It’s true what they say: We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. It was the end of the November and autumn leaves had just started to fall. The ground was covered with the color of decay, the soil moist from the occasional rain, the air heavy with scent of petrichor. I breathed in my first autumn and I sighed: There was poem in my mind I couldn’t seem to form. Or was I lost in translation?
Nature is more eloquent and here’s how she defined “transition.”
One day the ground was filled with fallen leaves and twigs, the next day with droplets of freezing rain, and the day after that, some snow flurries. The weather was painfully indecisive that time.
Just like how I was.
But confusion somehow helped my case. I managed my expectations. I learned to be prepared. I brought my umbrella along with an extra pair of winter gloves and jacket. Just in case. And in learning to weather unpredictability, I have experienced some of the most fascinating things in Seoul. The night held a certain charm, the leafless branches casting their long pointy shadows on the ground. One of the best vantage points of South Korea’s nightscape is the N Seoul Tower.
The Myeongdong night market, of course, was brimming with life. Everywhere I look was a new sight, and my eyes couldn’t seem to keep up with all the excitement.
The morning stroll was not so bad too. The streets were filled with quaint coffee shops like the Hello Kitty Cafe. It cost me a few thousand Korean wons but I didn’t mind.
There is even a Teddy Bear Museum.
I roamed the streets of Seoul like the usual avid tourist, keen to take photos and experience new adventures. But despite all the distractions, one story caught my attention: the story of how North and South Korea separated.
This is the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ, a military demarcation between two divided countries sharing a common language, history and ethnicity. The two countries have flagpoles built in their respective zones.
Over the years, North and South Korea have been building against each other, raising the height of the poles a few meters above the other. The final score: 160-100 meters in favor of the North.
On the first of December, the clouds granted my wish and poured snow. It was my first time to see snow and I ran outside like a little girl without putting my stockings on. My fingernails were turning a pale shade of violet from the cold; good thing it didn’t show.
Being the typical tropical islander stuck in a cold country, my favorite part of the trip was skiing on ice. I tripped and fell a few times, got a few bruises here and there, but it was all worth it.
Goodbye, Seoul. You’ve been good to me.
[Entry 63, The SubSelfie Blog]
About the Author:
Hon Sophia Balod is a storyteller. She is currently a News Producer of special reports and features for Balitanghali, Saksi, and State of the Nation with Jessica Soho. She is also a media fellow of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism for Basic and Advanced Investigative Reporting. Journalism 2010, UP Diliman. Read more of her articles here.