What do you treasure? Some people treasure a music box. Others treasure their diaries. Still others treasure old books. My literature teacher treasures his family Bible and a milk pitcher that reminds him of his father’s childhood.
Everyone has some kind of thing that he or she treasures. Usually it is something that reminds them of specific things. Whether it may be their ancestors, their values, or their childhood, they wish to keep it with them for their entire life. That’s because they know that sometimes, the average piece of junk can be more valuable than anything.
Since when I was very young, I had things that I treasured. Unlike other kids, I had always loved nature. All the buildings of my elementary school were surrounded in a beautiful garden. At the beginning of every year I would see green points sprouting out of the ground, and sometimes I climbed up trees and made attempts to pick an apricot, which I always failed to do. I found a tree with its two big branches overlapped, and I enjoyed the sunshine and the flowers on the tree, lying on it all recess.
There was this pond, too, where a number of plants including cattails, reeds, maple trees, and grass grew. In the summer I climbed up a mound surrounding the pond and jumped from it, excited by the short moments of levitation. In the winter I skated on the frozen pond with boots damp from snowball fights.
I just couldn't suppress my love for nature, even when it affected my schedule. When I was in first grade, I wasn't used to distinguishing between recess time and class time. As soon as recess started I jumped out of the classroom, and I gathered some flower petals and blades of lime-green grass that I loved. I then darted to a rock mound and put them between two big rocks, and blocked the gap with a stone. I called this place my “treasure chest.” Several friends joined in, too, in this small game that I had invented. But this game only got me in trouble when I was late for class every period. My mom even had to buy me a watch. However, I so cherished my “treasure chest” that I didn't even mind going to the restroom.
That winter I had given up that weird but cute habit. I had found something even more beautiful. In the school garden there was a rock with a round hole on the top of it. It had just rained, so the rock held the rainwater like a water bowl. The scene so splendidly matched with the maple trees and persimmon trees surrounding it. I plucked some leaves from maple trees, persimmon trees, and box trees around the rock and softly placed the leaves on the rainwater. I was amazed by the beauty. A photographer could really make a work of art out of it. I did this every day.
And this one day was very cold. I was just passing by the rock when I noticed a wonderful change. The transparent ice contained an artwork of red and orange leaves hidden in its depths. I would never forget that mystical world the ice seemed to contain. And the next time I visit my elementary school again, that rock would surely be the first thing I would want to see.
Nature has been my treasure even after the graduation from my beautiful elementary school. During vacations, I visited the “Seori-grass Citizens’ Park” with Dad for a long walk. The scent of the forest air and the crunching of dry leaves below my feet have always charmed me. I’m currently planning to go to Joongmi National Park, which is near my school. I have been there once and a kind forest guide led my family through the trees, showing us traces of woodpeckers and insects and telling us how wise the trees are.
Nature has also been part of the reason why I decided to study in CheongShim International Middle School. Every day I go to school breathing in scents of fresh leaves, and sometimes during lunchtime I walk on the damp grass of our school field. Nature is found all around us, if we look carefully, and yet, it will be my special treasure for my lifetime.
All people treasure good food, too.
There are many restaurants in my neighborhood, since it has many apartment buildings. They are of many kinds, Korean, Italian, and Chinese. There are so many that my family has difficulty choosing where to eat out. But there’s a small restaurant under a parking lot. Its name is “House.” I really love House. House has been my favorite restaurant ever since I first visited there.
To reach House you have to go down a long line of slippery, dark-orange stairs. If you turn left at the end of the stairs, there is a small, yellow, and rusty gate. It has a cute chef figurine on it, always smiling. This yellow gate and figurine makes me feel as if I’m entering the small world of House. As you open the heavy khaki door, a low-sounding cowbell will greet you. A happy feeling fills you on the way to House, even before you see just how wonderful it is.
House has walls made of bricks, the color of Chic-Choc cookies. Seen from the location of the door, there’s a counter on the left, the basket on it full of colorful candies. There’s a kitchen that smells of freshly baked bread on the far left. There’s a party room with yellow lights brighter than the others, a long line of dark-brown tables and light-brown chairs on the front left. The party room is surrounded by a top glass pane, bottom brick wall. The ordinary tables are cleaned neatly, with cushioned chairs and heavy brown tables. Behind the party room there’s a plush sofa where friends can gather to watch TV. On the passageway between the sofa and kitchen, there is a small blackboard on which little kids can draw with chalk. The slightly dim lighting and the waiter in a casual green T-shirt and a light brown apron give a friendly feeling. The small candle lantern that the waiter always puts in front of me is also charming.
House is always full of the scent of wonderful meals. When you order the food, loaves of warm bread come out in a soft basket. The smell is so good and it feels moist and soft at the touch. I save it until my goulash spaghetti comes out. It has a dark red sauce and has a cute green herb on the top. It comes out in a white, flat china bowl with handles. As the waiter brings it to me, the slightly oily smell of goulash sauce floods into my nose.
The pasta has very much sauce absorbed in it. I can feel it melting in my mouth. Often, I pick up the “saved” bread in front of me, plunge it in the red sauce, and take a bite. The goulash and soft bread mix to make a fantastic taste. After I finish the pasta, I pick up my big spoon and scrape the goulash to finish the meal. It is always slightly oily with a tomato taste. I just love House’s goulash spaghetti.
The ambiance and the food are perfect, with a calm, warm feeling. I loved House more than any restaurant. I even went there four times a week sometime. But sadly, House’s owner changed recently and I cannot taste the same food now. I only wish that I could find the chef of the former House somewhere else.
There are many other things that I love and cherish, like the smell of paper, the swish of pencils, and the tick of clocks. I like the sky and the stars. I like keeping diaries, although it’s hard to write every day. I like reading good magazine articles and debating with other students. I like the animation characters Wallace and Gromit. Like many other tired, worn-out Korean students, I love bedtime too.
The treasures I cherish always fill my life with sweet scents. Many people’s unique scents are being blown out in modernized and busy schedules, but if they cling to them, I’m sure everyone will keep their own treasures. If I want to write, I can always get a pencil and a piece of paper to write with. If I want to see the stars, I can always go out. Success lasts for only a lifetime, but your life’s sweet scent lives on and on. When everyone tries to keep a seedling of his or her treasures alive, the world will soon become a big, green forest of trees that live on and let future generations stroll in it. It gives meaning and energy to one’s life. Everyone should continue their treasure hunt.