LASTING TRANSITIONS

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Snow City, Korea

After a few days of pleasant, California-like winter weather last week, Korea has been experiencing semi-heavy snowfall accompanied with with bone-chilling breezes, closely resembling weather of nearly a month ago. Having not experienced much of any snow in all where I’ve lived in the world before coming to South Korea, I’ve come to learn that I’m not a fan of it. Snow is overrated.

Early morning snow in Gimpo

Early morning snow in Gimpo

Bike Covered in Snow - Gimpo, South Korea

Bike Covered in Snow – Gimpo, South Korea

With that being said, snow in Korea, as probably with anywhere, comes with many unexpected inconveniences. Bus rides to work, which normally last 35-40 minutes, can take over two hours. Even when it snows, being late to work is still essentially a no-no (at least at my school); one must just leave earlier than normal. On top of that, many more people take buses when it snows, and buses are filled to the brim with people climbing over chairs and passengers just to get to work on time. Despite this large inconvenience, bus drivers still tend to not slow down one bit. They have the tendency to drive just like any ordinary day, when it is clearly not. One instance occurred yesterday evening that scared the living daylights out of me.

Early morning snow in Gimpo - Photo 2

Early morning snow in Gimpo – Photo 2

I was standing in an extremely packed bus late at night on my way home from having dinner in Seoul. Once the bus reached the outskirts of Gimpo, the bus driver dramatically increased speed and began turning sharp corners without slowing down like driving a Ferrari. Passenger belongings were sliding around everywhere and people were bracing themselves against chairs and each other in attempt to not to fall over. A day earlier I had prevented myself from fully slipping down an icy spiral staircase by immediately grasping the handrail holding up all my weight with an already sore and aching shoulder. Thus, with my shoulder still aching heavily, I braced myself against a chair as the driver weaved the bus like a snake amid highways and byways. Not before long with the bus still going at a speed much higher than it should in icy conditions, the bus driver jumped a speed bump at full speed and then made a radical right turn immediately after. The bus couldn’t handle the turn at such a high speed on ice and thus began sliding sideways onto the main highway. People began yelling and screaming while harshly pressing against one another inside the bus, including myself as I yelled “Holy Crap!” amid trying to hold on. The bus must have uncontrollably slid sideways 40 or 50 yards onto the highway before the driver was able to correct the turn. Dang, that was extremely scary. My life flashed before my eyes.

Clearing the streets in the early morning - Wolgot, South Korea

Clearing the streets in the early morning – Wolgot, South Korea

Wolgot, South Korea

Wolgot, South Korea

However, despite not being a fan of snow, it does make for some nice scenery around my school:

View from my classroom desk

View from my classroom desk

My School's Backyard

My School’s Backyard

Sky clearing through the trees

Sky clearing through the trees

Stairs to my classroom. Quite slippery!

Stairs to my classroom. Quite slippery!

In addition, most my students absolutely love the snow and enjoy devising ways to make a strongest igloos that will remain far beyond all unused snow has melted away. Seeing them playing in the snow always fosters a lasting smile, and I suppose that this is worth far more than any inconvenience I may have with snow.

Building an igloo

Building an igloo

One comment on “Snow City, Korea

  1. Carey
    February 7, 2013

    Fast and the Furious 5: School bus drift!

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This entry was posted on February 6, 2013 by in South Korea and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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