Thursday, August 21, 2014

The adventures of Mr. Bear

I'm back from travels in Korea and Hong Kong with my grandma and sister! There is lots to share and write about, but before I begin recounting my summer vacation I'd like to share the story of Mr. Bear.

A little bit of background knowledge is needed regarding trash removal in Korea before I introduce Mr. Bear. Trash and recyclables in Korea are collected outside of apartment buildings. There is a yellow bin for the yellow food waste bags, but trash bags aren't collected in any sort of container. They're thrown on the ground, where they remain until they're picked up by... I'm still not sure who or when.

There are various containers to sort your recyclables, but at my apartment sometimes the "container" bags are missing for days at a time. So trash and recyclables accumulate all around. Here's a photo of what the area looks like today at my apartment:


None of the recycling bags are there for people to sort their stuff, so it's just kind of a mess right now. Moral of the story is that it's not uncommon to see trash lying around on roadsides and sidewalks throughout the country.

And now I can begin. Some point between when the cold weather left and the hot summer arrived, Mr. Bear appeared on my street. He was sitting in the green weeds just outside of the donation receptacle.


Since I saw him every time I came and left the apartment, Mr. Bear became just another part of the surroundings. When it rained he got wet, and when the sun came out again he dried out.

One weekend the donation bins came up in conversation with Abby and Anne, so I sent the above picture to the girls to show what the bins look like. I didn't think twice about Mr. Bear being in the photo because, well, he's just always there.

But Abby and Anne made a comment about the poor, sad-looking teddy in the photo.

The next Monday morning Mr. Bear had taken a tumble! After sitting in the same spot for months, he was now on the curb side, so I snapped a pic to share with my friends - since we'd just talked about him days earlier.


On Tuesday morning I had to laugh when I saw Mr. Bear. He'd apparently had a rough night, as he was now on the opposite side of the street, face down - nearly planking a short post.

Too funny not to share, I took another photo of the giant teddy.


He was still there flat on his belly when I got home from work, but then on Wednesday he was back to his usual side of the street, though in a new location and position:


I began to check for Mr. Bear's whereabouts every morning and evening, taking note of any changes in positions or new items thrown across his body.


And then I left for nearly two weeks with my grandma and sister away from home. When I got back yesterday morning, I was a little sad to see Mr. Bear's spot vacant. He must have gotten picked up, finally.


Then on my way out of the house this morning, I happened to glance out of my hall's front-facing window before I started down the stairs.


Do you see that cream-colored blob?

Could it be?!


Mr. Bear remains on my street!

I have no idea how he ended up behind that wall, back in someone's garden/farm. Then again, I'm not sure how he's gotten to any of his past locations on the block.

This photo shows his current position in relation to the donation bin and street:


I wonder if anyone else has been observing Mr. Bear as closely as I have during the past two months. I almost hope someone has, since in just over a week I won't be here to watch him anymore.

Thanks for keeping me company, Mr. Bear, and for adding a little variety into my days.
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