Tuesday, April 11

spring: slow, but coming

I get an e-mail from my Dad that says they're already in their last month of the spring semester. I see pictures in a weekly newsletter I get from Korea (and on Korean TV) of the spring blossoms that are out. And I feel behind. We don't have any spring blossoms yet that I have noticed, we still need to wear a coat most of the time, and we're just barely to the halfway point of our semester.

I took a walk yesterday though, because I didn't have time to go to the gym, and I noticed a few more spring-like features. The farmers who live behind our school were working. Most of them were doing some sort of preparation of their fields. One was burning down extra dry brush and two couples were plowing their fields to get ready for planting. There are no fancy tractors on these farms. They use a cow with a contraption that it pulls behind it. The contraption is a wooden plank with something sharp at intervals on the bottom. It hits the ground and breaks it up. I was watching this as I walked by and kept thinking it was going to fall apart every time it hit. There was someone in the front to lead the cow and someone in the back to hit the cow with a stick to get it to go faster. Pretty fancy, huh?

I walked past a group of cute, dirty little lambs snacking, mangy cows resting or meandering across the road, and a few dogs who watched me pass. The houses still have their red banners around the doors welcoming in the lunar new year (it was at the end of January), but the banners are faded and peeling off now. There are no more ice patches on the road or in the low places in the fields. It was cool because of the wind, but the sun was shining and it was a pleasant walk. The day I came back from (comparatively) warm Korea, it snowed here in Yanji. It was a nice, soft, long snow that lasted a few days. That was two and a half weeks ago and it's snowed a few more times since, but melted quickly.

I found Granny Smith apples today at a new store. They had American looking stickers. Do you think they were really from America? I don't know, but the one I ate this morning was so good. As I asked about the price (just over a dollar for half a kilo), the guy encouraged me to buy them. He said they were really tasty. He was right. Yay for slow signs of spring and Granny Smith apples!

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