LIFE IN KOREA: February Blah, Blah, Blah!

by Anne Marie Wolochatiuk, 13/02/2010

I’m no expert, but I don’t think you have to be to understand that the winter doldrums are very real. The difficulty for me is trying to cope with each family member’s attempt to grapple with it, in addition to my own. Having lived in the tropics for the last fifteen years, I had forgotten what the February blahs were like. Who could possibly slip into depression when you could step outside in flip flops and a tank top and feel the sun shining on your face with a mild yet refreshing breeze. The phone calls from up north would all start to sound the same. ‘You don’t know how lucky you are!’ or ‘Are you aware of how cold it is here now?’ or  ‘Have you seen the news about another cold front coming in?’ We did, we were, and we had.

I warned my daughter about the long, grey, frigid winters ahead,best replica watchesbut she chose to attend a college in the Midwest anyway. I can hear the despair in her voice now when she calls. ‘It’s soooooooo cold!’ I believe that living in a cold climate for a certain amount of time, sets off a chain reaction. You are unable to maintain a cheery disposition for any length of time. As a result, ‘the glass is half full’ becomes ‘look at me again like that and I’ll hurl this half empty glass of water at your head’. The feeling permeates to your work, your social life and even your sleep patterns.

My husband claims to love the cold. Like most Canadians, he began playing hockey in sub-zero ice rinks at 6am from the age of 5. ‘Embrace the winter!’ he says, but even his love of long walks and sitting in outdoor cafes has been squelched because of the cold. How can you not feel blah when you’ve lost your ability to decompress the way you want to?

My other daughter living here in Seoul is simply in denial. She wouldn’t give up her flip-flops until late November, and runs to the school bus in a sweatshirt and sweatpants. No scarves, mitts or hats for her, let alone a coat. I think she feels that acknowledging winter would be losing a battle in a way. Never one to be cooped up indoors, I think she feels that this forced confinement restricts her spirit. Though I get the sense now that she, too,  is tired of the pretense.  All the sports are done indoors, and by now, homework is considered monotonous. The couple of extra pounds we all put on, the ashen complexions we all don, the lack of energy we are all feeling, point to the February blahs.

So yes, Spring, we await your arrival. We welcome you with open arms. We look forward to the green of the grass and the bright colors of the flora. We will walk outside, even run, and sip our coffees on terraces, and shop till we drop at the outdoor markets and kiosks. We promise to be grateful for your arrival, and as quickly as we can pack away our long johns and sweaters, we will prepare for the renewal of life that is synonymous with your coming.

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