brrrrrrr!!

16Dec08

Local Weather Conditions: 1° C (34° F)

This morning I walked into my school to find that it actually feels colder inside than it does outside. I had to laugh at this, though it wasn’t the most sincere laugh I’ve ever voiced.

Maehyang, like some other schools in Korea, has no central heating system. Instead, each classroom is equipped with free-standing corner units that emit little puffs of hot air. Equipped, though, may not the proper word to use, because it implies they’re actually effective, which they’re not. These units, which feel more like prehistoric campfires than modern-day heating appliances, take ages to get working and, when they finally do, struggle to heat any space beyond an immediate five-foot radius. To make matters worse, teachers must turn these units off in between classes in order to cut heating costs. In this way, classrooms never seem to retain any of the heat that is generated throughout the day. Just as the room is beginning to feel tolerable, class is over and so is any mild degree of comfort.

Worse than the classrooms are the hallways and atriums, which are left completely unheated. In these spaces all of the doors and windows are left wide open, inviting the frigid air to rush in, in violent gusts. My jaw dropped the first time I saw that even in below-freezing conditions, the school’s front doors were positioned just as they were in Suwon’s sweltering late summer months. “Are you serious?!” I thought.

But apparently they are. And so I teach class in my coat and scarf, take regular typing breaks to warm my stiff, frozen fingers, and spend literally half my day longing for my apartment’s cozy heated flooring.

Such is winter in Korea.

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2 Responses to “brrrrrrr!!”

  1. 1 Mom

    Your school sounds like the stable in Bethlehem!

    Sending you warm and cozy thoughts for a warm and cozy day!

    Love mom

  2. 2 Stephanie

    Hopefully winter is short in Korea! :/


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