We had a White Christmas in Gunsan and it was really exciting. For about 2 days.
Then the clean snow melted and left us with brown slush, icy roads, and a lingering chill. And the novelty started to wear off. Being from the Pacific Northwest, and never doing snow sports, I'm not used to being in freezing temperatures for more than a few days at a time. The fate of this unflinching winter cold is finally settling in, and I already wish that it would get warmer, back to a mild 50 degrees and raining like a sensible Seattle winter. Or I just wish I could take a trip to the southern hemisphere and be in instant summer.
My friend Will gave me an awesome book last year for Christmas called "When Wanderers Cease to Roam" by Vivian Swift. She is a middle-aged woman who spent the decades of her adult life traveling all over the world, and now lives a stationary existence on Long Island. The book is part journal, part seasonal reflections, part travel memoir, and part watercolor art. It is a really original and lovely book. There is a part called "How to Winterize your Mind" for January, which I would like to share here.
"ONE: See the sun rise and set every day. The average night is 13.5 hours long. We spend most of January in the dark. Don't miss a minute of daylight.
TWO: Learn how to draw a tree. Now is the best time to see what a tree really looks like. Draw one a day.
THREE: Put something beautiful in your room so that it's the first thing you see when you wake up.
an aqua-colored princess phone* an antique perfume bottle* a glass wind chime* a Spode tea cup, a tin of Assam tea* a blue jay feather* the words to your favorite song* a puddle of summer rain"
Last night I woke to a loud rumble, which sounded just like F-16's flying overhead. Since the nearby Airbase doesn't usually do practice flights at 4am, I thought there must be an attack by North Korea. I don't live in fear of this, but it's always a possibility. I then realized that the sound was not fighter planes, but just really loud howling wind. I didn't know until morning that with the wind came a downpour of snow, about 4 fresh inches by the time I was leaving for work. And still coming.
I'd rather have this new snow than the old slush, and in a way I feel renewed for a few days. Like it or not, a definite Korean winter is here to stay, and I just have to get used to it, and plow forward into the New Year with a winterized mind and spirit. So friends, do what you need to do to warm and comfort yourself, to make your heart cozy.
And let's all keep a sense of humor for 2011. Yesterday I went to the gym and after working out went into the locker room to change. An older woman was staring at me in mild shock while she BLOW DRIED her bum-hole. Yes, cheeks spread apart, toward the whole locker room, using a hair-drier I was hoping to use later on my HAIR, while SHE stared at ME for oddly enough being from one of the 200 other countries on the planet that is NOT South Korea, and then working out at the SAME gym as her. Pretty ridiculous moment. Laugh, and winterize, and I think it will be a good start to the year.