Monday, April 17, 2017
Not enough time has passed for me to stop comparing life at home to life in Korea. One of my favorite pastimes was escaping my tiny apartment and traveling by subway to one of the many lush parks of Seoul. This often saved me from the crushing weight of the Sunday blues or Hongdae hangovers. Rather than drowning my sorrows and lining my stomach with a comforting bowl of cheese ramyeon, I basked in the sun with dear friends and cemented a bond that was destined to be ripped apart when we all left Seoul for our next adventures.
Brian and I have been going out to parks in Denver every Sunday since adopting our dog in January. Today we took Kiki to the groomers for the second time since adopting her and weren't planning for a day at the park. Luckily for us, two friends from Seoul have also moved to Denver and recall days spent at the park with the same amount of fondness as I do. They invited us to the same park that we went to last weekend, which also happens to be a ten minute walk from our house. With a grand pavilion, vast green grass, and those blue Colorado skies, Cheesman Park has become my favorite Sunday place and another reason why we desperately want to stay in this neighborhood.
We usually tie Kiki up with a paracord and let her chase her squeaky tennis ball. After a long day at the groomers, she wasn't as excited or energetic as she normally is. However, our friends from Seoul were enchanted with her as always. We're very happy to provide them with vicarious pet ownership. We sat in our little spot in the shade until I could no longer keep my eyes open. Last night we made a failed attempt to attend a midnight madness viewing of a Studio Ghibli film at the Esquire Theater. We weren't able to make it to the end of the film, but it was still late enough to leave my eyes drooping today -- not unlike the certain magical features of the tanuki in Pom Poko.
The park was filled with dogs, frisbees, volleyballs, hammocks, picnics, park games, and camp chairs. The people next to us were slapping a frisbee thrown by a teammate into a plastic bucket. Some of them were also bouncing a ball back and forth on a trampoline with their hands. I have no idea what games they were playing, but it looked like a good time. While it was nowhere near as crowded as the Han River Park on a summer day, there were enough people to create the cheery park atmosphere that I crave. I plan on spending as much time there as I can this summer. There's not a convenience store nearby or silk worm larvae roasting and for sale on the sidewalk, but there is that Colorado sky. Although I still often point out the differences between living in Seoul and living in Denver, I find myself once again escaping a tiny apartment and fending off the Sunday blues with good friends and acres of grass.