Spring in Korea

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cherry blossoms in Jungang Park, Daegu

When I first started teaching in Korea, I would often find myself disagreeing my students about what season it was. I would start class exclaiming, “Today is the first day of summer!” (or which ever season it was…) They would give a puzzled look, or look at me like I was crazy, and say, “No teacher, summer started in May.” Although it made sense, May in Korea is hotter than July in Nova Scotia, it’s just not when summer begins!

I would try explaining the solstice or the equinox, but to no avail. A student finally said to me, “Teacher, that’s in Canada, here is Korea!” It was a while before I stopped being stubborn enough to actually consider the possiblity. Why not? I’ve spent enough time in Thailand to see they pretty much have only two different types of summer; rainy summer and dry summer… Why does Korea have to fit into my view of how things “are”??

With my sense of the world that much broader, this was the first year in Korea that I was aware of the changing season. Last Thursday was the first day of Spring. Fitting in well with my idea of spring, the weather has suddenly stopped being cold and it’s been drizzling rain for three days now. The mountains are misty, the ground is moist, ready to sprout another year. Soon the plum blossoms will be in bloom and next the cheery trees. Winter is always welcome after the long Korean summer, but I can’t help but feel excited for spring!

5 responses »

  1. It’s odd how we put so much effort into fitting the world into our tidy little categories. This works okay until we run up against someone who has a different system of categories. And, of course, we meet that person nearly every day!

    Happy Springtime!

    • Thank you Barry~

      The weather here probably isn’t much different than where you are!
      I always love the rain in Korea though, it washes the grit away for a few days and makes things feel fresh for a while.
      The sky is often hazy and faded in Korea, but after the rain there’s usually a big blue sky for a day~

  2. Sounds great! I loved Spring in Korea, though I was also puzzled by the proclamation of Spring in February. No Spring here for quite some time… lots of snow scheduled for all this week and next.

  3. The second picture of the cherry blossoms with the water drops on them – is SO Gorgeous! I want to enlarge a bunch of your pictures, Joseph, and have them on my walls for inspiration!! When’s your wall-calendar coming out?😉 I would buy several if you made one!!

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