Seoul Spring Nostalgia

Korean spring

Some cities do spring better than others.

Here in San Diego, where the weather is mild and balmy and the skies are perpetually sunny, I can’t say spring is anything spectacular. When you can lay out on the beach in February, the changing of the seasons really doesn’t mean a whole lot.

Seoul, on the other hand, undergoes the winter-to-spring transformation stunningly. As the city begins to thaw, its residents become antsy with the knowledge that light cardigans, then short sleeves, then sandals, are in the near future. The stark, geometric landscape of monochromatic grays is softened by clusters of pink cherry blossoms starting to make an appearance. Many of the trees sprout tiny, green buds, and a few weeks later those same branches are heavy with magnolias in creamy whites and pinks.

Korean Magnolias

Living in a place with beautiful weather year-round is fantastic, but the arrival of spring always feels so much sweeter after enduring a brutal winter. The fair temperatures and colorful blossoms feel earned, deserved.

After spending three years in Seoul, I’m feeling a little nostalgic for that feeling of renewal and rebirth. I want to pass the same trees and shrubs on my daily commute and watch them bloom a little more each day, feeling like I’m witnessing a magic trick in slow motion. I want to see the banks of the Han River blanketed in rapeseed flowers, and visit the secret grounds of Changdeokgung Palace. I want to hike through Namsan when the trails are lush and dewy, the thrum of cicadas drowning out everything else. Seoul in the spring is Seoul at its best.

Han River Seoul