Saturday, December 8, 2012

첫눈 "First Snow"

It's been a pretty eventful work for the ol' Davey, but one of the highlights has been the first snowfall of the season which occurred this past Wednesday. The temperature has been steadily dropping over the past few weeks, the lights have been going up across the city, and now there's a whole whack of the white stuff to get the kids frolicking outside and the Davey all excited about the holiday season.

However, the snow has made it a challenge to get to work without breaking myself. The sidewalks here are inexplicably littered with decorative smooth concrete that looks and acts like marble - especially in rain and snow. Forget about mom's back-breaking sidewalk cracks, step on one of these bad boys the wrong way and you're going to be spending Christmas in traction.

But, the snow mostly means kids at my school running around with kimchi-eating grins on their faces. Their collective good mood is a huge lift for us teachers. The students might be gazing out the window more often than usual, but looking at lazily falling flakes is a step-up from punching and slapping each other during class time. Thank you, winter!

And for those mistletoe connoisseurs, walking in the first snow in Korea also means that you are creating optimal conditions to meet your true love. Everyone basically stops what they are doing and they run out to enjoy what they will likely be cursing in less than a month. I'm all for it. I've already met my true love, so the first snow is a chance for me to look more peacefully at the world and move through it a bit more slowly. It's also all kinds of romantic. Glad the rabbit thinks so too.

Hard to believe that it's December 9th already. If I had an advent calendar, it would already be a third open.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Three's Company

It's been a few days since my last post - mainly because I've been busy as all heck with school, random stuff, and a house guest.

Maria and I are splitting hosting duties while our Australian friend, Andy visits for a post Japan one-week Korean stop-over before heading back home for the holidays.

Korean apartments are generally on the small side - office-tels (what we are in), even smaller. But, we were glad that we could provide a warm floor for someone who is more than used to sleeping on one - what with all of his years spent in Korea already.

Unfortunately, we really didn't have a great deal of time to go out and see the sights as rabbit and I were both working and in the middle of planning for other things, but it was okay as Andy really had few sights he needed to check-off his list.

What it was, was a good time to reflect on that curious aspect of international friendships that originate overseas - it doesn't matter how different your view points, pasts or future trajectories might be, it's still comforting to be with people you know.

I suppose I'm tied to a number of different eras, generations, whatevers, here in Korea. I've been here since August of 2007, and in that time, I've developed approximately 5 constantly shifting circles of friends. The size of the circles shifts based on where you are, what you're looking for, and what you're willing to go out and get. I guess it's mostly about what you need, but it's hard to know what you need until it's right there in front of your face or ripped unceremoniously away from you with a contract ending and plane ticket back home. Anyway, cramped as it was, it was good to connect again with a friend who likes arcades, has plenty of board game loving friends, and who also finds value in reconnecting. Andy is a part of my history here in Seoul, and it's reassuring to know that ended contracts and plane tickets don't need to mean "goodbye".

With three of us in an apartment where we can sleep more than two only if we don't do laundry, I was reminded of a poem from my youth. I got it from a cheap decorative plate and wrote it again with a jiffy marker on the interior wall of a playhouse that our dad build for my sister and I in our backyard. The poem read:

Our house is small, 
No mansion for a millionaire.
But there is room for love,
And there is room for friends,
That's all I care.

Happy trails, Andy. Until next time.