Today I come to you from an unusually high altitude. It’s what has been coined in Korea as the “hangover soju high”. To be honest it’s been a while since I’ve been here, though nothing much has changed really.. a few clouds have shifted around and instead of the grand feeling of being in Korea; I have a slightly detached melancholy feeling for leaving the place.
I’ve gone through so much over here and as I slowly pack away all my recollections I begin to wonder about all the things that I’ve experienced here. See I’ve got this memory chain thing that is hung up on the wall of my room, it’s basically just a piece of string with pegs on it; I just add random memories whenever they’re made (Cassie’s idea of course; I’m not that creative).. Needless to say, the room was covered in them.. now it’s time to take them down. It’s got a sad finality to it: physically taking down all these random little odds and ends, and remembering exactly how I felt back then. An item on my wall that took me instantly back to summer was the shell chime made from shells we collected from the west coast. I remember tasting the salted air on my tongue and the heat of the sun on my skin, and listening to the waves crashing around me.. Cassie actually made be a really nice wind chime/ ornament from the shells and some string for me.. I hope Aussie customs lets it through!
Anyway, these days I’ve taken to staring out of the window for hours on end and just taking in the scenery of Sangdong and Gurae.. I start to remember snippets of my past 16 months here, and especially of the weather. It might be hard for some people to understand my passion about it; if you haven’t experienced it you’d have no idea what I’m talking about and if you’ve lived in this type of climate all your life then you’d think ‘what’s the big deal’. This is the first time I’ve experienced life in four seasons..
I think of summer and automatically get a feeling of warmth and the scent of what can only be described as ‘explosive greenery’ in the slightly humid air. I think of autumn and am instantly transported to a time when fallen leaves would crunch under my feet and the air had a faint wet and earthy feel to it. Then winter where the crunching leaves were replaced by crunching ice, how the surrounding mountains had an eerie stillness about them; and the cold, crisp air that instantaneously invigorated body and soul. Finally I reminisce about spring, when the birds came back to nest in the mountains, and fluorescent green shoots began to appear. And the rain, oh how I adore the spring rains that bring with it bustling life! After almost six months of cold weather, to see a landscape grow from what appears to be near death.. to materialise in ways that not only appease the eyes but also lift the heart.. it’s truly nothing short of remarkable!
The weather, first impressions of Gurae, the things I did, food I ate, the people I met, the children I taught, the things I felt etc. these are the memories that I will keep with me. It all seems to have passed in a blurry haze (..that has nothing to do with the copious amounts of alcohol I’ve consumed here), as though in a blink of an eye, the whole thing has passed me by. Just last night, Mark (55) was saying how the same thing has happened to him, only instead of a year it’s more like 30 have passed him by so quickly. It again makes me ponder about how finite life really is.. how we each have such limited time here and that after all is said and done, all that really remains of us are others’ memories of us.
I’d like to thank everyone for reading my blog and motivating me to write more and more. This will serve as a valuable reminder of the time I spent in Korea, when my memories eventually begin to fade. Also it was great having so many people over, the guest bloggers who came and everyone who read this blog are more than welcome to stay with me wherever I end up in the future..