Winter in Korea and the Changing of Seasons


SunsetI’m not sure if I’m built for this thing called ‘winter.’ I’ve been snuggling under my coat and wearing millions of layers since November, and I fear I’ve suffered from a mild case of seasonal depression (nothing a glass of wine can’t fix, of course). I’ve gone as far as spending multiple weekends locked up in my tiny Korean apartment, ondol (underfloor heating) cranked up to the max, curled up beneath a series of blankets.

There’s good news, though, the winter is quickly dissipating. I’ve noticed fewer days where I can see the fog of my breath as I exhale. I’ve been warming up quicker below all my sweaters when I step out the door and my toes stopped feeling frost bitten through my less-than-appropriate-for-the-weather boots from Zara. There’s a silver lining in the horizon and it comes in the form of Cherry Blossom trees! I can’t wait to see them bloom.

In the meantime, I’ve noticed the beauty of a Korean winter, as well. When there’s snow on the ground and the whole city turns white, or a chill in the air that makes the mountains glow, and a sunset that’s more red than yellow. I can see the seasons change for the first time in my life, and I see how even the worst of days can be colorful. Winter, for me, has looked a little something like this…

Lantern

Winter copy

Winter Leaves

Nick Palgongsan copy

Nick2

SnowMy favorite thing to observe is the shift of fruit at the market as the months turn from humid to chilly to freezing and back again to breezy. We still have another month or so left of all around crappy-ish weather, but the strawberries are filling the shops in my neighborhood and that makes everything better. It’s pretty cool to see the year move forward through fresh produce. I’m always skeptical when avocados, for example, are available all year round and it makes me wonder where my fruit is coming from.

Fruits

In Korea I don’t wonder; I see them filter through each day, with a little bit of one thing becoming more and more scarce as a little bit of something else overflows in ripeness. As much as I loved fall, and winter may not ever be this Caribbean girls favorite season, the good things are starting to grow on me.

What’s your favorite season of the year? Do you think the produce sold at farmers markets in your town change as the seasons change?

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2 Comments

  1. February 17, 2015
    Reply

    My favorite season has to be summer. I’m from the sunny state of Texas and the Japanese winters are always too long and cold for my tastes. Sounds like Japan and Korea are the same loving their seasonal foods. The late fall and winter is definitely the time to be eating mikans (mandarins). I love mikans and snowboarding but I miss my sunny weather.

    • February 23, 2015
      Reply

      Girl, I totally agree! I always thought I was cut out for the cold, but it was 56 degrees F here for a day and I have never been so happy in life to see the sun and some semblance of warmth. I cannot wait for summer! I have to come visit Japan, soon.

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