Monthly Archives: May 2011

Enjoy the trees

First fig growing I live in front of a mountain, and there are some fig trees. When I walk around, in spring and autumn, I can enjoy the fragrance they blow in the air. Actually, fig trees’ smell is neither strong nor delicious. But the subtle smell reminds me, somehow, of my childhood, and a good reason to live.

When I was child, I used to play in my grandfather’s backyard, where there were two fig trees and some palm trees. My grandfather was a self-taught, that learned several languages, maths, physics, etc from books, in a time without internet and libraries. He used to teach me a lot of things. And I remember one day, he said: “I learned a lot, and I wish there was a way to put all this knowledge in your brain, even if I die just after the process”.

Some years later, I was the one who wish there was a way to give my young body to him. He got cancer, and little by little his body and mind turned off. One day, he barely could move away from bed, and thought about suicide. He told me: “I can’t enjoy the trees any more, I can’t go to the country side, I can’t go outside…”. Luckily, for the family and him, he passed away just some days later.

Perhaps the most important life lesson he taught me was just: enjoy the trees. Like the subtle smell of the fig trees. Or seeing how the branches change when I walk around a tree. Or listening to my cousin, gardener, explaining me how my fig tree is developing new branches in some places, to balance the weight of the main trunk.

Nature is wonderful, as life is.

Korea again, some green ideas

Another trip to Korea. This time I used my Easter holidays, and a kind host invitation of a Korean friend, to travel again to the land of kimchi. I stayed 9 days in Seoul, but this time just to enjoy the city and the friends, instead of studying Go and working during the mornings.

I’m starting to think that Seoul is one of my favourite cities. Actually, regarding Flickr’s statistics, I have already more pictures of Seoul than Barcelona, despite I’ve been living in Seoul just 2 months, and 6 years in Barcelona. Some months ago I started to think about moving to another city, and this one can be a great candidate. Actually, if you join a Korean language course in any university of Seoul, they arrange all that you need: house, visa, etc. So I could go there, work in the mornings and learn Korean in the evenings.

But today I just want to write about some nice ecological ideas I saw in Seoul:

Supermarkets have old boxes for free. Next to the exit of the supermarkets, they leave all those original boxes that were used to carry the products from distributors to the supermarket. So buyers can re-use those boxes, for free. There is even adhesive tape for free. It’s the best 2nd R (of the 3 “R” about recycling) I’ve seen in long time.
The public transportation is really efficient. The subway and bus are not the cheapest I’ve seen, but the transportation grid is pretty impressive: lots of subway and bus lines, that take you to any place around the city. Of course, the city suffers of traffic jams, but if you know that all trains and buses have WiFi, will you take the car often?
People really care about recycling. I hate watching my neighbours in Barcelona throwing big bags of trash, without doing any recycling at all. In Seoul all people does recycling, young but also old people. Depending the neighbourhood, sometimes the laws about it are really restrictive, for example, you can’t throw any plastic bag into the organic container (thing that makes sense). The sometimes sad thing is that old people, who don’t get enough pension money, use to collect and carry old boxes for getting some money when recycling.
The city is covered with nice mountains. In Barcelona I live close to Montjuïc, but I feel this mountain has too much concrete. In Seoul mountains are real mountains, where you can get lost. They really keep those natural spaces!

Of course, that doesn’t mean Seoul is a green city. It’s not really bicycle friendly, for example. But some ideas are interesting enough to try to import.