I wrote this title without thinking much about it, and just now noticed how un-British it is. Yes, I say ‘movies’ now. I also say ‘damn’ to mean ‘wow, great’ and have celebrated thanksgiving twice. Not only are 80% of the foreign people I know here American, American English is pretty entrenched in Korea. It’s easier to roll with it than insist, every time, that soccer is actually football and fall is a silly word for such a lovely season…

Back to the subject – movies.

There is a DVD rental store down the bottom of my road which I at first had to muster courage to even go into. My film-watching decreased over summer, but as winter creeps up again I have started to return: to peruse the DVD cover pictures and make an ‘in-the-dark’ decision about what to watch on a dark school night.

These days the couple who run the store advise me on movie selections and waiver the fee for late returns. Yesterday they also helped me position the ‘Cat House’ I’d made (a rather clever construction made from cardboard, polystyrene and old jumpers) for the feral mumcat and her young kittens living in a rubbish-filled alley next to their shop. The cultural difference in attitudes towards animals has been the hardest for me to accept and deal with since being here, and I was touched warmly by their help in my crazy cat lady task.

Korean cinema, by the way, is excellent. Perhaps to balance a real-life cynicism, I have a penchant for Romances: my favourite Korean movies so far are ‘Architecture 101’ and ‘Always’, both well-crafted and satisfyingly emotional. Yet choosing from covers alone sets me up for surprises sometimes. I can select what appears to be an escapist romance, only to be haunted for weeks by the twisted plot of a bloody crime thriller. Luckily there is a cat living in my (actual) house who would scare off any evil intruders by glaring at them from underneath the bed… So, no worries there.

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