Suzhou Weekend

Yes, it’s the weekend for us. A little getaway to a beautiful city, with local tea and an artist’s studio as homebase (Thank you, Airbnb!). 

Nice to to get away after a very challenging week. More on that later, perhaps. For now, I’m pretending that we actually live in this bustling canal-bordering neighbourhood, just enjoying the sounds of the people talking news and politics downstairs over tea.

There is a definite autumnal chill tonight. More tea, I think.

North Norfolkian Getaway

I’ll write more about it soon, but here are a few moments from a short bit of travel we did this weekend. We stayed in a brilliant cottage by the sea without electricity and stuffed ourselves full of fresh seafood. A trip well spent.

A Spring From the Winter that never Came

British Daffodils

British Daffodils

I know that it’s nearly been a year since I first set foot in England, because the daffodils are here again. Last year they were late because the winter had been so cold and harsh. This year they are early, because winter simply never arrived. One year ago next month, I set foot in England for the first time (the time before flying through Heathrow before doesn’t count). In one week, it will have been six months since I moved here. These daffodils will be fully open by then.

They'll open soon.

They’ll open soon.

Spring is practically here!

EDIT: And here they are!!!

The Last Collected Season

The last in the collection.

The last in the collection from Korea-December 2012

 

I have a habit of taking photos out the window of my room, wherever I live, to capture the passage of time and the changing of circumstances. This first began when I studied abroad for the first time in Perugia, Italia in the summer of 2007. Almost every day, I took a photo out my window toward the church in the parking lot below. Time passed so slowly and so quickly then, and five weeks melted before I could truly register what had happened.

Perugia, Italia.

Perugia, Italia-May 2007

When I lived in Ferrara, the dawn woke me with a brilliant omen on my very first morning.

First sunrise in my homestay in Ferrara, January 2009

First sunrise in my homestay in Ferrara, January 2009

In Puerto Natales, I watched the Patagonian skies warp and change by the minute. Time seemed a different animal there, unfettered by our petty attempts at clocks and schedules.

Chorrillos, Puerto Natales

Chorrillos, Puerto Natales-2011

I’ve collected every season here in Korea. It’s the first time for the same place for a full year, the same job, the same apartment…since I moved into my dormitory for my first year of university in August 2006. I’ve been on the road in one form or another for over six years. It’s strange and oddly beautiful that I’ve seen that little tree change from a single springtime blossom, to green and verdant summer, to burning fall, and finally silent winter.

The fogginess of 2013 has already invaded my life here at the end of 2012, with everything seeming to suddenly lift up off the ground and fly around in a storm of unstable circumstance and confused importance. Nearly nothing is certain. I was a bit naive in recent weeks, pretending to have a plan and a set idea of what would happen in the future. I must train myself to give that up.

Once again, I have no idea where I will be in six months, much less twelve.

I can’t decide if that feels liberating or like I’m being cornered. At times it seems both. Time doesn’t really care for my tiny confusions and my vacillation between alternative futures. It plays its longer game. One day a year from now, I’ll looks around and take a photo out my window, marveling at how long and short it’s been. It will all change, and yet nothing will.

Travel Without Traveling

Korea is rapidly morphing into the Korea that I arrived in, last February. The change in seasons has unexpectedly made me nostalgic. It’s strange for me to be in the same place for all four seasons… especially to watch the view out the window change with each passing month. This is travel without traveling. It’s almost time travel.

(Here’s the window in Spring and here it is in Summer)

As I slip toward my ninth month in Korea, I notice that the seasons here appear to follow the calendar precisely. On September 1st, the oppressive heat of summer broke. On October 1st, the fall weather came in full swing. And now in November, it’s rapidly becoming winter. I even have to wear a coat outside during the day. I keep hoping for snow and getting rain instead.

In less than two weeks I go home for Thanksgiving! \(^_^)/

After that, the Korean Adventure will truly begin to draw to a close.