How can you blame a place for being so balanced in their weather? Here, there are plenty of open spaces: pocket gardens, parks, big paved area just for bikes, sidewalks that are as wide as the roads beside them. The cold should make you move faster and farther, and the city provides a space for it. But when you only have a choice of scorching hot and depressing flood, you have nothing but alleyways and puddles. The weekend here is different from the weekend there: a typhoon is currently ruining everyone’s plans and cancelling all flights.
All these thoughts were occupying my mind. But as I was staring behind the big mall window at the expanse outside, I saw a hill full of trees starting to color themselves like fall. It was scarred by cement stairs in the middle. There were lots of these kinds of stairs anyway. I finished lunch and headed outside. I crossed from the train station area to the foot of the stairs. I thought I will be running out of breath, but I managed to get to the topmost part. I can see the oblong shape of the terminal station roof, and hundreds and hundreds of rooftops. But instead of noise, I hear quiet, not even rustling of leaves.
At the top, I saw nothing. I thought it was a park, but beyond the colored tiles was a street surrounded by empty lots. It was a subdivision about to begin, ready for house construction. I saw how the water piping was laid out: brown ribbed PVCs looking like post-fallout earthworms digging on the ashen soil. There were also blocks of cement that looked like tunnels. I thought they were soon to be extensions of the train line, but I remembered they resemble basement parking lots of two-story houses which I always see when I pass by other subdivisions built upon a hill. I remember where our house was built. It was also on a hill, but I did not see everything else being built. I just see how the subdivision grows old: cracks and potholes on streets, humps being built and rebuilt.
Also, it feels like it’s such a privilege to walk. Below the stoplight is a button that you need to push if you want to cross. It only takes a minute or less, and all the cars on Route 163 will suddenly stop for you to walk three meters. It’s like it’s an added responsibility or burden to even own a car.
I am always thrilled to use my phone. I see my average walking and running distance shoot up every time I walk these lengths. The day after we arrived at the end of September, I saw the graph go as high as 12 kilometers. I can never do that in the ‘wide’ expanse of my previous university, that although it is actually wide, walking under humidity or impending sunburn is not such a great idea.