Well, I didn’t see that coming.
After that little taste of Winter up on Bulmo-San last weekend, I’d assumed I wouldn’t be seeing any more snow locally until I climbed some more peaks later in the season. Last Winter here in the balmy south (late January or February) the hills nearby got just one light dusting and a few lonesome flakes kissed the school playground one day before a quick death and a return to sweet nothingness.
But all the signs were there that Old Man Winter might be dropping by a little earlier and a lot more spectacularly this time around. The weather app on my phone said it was 2C in Busan when I hurried home, freezing, last night — word of a cold front on the BBC weather. And this morning make that a minus 2C. I busted out the goatskin snowboard mitts for the 45-minute walk to my second school today. The coffee and donuts that make the walk tolerable were doubly justified.
And then not long before lunch some commotion broke out — I mean more commotion than usual — and there was a stampede to the windows. The first wave of flakes, coming down with the snowflake version of purpose. Big flakes too. I went back to the Fortress of Solitude for my camera; here’s the view from my window:
These kids aren’t used to this, and neither am I. The lesson was pretty much ruined, but none of us cared.
The lunch bell signalled a frenzied exodus to the rapidly transforming grounds. Food was forgotten — and these kids live for that cafeteria lunch the way I don’t. I delayed my standard stroll to the local bakery, cafe or Lotteria (my three options, and boy, am I sick of them) and joined the cheerful mayhem on and around the sports field (Is that the word? We’d say “oval” back home, not that I’ve ever been on one.)
I had no umbrella and had to shelter my camera with one of those mitts. This is one reason the aching-fingers problem is so acute with me: always removing the gloves to work the camera, and the lens itself is icy to the touch. Luckily it wasn’t windy today.
I went up to the shops. I really wanted to play — you know how everything looks new and fresh and interesting under snow? — but had to be back for another lesson. I had a bit of fun, though, on the way to the bakery…
..which is over there opposite that Lotteria…
..and back via the standard shortcut through an apartment complex, to school.
For some of the locals, the cold snap was just to much to…er, bear:
Another game filled lesson 5 — these are third years, their exams are finished, and they’re even less interested in learning anything than usual — and then, well, more games, for me anyway, and a sizeable group of students who had their priorities right.
It was like they didn’t know when their next snowball-making opportunity might present itself, so they’d better make the most of it. They gave some consideration to my suggestion that they take their prize up and deposit it on the principal’s desk, but finally decided to just roll it round the yard. No initiative.
All in all, one of my better days at N2. The whole mood of the place seemed to get a lift, along with the landscaping. Even when I was hit from behind by two snowballs, I elected not to have the culprits expelled. The mellowness was infectious.
A last view: Independence Mountain (as I christened it) from the fortress window, like I’ve never seen it. walked home the long way tonight, round the back of that little peak, just to see the river banks and rice paddies under their brand-new blankets.
I’m hoping we get a it more of this over Winter — last time I found the bare trees and drab hills down here in Gyeongnam rather oppressive without the mitigating glory of some winter white. But just in case we don’t, I’m going to do a walk tomorrow and enjoy it while I can.
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote