I downloaded the new Kate Bush album ‘50 Words for Snow’ last night, little did I know I’d be actually seeing snow the next day. I didn’t expect the snow to arrive as early as it has. It’s so cold now that I doubt we’ll be seeing the back of it for a while. Two weeks ago it was still pretty warm here up by the North Korean border, then over night it just turned bitterly cold.
I arrived at the bus stop this morning to be told that my bus wasn’t running. As I don’t speak Korean I couldn’t ask why, or what I should do about it. Luckily there was a kind Korean bus driver who still needed to get to Damok so he gave me a ride in his car. I got to work at the usual time. In Sachang-ri there was still no snow, the ground was wet and walking to the bus stop I remember thinking that it wasn’t nearly as cold as yesterday. Half way down the main road to my school and there was snow all over the ground, hugging trees and licking the pavements. The school looked beautiful this morning under the shade of the mountain covered in a fresh layer of the white stuff. My 4th graders have challenged me to a snow ball fight at lunch time. This could turn out badly for me.
Nathanael and I were right to climb the mountain for sunrise last weekend, as I think it’s too cold now. We got up at 3:30am and hiked to the top of the smaller mountain which lies just south of town. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be and the closer we got to the top the more layers I found myself removing. From there we hoped to hike to a taller peak to watch the sunrise, but it was pitch black and our flash light wasn’t as bright as it should have been and the long and short of it is that we just couldn’t find the trail. We ended up lounging about on a Korean gazebo on top of the small peak and we watched the misty morning get its first sprinkling of light from there. Still a well worthwhile experience and we were back home by 8:30am. The rest of the day ahead.
As many of you know as I don’t stop going on about it most of my time over the past two weeks has been spent writing my 50,000 word novel. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is an opportunity for writers to get the motivation they need to sit down and write that book they’ve always said they have in them. There’s a wonderful Christopher Hitchens quote in which he says: “everyone does have a book in them, for most of them, that’s where it should stay,” and while this is humorously true I’ve been writing since I was in college, and not so seriously for years before that, and NaNoWriMo has given me the motivation to stop making excuses. I’m writing at home, I’m writing at work, I’m writing on the bus, all to reach the goal of a 50,000 word novel by the end of November, and its going pretty well. I’m over half way.
As I’ve been working frantically on my book there’s really not a lot to report on life in Korea. It is drifting by much the same as it always has. School is good, teaching is good, and life is on the whole pretty good as well. There are still communication problems, I’m still finding certain aspects of life here hard to grasp, and I still don’t know the dates for my winter vacation. We trudge on blindly through the wilderness.
The snow is here now, and I’m looking forward to winter here in the most Northern area of Korea. It’s going to be a beautiful December, and I can pretty much guarantee a white Christmas.
See you soon my sometime friends. Be well, be reckless.