of Pringles, soggy socks and metallic odor from my brother’s room. 

Sound: Aggressive roaring of the blender as mum takes out her pent-up lockdown frustration on whatever fruit that’s lying around. (Today it’s bananas and avocado) A yappy terrier two blocks away barking tirelessly at bypassers and delivery motorcycles. Women’s netball commentary from the living room area. Occasional Discord notification. And every night, the same insistent buzzing from this one shitty mosquito in my room that JUST WON’T DIE.

Touch: The empty space of my forlorn bed. 

Taste: Lukewarm abalone porridge, the only thing I can eat after getting my wisdom teeth out.