I can breathe here. Fresh country air! Not a high-rise apartment building in sight! Only the local corner store for groceries, and we walked between rice paddies to get from the apartment to the center of town and back out to the river.
The bus ride back, I am so exhausted I want to sleep, but can’t. Too pretty to close my eyes.
Because with the winding roads and the rolling hills, I could be back in the Shenandoah, or driving over a section of the Blue Ridge.
Well, not quite.
Rice paddies weave throughout, lined by the canals that water them.
Little hillocks also dot the landscape, decorated with mounded tombs and stone grave markers.
Ajummas and Ajoshis farm the land, bent over in the sun and shaded by their wide-brim hats.
Everything is so green!
After the words-cannot-describe-how-refreshing weekend, this bus ride is just filling me to the brim–I’m so satisfied I could burst.
The houses are in traditional Korean style, with the stone-styled shingles I’d never seen before moving here. They also seem shorter, smaller, more practical and useful, less ostentatious.
And then we round another bend, and there they are.
High-rise apartment buildings. It’s tough to escape them for long. There are, after all, 48,747,000 people in a space the size of Indiana. You’ve got to put them somewhere.
Then the highways get wider, and the traffic slowly grows, and the rice paddies are hidden behind buildings and bridges.
But they’re still there!
Even at my usual subway stop, where Line 1 (the first subway built) and Line 2 (the busiest subway in Seoul) intersect, there are fields of edible things growing.
Actually, wherever there is undeveloped land in a city, I often find some sort of farming going on there.
Just as in the country, it’s difficult to find space without an encroaching city or apartment building.
I’m not very happy to be back in my concrete jungle. Part of moving to Korea was to experience fast-paced city life. It’s fun, it’s busy, it’s exciting.
But I sure did enjoy being able to breathe.