Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In the Land of Morning COLD

Rumor has it that this is the coldest winter that Korea has had in 55 year. I can believe it, it’s freaking cold. As soon as fall hit a few months ago, and I realized it was pretty comparable to winter in San Francisco (which I used to complain about), the feeling of dread set in. When I heard that it could get down to negative temperatures, I couldn’t fully wrap my head around what that would mean in terms of physical sensations, but I knew it wouldn’t be good.

Seoul Weather Forecast

I’d only ever experienced snow when I’d driven for five hours to ride down it on a pair of skis. Now I walk out my front door, and there it is. Everywhere. Pretty, yes, sometimes. But then it gets all gray and slushy, or turns into black ice-blocks of death. Or, I’ll be teaching, and happen to glance out the window, and BOOM, blizzard (not really). “Are we even going to be able to leave? What if we get snowed-in?”

First Snowfall, Yeongtong

I remember the first time, a month or two ago, while walking to catch the bus, when I thought to myself, “so this is what they mean by ‘biting cold.’” It literally bites you, and it hurts. Who knew that air could be so painful? Not I. I’ve found that the best way to deal with it is to go outside as little as possible. I’m hibernating.
Doing anything seems like such an ordeal. First, you have to pile on layer upon layer of insulation until you feel like a snowman. Once outside, I keep my hands jammed deep in my jacket pockets and my eyes towards the ground, to avoid the icy patches, where one can easily slip and break themselves. Once safely inside, sheltered from the elements, the layers must come off again; scarf, jacket, gloves, second pair of socks...Repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s exhausting.
I realize that, coming from California, it’s probably good for me to experience real weather for the first time in my life. I mean, Santa Barbara barely even has seasons, and there is a something nice about watching your surroundings change every few months. But, can we move on to spring already??

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