“Being a teenager was like a storm because we didn’t have any answers. We didn’t know what we really wanted, who really loved us…who we really loved. We struggled with the answers. And by the time we’d miraculously figured it out, we had already become adults and experienced changes both big and small. That winter, the world was full of separations and goodbyes.”
A child of Busan, the slower, gentler life in the provinces is all Shi Won had known. With grades as low as hers, without an aptitude for the traditional kind of academics, no one expected her to leave. By a turn of events, she ends up turning her boyband fic writing hobby into a creative writing scholarship to a university in Seoul. It’s her dream come true. And for her parents, who’d long since given up hope of sending their daughter to university in Seoul, it’s both a blessing and a curse. When graduation rolls around, they must say their goodbyes as Shi Won heads off to the big city to find a life for herself.
It is in Seoul that she becomes an adult; she lives without the care of her parents, she studies. She graduates university and eventually goes to work in broadcasting. Though she clings to her roots as a Busan girl, refusing to adopt the Seoul dialect, she does not return to her hometown. Years down the road, she stays in Seoul even when her husband gets transferred to Daegu for work. They have children, they’ve built a life in Seoul. The city has become her home, and though she’ll never forget her origins, the separation of that winter had changed things irrevocably. It’s a byproduct of adulthood; homes become hometowns, parents become people you visit on holidays, though you love them all the same.
“Bumping into someone on the street, reaching for the same book at the library, or running under someone’s umbrella. I thought that falling in love would be special. I couldn’t imagine that I’d fall because of something like this. Spring of 1996, my first love began suddenly.”