everything was going just fine, until i opened the front door and realized it was actually chilly outside. i darted back inside to grab a sweater and then made a quick break for the bus stop, throwing on the sweater in the parking lot. it was too late once i’d realized the sweater was still damp from the weekend.
the weekend, when chris and i were caught in a monsoon on the coast in busan. we’d taken the slow train to songjeong saturday morning, perfectly aware of the impending forecast but thinking ‘what harm is a little rain?’ this thought panned out just fine on saturday and the light drizzle felt nice on our faces as we sat on a bench in the woods sipping beers and overlooking the rocky ocean cliffs and an ornate traditional pagoda bringing in a stream of on-lookers from the shore. but, come saturday night, we meandered the streets on the lookout for some good food in the middle of torrential downpour and after settling on a sam gyup sal restaurant on the main road, we retired to our not-so-quarky-afterall motel room with a perfect view of the storming sea.
in the morning we were faced with neck-breaking winds, sporadic hail, and beck-won-sized rain globs. we made a run for a coffee shop to wait it out, but then decided to make a run for the train station, where we waited an extra hour or so for our train. a tree had fallen on the track. along the way there were several more delays due to the harsh weather and chris worked on his novel while i stared out the window and bugged him with some thoughts about life now and again. once we made it home, we were still damp and wet from the monsoon but the weather in daegu was clear. we made a bee-line for the shabu shabu restaurant, nearly killed ourselves with gluttony, and rolled ourselves home to pass out.
monday came and went.
then tuesday. when i threw on my damp sweater just before realizing i’d lost my bus pass and running home frantically to find it. chris woke up with a start and handed me his bus card, but there wasn’t time to head to the subway to reload it. but it was my only option, so i went running, knowing full well i was probably going to miss the bus.
running (i hate running) in the wet, cool air, i found my bus card sneakily tucked away inside my wallet. i have this habit of putting things in bad/odd places.
i came to the bus stop just as the bus was ready to pull away, and i made a jump for it. slid my card, heard the beep, and felt the dreaded blanket of heat. the bus driver had the heater running. now, it had felt a little cool outside but with maximum humidity levels, the heater was really unnecessary and created a complete sauna in the bus. almost all the windows were closed. i had a brief panic, thinking maybe i would suffocate or pass out if i stayed on the bus. i stood in the back and waited for a seat. when i was able to snag one next to an open window, the bus driver stalled the bus twice, leaving us with no breeze. i waited. and finally, we got going and there was a perfect, blessed breeze! i lifted the damp hair off my wet neck, billowed my soaking wet shirt, and let the cool air blow like sweet angel sighs along my clammy, discouraged skin. the heavens parted and i breathed a sigh of relief and gratitude as the lady next to me gave me a funny look and i shot her back a sheepish ‘yeah…rough morning’ look. all was well.
until the evil lady closed the window!
i gasped inwardly, holding my tongue. was she doing this to spite me? but, why? why on earth would someone close the window?! i became seized with the unrequited desire to communicate to her my humble request to leave the window open. but instead, i took out my phone and emailed my mother.
‘i will wait,’ i told myself, ‘there’s no way she’s riding this bus as long as i am.’
and sure enough, the evil lady left. i slid to my left to take her spot by the window and opened it clear and wide. the air came rushing in all at once, across my neck and chest and stomach and all through my hair, which went wild as a goose nest from all the frizz and wind. my hair finally began to dry and lift from its wet, matted, sticky state. hallelujah! i cried. hallelujah.
i survived the ride to my stop on the other side of town. triumphantly i exited the bus into the cool morning for my fifteen minute walk to work.
and then it started to rain.
and no, i didn’t bring the umbrella.
which brings me to this conclusion: the subway is the superior mode of transportation. if i could have it my way, this supposed highspeed rail in california would all my underground. trains and buses are subject to weather conditions. subways are not. subways are always the same temperature. and there are no windows for people to open or shut. and if you miss one, there’s always another one five minutes later.
also: summers in other countries aren’t always fun in the sun.
also: living abroad definitely isn’t as glamorous as you think it’s going to be. traveling abroad sometimes isn’t either, but living abroad definitely isn’t. hardly ever. sometimes you get caught in a crazy storm on a beach and it’s sorta fun and cool. you think ‘this will be an awesome story to tell my friends back home.’ and then, on a tuesday, going to work, the same exact fiasco might happen and it just isn’t as funny. it’s not as fun. and you realize you are just like everyone else on the bus. you’re not a tourist. you’re just living your life, trying to get to work and back. but you’re not a local either, as the locals will quickly remind you with a telling glare. in the end, no matter where you are, you’re just you. on a bus. probably dripping in sweat and questioning the motivations of the person sitting next to you.