Saturday, 19 February 2011

Some Winter Mornings...

The alarm clock just went off. It’s 7:30 AM. Time to get up. 

But not a muscle in me moved. My small world stood still. It’s quiet, in my room in an apartment building sitting on one of the hilly sides of Hannam-dong in Seoul.

My eyes don’t want to open and I find it difficult to unwrap myself from the blanket, laying still with mind in a dream state.

Slowly opening my eyes, I see no sunlight even with the clear glass windows, and I realize the nasty coldness in my room, which forces me to retreat even more inside my cocoon-like blanket. Just like the alarm clock, my mind reminds me that if I don’t get up now, I will be late for work. And with the time I need in preparing myself to face the world, each precious minute passing by counts. I need to leave my apartment by 8:30 to be at work by 9.

Still lying in bed and imagining myself in the shower already, I sink deeper into the temptation of sleeping again. The will to get out of bed is as scarce as the sunlight in an early winter morning. Can I just sleep some more? What happens if I arrive late at work? But after concluding that my world will not end if I don’t get there on time, I promised myself a few more minutes.

Time passed and finally, even with my closed eyes, I could feel sunlight creeping into my room. It finally sneaked in through my window as it does every morning, though not making the place any warmer. I am still under my sheets, shielding myself from the coldness that overnight enveloped my room. And as daylight found its way to my bed, it brought along the determination to kick away sleepiness as well as the blanket. I now rise and sit on the edge of my bed preparing for the tragedy of finally separating myself from my bed and the joy of slumber.

Still sitting on my bed, I started to realize that the rest of the world is actually fully awake. From my ceiling, I hear the solid footsteps of the neighbors living above me, and from my door, the loud voice of the Korean mother next door giving last minute instructions to her kids leaving for school, all in frantic scenes of the world tightly shut out by my door. Everybody but me, is up!

It is winter in Korea, and mornings will always be this cold. But what a welcome coldness! With the temperature dropping, icy cold breeze blowing, skies cloudy, and at times, a slippery path frozen with ice, winter has its unique way of changing your body clock, or your neighborhood landscape. The warmth of my bed coupled with the coldness of the night just make it easier for me to enjoy my time in bed. Even the sun seems to enjoy extending its sleep as during winter months, it drags its way back to the eastern horizon late in the morning, as if to imply that its tardiness is a permission for me to also start my day late during winter.

So I am finally out of bed now! Willing to start my day, I head to the shower and prepare myself for work! I don’t want to hurry spring, or summer or autumn, to come in soon. They will have their time, or should I say, season. And during the next three months, even with its bitter coldness, early evenings, dark mornings and heavy snowfall, winter is a season I will surely enjoy.

Time to go to work.

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