Yesterday in Daejeon it was a balmy 61 degrees; today it was back down to a more seasonal 30 degrees.
It’s been one of the colder winters in Daejeon but not one of the of the coldest I’ve experienced. My first winter here was brutal. I remember hanging up my clothes in the laundry room in my apartment in Chamsil 2-Danji and finding them frozen stiff a few hours later.
And no snow to speak of. There was some accumulation back in December but that was it.
This photo was from 2012 when Daejeon got a lot of snow; the most it has snowed in the nine years that I have lived here.
The New Year has picked up where the old year left off: more snow.
By far, this the most snow at one time in the past three attempts by Mother Nature to blanket Daejeon with the white stuff. I’m guessing around 4-5 inches, maybe more.
It’s not going to last. By noon, the sun had come out and all that wonderful snow had started to melt. Guess these two folks shouldn’t have been so quick with their brooms. All that work for naught.
Of all the Decembers I have been in Korea, December 2012 has been the snowiest and the coldest. It all started back on the night of December 5th when Daejeon had its first major snowfall of the year, followed by another one on the 7th, and most recently on the 28th. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and even though this December has been an extremely bittersweet one for me being away from my family, I know I will be looking back on this December nostalgically in the future when I think about all these snowy days.
Inasmuch as all this snow has made me homesick it has also made these long days and nights a little more bearable.
Another snowy Friday in Daejeon. That makes three this month. In all the years I have lived and worked in Korea, this has been the snowiest December of them all.
The Lespo Standard.
Your all-weather bicycle.
And why do we say, “steady as she goes?” Why not, “steady as it goes?”
Either way, this gentleman was not about to be dissuaded by snow and ice. Look closely, you’ll also see his cane and an industrial-strength chain to make sure no one steals his Lespo.
It’s been wicked cold in Daejeon for the past three days; the coldest December that I can remember in a long time. Most of the streets in my neighborhood are still sheets of corrugated ice and snow. There won’t be any city department crews sprinkling salt on these streets.
Some folks have taken to spreading crushed yontan (charcoal briquettes used for heating and cooking) on the streets for traction. Last night, I saw a guy using a blow torch to melt the ice on one patch of ice on a side street near my apartment so he could move his car.
This deep freeze is supposed to last until the middle of next week.
It’s a good time to curl up with a good book.
How about Ice Cream Headache?
Or, Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm?
Before we journeyed to Pusan, my friend and colleague Ken wanted to spend a day or two in Kyongju, the ancient capital of Korea’s Shilla Kingdom (noted for its arts and the spread of Buddhism).
Located in the center of town were these small hills, which were actually burial mounds. You see these mounds all across Korea, but in Kyongju there is a large cluster of them in Tumuli Park.
Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm
One of my first trips outside of Seoul was all the way down to Pusan in early 1991. My friend and colleague Ken Celmer, who had made the same trip the year before wanted to take the same trip again and I joined him.
I have an essay about this trip in Waking Up in the Land of the Morning Calm and mention this famous fish market.
It was a bitterly cold day when Ken and I were there and one of the first things he wanted to do was tour the fish market as well as hire a fisherman for a few hours to take us on a boat ride around the harbor. When the skipper of the skiff got too close to some fishing trawlers, Ken and I got a little nervous.
Later, to warm up, we ate some spicy fish soup which included the head of the fish in a spicy chigae (stew) concoction.
As the Blizzard of 2011 roars across the United States and a lot of folks are finding themselves stuck indoors, how about curling up with a good book in front of the fireplace, on the sofa, or wherever you feel warm and comfortable?
Although a Kindle might not have that warm familiar feeling of a worn paperback or leather bound book in your hands, what really counts is the story to warm your heart and move you.
If you really want to be moved by a good story, now is as good a time as any to enjoy War Remains. Some of the action described in the novel took place 60 years ago, and for all my friends back in Illinois and the Midwest who are surviving the Blizzard of 2011, there is even a scene describing the Great Blizzard of ’39. Not that you need to be reminded of what’s roaring outside, but it gives you a historical precedence.
Stay safe and warm everyone.