Thursday, April 12, 2012

Signs of Spring: In Which Spring Seems to be Coming to Seoul

"The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow.  Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase."  ~E.B. White


Who knew that E.B. White - of all people! - could write such risque`stuff? Certainly not I.  My whole acquaintaince with White was based on Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web, which contained not a breath of impropriety ( unless you count the fact that Charlotte produced something like a thousand offspring without the benefit of matrimony, which doesn't mean a thing today but - back in the 60s - was still frowned upon. However - as always - I digress.)

The point that White seems to be making here is that Spring used to be a lot more fun (at least for the young virgins) than it is nowadays, and also that no one really uses the word 'crankcase' in conversation anymore.  Also, we do not set our clocks ahead or back in South Korea, which makes calculating the time differences to the U.S. even more complex than it already was.

I had every intention of plastering this post with the roseate hues of cherry blossoms, but, as it turns out, the cherry blossoms still haven't actually gotten around to blooming much yet, so this is all I have:



This is a pink cherry blossom in its pre-blooming stage, and they're everywhere in Seoul.  I've been watching them like a hawk, but mostly, they are staying stubbornly closed.  There are a few trees here and there with  blossoms that have been doing their thing, but I can tell that -as a group - they are just waiting for me to get distracted and stop watching them, at which time all of them will burst into roseate grandeur and then fade away before I see them.  At least that's what I'm afraid of, since I've been very distracted lately.

But let it not be said that MsCaroline neglects her readers, no matter how distracted she may be, and, as such, I will dutifully bring you up to date with what has been going on in my fascinating life:

  • driving in Seoul - yeah, you read that correctly, but it's really a whole post of its own. A mere 10 months after arriving here, I finally got up the nerve to drive.  Suffice it to say that I did not drive far, that I drove slowly and timidly, and no one was hurt.  MrL heroically rode shotgun and did his best to conceal the cold terror that must have been gripping him, for which he receives a gold star on his Husband chart.  
  • volunteering at Son#2's School - long ago, MrL told me that I was not happy unless I was overextended, and that continues to hold true, although I have made token attempts to cut back and Know My Limits over the years.  In this case, Son#2 is in a musical at his school and I innocently agreed to oversee arrangements for feeding the approximately 75 cast, crew, and adults involved in this production at all the weekend and evening rehearsals that are scheduled in the two weeks before Opening Night. Back in January when I agreed to do this, it sounded like a straightforward and fairly easy way to support Son#2 and the Theater Department, but now that I am looking down the barrel of the gun, so to speak, the task has metamorphosed into a giant Monkey On My Back which haunts absorbs all my waking moments.  If you have never done something like this, you cannot possibly appreciate what's involved;  if you have, you are probably shaking your head and wondering why I agreed to do it.  The answer is, "Because I am stupid." Will I learn from this? Probably not.
  • Going to Costco in Seoul - This is another one of those 'a whole post on its own' topics which I don't have time to write.  For those of you who don't know, Costco is one of those enormous warehouse-type stores which sell things (mostly food) in amounts more suited to feeding an entire military batallion rather than a modern nuclear family. It is very popular with American expats, who appreciate the familiar brands, and who also appreciate the fact that you can buy a slice of pizza or a hot dog (I don't eat them, since I know what they're made of, but the point is still valid) for roughly the same price that you can back home.  This was my first trip to Costco in Seoul, and I found it more traumatic than going to Costco in the US which I have always avoided when possible.  Suffice it to say that Costco, which was crowded in the U.S., is even more crowded in Seoul.  By the time I left, I hated all humanity.  
  • Spring Break - The school where I teach is on Spring Break at the moment, which- since Son#2's school is on another schedule and we couldn't travel - means that I am spending all of my time catching up on all the tasks that I have been putting off to do during Spring Break. Needless to say, none of these tasks are particularly interesting or fun, which (logically) is why I had been putting them off.  
  • Spending Election Day Afternoon With MrLogical:  Election day was yesterday in Korea, which means that many people had the day off, although it was an optional holiday for expats.  MrL compromised by working in the morning and spending the afternoon with me.  It was warm enough to walk around without a jacket, and - in one of the most reliable indicators of warmer weather - one could finally sit outside drinking a beer and enjoying the sun again.  In my book, that's almost as good as a cherry blossom.
Note I am outside without a coat. Also note I am squinting.  Squinting=sunshine.



10 comments:

Wilma said...

It's getting closer. Soon they will bloom and it will truly be spring for you. My condolences on the Costco visit. Not a fan of the place myself. LOL As far as the squinting--sunglasses, my friend. *grin* Glad to hear things are going well, except for the food extravaganza at the school. You'll have to let us know how that goes.

Trish @ Mums Gone To... said...

Catering for 75 people!!?? Pre-Spring has obviously addled your brain, woman!
Costco - my mother loves to shop there in the UK. However she lives on her own now so is the only woman I know who has two fridges and two freezers using far too much electricity but somehow she believes it's worth it buying whole salmons and catering packs of chicken breasts.

I loved Charlotte's Web....

MsCaroline said...

Wilma- yes, I am ready for it! I had sunglasses in my purse but hadn't taken them out when the photo was taken. The food extravaganza - God knows what I was thinking. I'll probably have a nervous breakdown before it's all over.

MsCaroline said...

Trish - I know, I know. What was I thinking? I'm known for doing this sort of thing - biting off more than I can chew and then deeply regretting it.
I had no idea that there was Costco in the UK, but if it's in Seoul, it must be everywhere else, too. I just loathe the crowds too much to appreciate it, I suppose.
I loved Charlotte's Web, too. I've read it again a few times as an adult and I love E.B. White's dry, understated sense of humor more every time I read it. I just wish it didn't make me weepy at the end.

Karen said...

I feel great pity about the food extravaganza...I would be sooooo miserable. Hated organizing events when I was with the PTA and avoid it like the plague now! I hate deadlines, probably because I believe firmly that I need to meet them. Bleagh! In less than 24 hours I will have a week off and am dying to get there!!

MsCaroline said...

Karen - this was one of those things I did and immediately regretted, but it's too late. I was feeling guilty because I only work 15 hours a week and surely have ample time to take on a few extra duties for the sake of my child's school...right? Sigh. I have 7 meals to organize x 75 people..groan. Tomorrow's the first lunch. Hoping to pull it off...thankfully teenagers aren't that picky about what they eat...

Circles in the Sand said...

Lovely photo! And good luck with the catering! Oh my gosh, that sounds A LOT! Keep us posted...

MsCaroline said...

Circles - Thanks! Made it through Meal #1 out of the 7 I am responsible for. Several lovely parents stepped in and gave me tons of help, otherwise I'd probably still be there in the cafeteria, huddled under a table!

BavarianSojourn said...

You have outdone me on the over-volunteering... 75 people!?! That beer looks good by the way! :)

MsCaroline said...

Emma - One meal down, six to go! We fed all of them yesterday without too much trauma, so maybe it will work out better than I anticipate. Trust me, though: next year I will NOT be doing it! ; )