Monsoon season and it's unpredictable weather seems to have come to a close. In its place is a never-ending stretch of near 40-degree heat. Going outside between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. is asking to get melted like a 50-cent ice cream cone on the scorching sidewalk. Let's hope this handheld fan keeps me kickin' until next week.
Week 5 /
Following on the heels of a successful 30-day iPhone challenge, I've decided to dive in (for the third time I can remember) to a 365. Last time I made it just over 90 days before getting off track. Third time's the charm?
Last month, I rolled over in bed, took out my phone, and snapped a picture of my laptop. Taking inspiration from another photographer in Korea, @jtiniksan, I decided right then to begin a 30-day photo challenge: 1 month, 30 photos, iPhone only and all in black and white.
The best camera is the one you have on you. Though not every picture was stunning, I came out of the month with a journal of sorts. I also shot a lot of moments I wouldn't normally have captured, like the view from a run or from under a desk at school - times I don't normally have a 'proper' camera on me.
After a month of shooting on iPhone, I've decided to keep going. Whether I get to 365 or not remains to be seen, but I've really enjoyed the practice so far.
We finished work at 6:00 PM last Friday. By 8:30 PM, we had landed in Jeju City and were on our way to dinner. We wouldn't be leaving until Tuesday morning, planning to get back just in time for work. A full weekend getaway.
Jeju is a volcanic island off the southern coast of South Korea and is incredibly popular with native Koreans and foreign tourists alike. About 15 million tourists visit the island each year, whose native population is 660,000. It's easy to see why the island is so popular: lush landscapes, the highest mountain in Korea, white, sandy beaches and delicious seafood are all here.
With a hotel downtown, some tasty restaurants lined up and a tour of eastern Jeju on the agenda, we were excited a weekend away from Gwangju.
The only catch was the weather. For days we had been hoping the forecast of rain would miraculously lift for our weekend, but that wasn't the case. All of Sunday and much of Monday was spent in the rain (which ranged from a gentle mist to umbrella-inverting, gusty, downpours). Thankfully, the rain held off for Saturday, allowing us to soak up some sun at a beachside cafe.
Keep scrolling and check out some of my favorite shots from this weekend away.
As fickle as the fall colours can be, they come nowhere near the short-lived glory of cherry blossoms. Between the first blooms and the last petals getting washed down the storm drain, they stuck around for just shy of two weeks. Thankfully, the weather was nice for the peak weekend of cherry blossom season, letting us get out and see them in all their glory.
A study of our kitchen window in morning light.
The forecast for next week is promising days of mid-20's temperatures. Cherry blossoms are blooming and the grass is green. I've been able to feel the warmth coming for weeks now — a sunny day here, a 20-degree day there — but spring is here for good. Take a walk through the streets in black and white while I soaked up the most of this wonderful transitional period in Gwangju.
I got a letter from my aunt yesterday. She doesn't have a computer, so it's the easiest way of staying in touch. It's also a nice surprise to come home to something in the mailbox that isn't a bill or a menu I can't quite understand. Back home, she writes, March has been bleak. Back-to-back nor'easters and a fresh mountain of snow have her — and many others, I imagine —wondering if winter will actually end.
Last week, it hit 20°C. Today in Korea, it's going to be 18°C. This month, it's also snowed, rained, and we even had a thunderstorm. To close out the month, next week is forecasted to be the beginning of cherry blossom season! So while the weather here is just as unpredictable, I'll take rain showers and 20°C temperatures over a late-winter snowstorm any day.
It wasn't so long ago, though, that these streets were windswept by frigid air, and clumps of wet snow drifted down from the sky. Korean winters come nowhere close to the emotional toll a long New Brunswick winter takes, but they can certainly be rough in their own way (I've never felt so cold at only -5°C).
Looking back through these photos of snow-covered streets dotted with footprints, I can't say I'm feeling much nostalgia. As lovely as the snow can be, I've had my fill of it for this year.