When I read the weather report saying we were due for a cold weekend as ‘the Siberian cold front is moving south toward the Korean peninsula’. I couldn’t help but think that the weather report sounded like something out of the Will Jaeger series (one of my favourite book trilogies). I imagined I was sitting behind the cockpit mentally preparing myself for the jump while Will Jaeger was telling the rest of the team what sort of weather conditions we should expect for the next few days as we track through the Siberian tundra to find some sort of Soviet secret HQ.
However, as interesting as that sounds. The reality of this cold spell didn’t mean tracking through mountains of snow and hiding in caves. It meant that I was in my room spending 4-6 hours a day doing Korean classes then having some lunch and taking a nap. After that, spending a few hours on Netflix, studying and then going back to sleep in order to repeat the same cycle the next day. After 3 days, this gets quite tiring and depressing most likely due to the lack of fresh air as it’s too cold to keep the window open all the time. Also, the corona situation got really bad in the last few months and we are currently on level 2.5 social distancing until near the end of January. 2.5 social distancing means that we cant sit in cafes, eat at restaurants after 9pm and of course no offline classes.
As I was in need of some fresh air I decided that I needed to get out of the dorms. I needed to go for a walk either around the campus or go to the beach. So last night I joined a few of my friends as they were going to Haeunedae for a while. Haeundae is one of the more famous beaches is Busan, probably more well known than Gwangalli. I had only been there once as it takes a while to get there but It was definitely worth it. Haeundae is known to be more of a tourist destination so there are many nice restaurants and it’s also where you can find many foreigners. As it’s by the beach there are also multiple high-rise apartments that overlook the ocean. It can be quite overwhelming, especially if you live in a smaller less populated part of the city.
Anyway, while there we walked around a small island and since there was no one around we were able to enjoy the ocean walk all to ourselves. It probably would’ve been much nicer if it was daylight but I was there more for the fresh air than the pretty views. The night views weren’t all that bad though. We got to see the Gwangalli bridge all lit up from a different perspective and we got to see all the high-rise apartments lit up as well. It’s really nice to see all the light reflecting off the ocean.
Anyway, as the season progresses and the weather gets colder, there are a few things that I’ve noticed and don’t quite enjoy about the cold weather. Today I thought that I would share the little list that I made about winter.
The harsh realities of Winter in Busan:
- Having to constantly change into warmer clothes even if it’s just to go downstairs and get a parcel or buy some breakfast. This can be quite annoying if you’re the type of person who is like ‘yeah I only need 5 minutes to tie my hair and put on some shoes’. It no longer takes five minutes because of all the layers. After putting on geo-thermals, socks, jeans, hoodie, coat, mask and a scarf; you’ve already spent almost seven minutes and then you have to wait for the elevator which also takes a long time since I live on the 10th floor. So instead of taking a minimum of minutes to leave the dorm, you end up taking around fifteen minutes.
- Imagining a nice warm shower after being outside in the cold only to come back and realise that a hot shower hurts and stings like crazy so you end up having a semi-cold shower.
- Not being able to text fast because your fingers are so cold you cant move them and your usual speed so you end up sending strange voice notes to your family and friends.
- Walking into a warm room after being outside in the cold and your mask suddenly becomes soaking wet. Because the weather is so cold you don’t feel the moisture that is caught in the mask; however, once you enter a room warm enough for the molecules to melt (?) your mask suddenly becomes very wet.
I’m sure there are a few other things that I’ve forgotten but these are some of the difficulties I’ve come to realise especially now that we are in the middle of winter. I’m aware that Busan being one of the southernmost parts of Korea, the temperature is much warmer compared to other parts of the country. And it will be quite interesting to see how I will survive the cold as I move further up North to start the next stage of my 5 year korean journey.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on fun places around Busan that I need to visit during my one year of language study. I’ve made a list of cool places to go and visit which include cafes, lookout spots and tourist attractions. Stay tuned to any updates by subscribing to my blog so you don’t miss out on any new posts! forget to like and subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss out on any new posts.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below. Stay tuned as I write more about my life as an international student here in Korea.