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Spring Is Nigh
2016년 03월 03일 (목) 14:51:20 GLOBE globe@jbnu.ac.kr

In South Korea, many Koreans and foreigners alike become excited when spring is around the corner, which is usually in February or early March. There are numerous reasons for this hard-to-conceal anticipation.

First of all, winter in Korea tends to be extremely cold, and it is unusual not to have at least one snowfall(the 2015-2016
Winter season has seen a bunch of snowfalls). In particular, if one is a foreigner who comes from a country with harsh winter weather (such as Canada, Russia, the United States in some areas, and much of Scandinavia and Finland), then it is easy to see why one would wish for a prompt end to the snowy, freezing weather.

On a personal note, a few weeks ago I was walking on an icy sidewalk when I stepped on some black ice, lost my footing, and fell. Luckily, I was able to break the fall with my hands and arms without suffering severe injury. A few years ago, also during winter time in Korea, I slipped and fell on my back, hurting my tailbone.

I'm aware that many people have been injured much worse due to such incidents, not to mention horrific vehicle accidents, deaths due to exposure, and hypothermia and other such disasters.

It's easy to imagine that most people in North Korea have it even worse in many ways. Many of the citizens there suffer from malnutrition, so they are more susceptible to harm from the freezing temperatures since they usually have less body mass. Also, they generally have fewer funds, resources, and facilities to help protect themselves from the cold: for example, warm clothes, heating systems, good shelter, and fuel.
In all probability, most North Koreans likely await the end of winter and the beginning of spring even more anxiously than their Southern brethren do, for the citizens of the DPRK getting through the winter is even more of a matter of survival.

Nevertheless, it is not true to say that everyone in South Korea(Korean or foreign) dislikes or hates the winter. Many people, especially young children and teens, may enjoy having snowball fights, building snowmen, or participating in seasonal winter sports. Also, December to February is the season for certain delicious fruits in Korea, especially strawberries and Jeju mandarin oranges(tangerines). Finally, it is also a time in which many people celebrate some famous holidays, such as Christmas, Chanukah, and New Years' Eve. Even for a lot of these people, however, the negative aspects of winter may outweigh its good points, and there are still many others who are just happy that winter is nearly over, period.

Indeed, it is easy to list the marvelous qualities of spring: the appearance of the beautiful cherry blossoms; the pleasantly warm but mild weather; the availability of new fruits such as plums and apricots; and the new growth and blossoms of many trees, shrubs, flowers, and plants, for example.

Another important thing to note is that, although certain allergies like hay fever may be more common in the spring, winter is much worse, for people's immune systems are often compromised by the chilly weather. The arrival of spring helps their bodies to recuperate and strengthen, leading to a lower prevalence of colds spreading around.

In terms of personal preference, from favorite to least favorite seasons, I'd have to list them in the following order: spring, autumn(fall), winter and summer. In Korea, the summer is simply too hot, humid, and muggy, and I'm always glad when it is over. The winters aren't any worse than those in my home country, but I'm still not crazy about them, for the reasons I have already mentioned.

In Korea, the spring and autumn seasons are really awesome because you have the lovely cherry blossom trees in the former and the stunningly colorful falling leaves in the latter. Furthermore, the weather is refreshingly crisp, yet mild and moderate during both of these seasons, I confess to having a slight preference for spring, since I'm a big fan of the cherry blossoms and the seasonal fruits. However, autumn is not far behind because it signifies the termination of the awful summer weather.

Some people have noted that both spring and autumn have seemingly been getting a bit shorter in recent years in Korea; they are asking if this could be related to global warming. I myself have noticed and perceived this, and I believe that they are correct. One must hope that the world leaders and governments will effectively reduce CO2, pollution, and other factors that are aggravating the global warming problem. It would be terrible if Korea came to have only two seasons instead of four.

In conclusion, the spring season in Korea has always been a special and meaningful time, and it is especially significant this year, given the harsh winter that the peninsula has recently experienced. Countless people, including myself, can hardly wait for spring to arrive.

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