South Korea is a country of drastic seasonal changes and they are very proud of this characteristic. One of the most common points of pride for Koreans is that this small nation has 4 distinct seasons. We hear about Korea’s four seasons from students ad nauseum, but for one spectacular season, Spring, Korea’s changing weather is of particular note.
Living in Yeosu, we experience a very temperate version of Korean weather. Our summers are cooler than those experienced by the rest of the country, and our winters are far more mild.The two constants of Korean seasons, however, is in the Spring and Autumn. Even in Yeosu, the plants put on a flourish at the beginning and end of the growing season. Stephanie and I disagree on things from time to time, and Fall vs. Spring is one of them. I absolutely love Korea’s plethora of mountains with changing fall colors, whereas Stephanie gets excited for Spring flowers like a 5 year old given a puppy. The puppy is a Corgie…that kind of excitement.
My relationship with Spring is a strained one, as I have always had horrible allergies and have a certain level of disdain for the pollination that terrorizes my sinuses each year. I will agree with Stephanie, though, on how absolutely beautiful Korea is in the Spring. While Yeosu doesn’t have the harsh extremes of Summer and Winter, the flowers, camellias, magnolias, and maehwa trees (plum trees) are beautiful. However, the most pronounced, the cherry blossom trees, are simply mesmerizing. They bloom for only a short period of time before ushering in Korea’s last “snowfall” of petals.
The cherry blossoms here in Yeosu are different than the ones we witnessed last year in Seoul. During mid summer they actually produce tiny cherries which are bitter, but totally edible, if you can get over your mouth turning bright purple. The petals are also pinker than the snow white blossoms further north and seem dreamlike due to the sheer quantity that are in our city.
Allergic reactions aside, Spring is a beautiful time to be in or visit Korea and we are very grateful that the temperate nature of Yeosu still puts on a colorful show ever year for the bloom.