Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Working in a Mokpo Winter

Galbijim gives Mokpo a winter temperature of -5℃ but to a foreigner who is living in Mokpo this simple statistic doesn't explain the whole story. North Americans and other westerners will probably bring an assumption to Mokpo that they will work within a heated (or aleast well insulated) work environment. That assumption is sorely misguided.

From a very unscientific survey of foreigners here it's clear that proper heat conservation is a concept foreign to Koreans. Windows are opened and promptly forgotten about. Taking off your coat is only done in the bathroom. And while your school does have heating it will only exists in certan locations, most notably not where they put you.

My office temperatures hovers around 3℃ and with my little space heater I can bump that temperature reading up to 7, maybe even 10 if I'm lucky and stand directly in front of it. But I am incapable of heating both feat on the ground and hands at the keyboard unless I curl up in a fetal position on the cold cement floor. Normally I would suck it up like I did during December, but these past couple of days have been brutal. For graduation week I was explicitly instructed to come to school despite having no classes to teach. I have nothing to do except 'prepare lessons' using facebook, gmail, and blogger.

Today my space heater was failing miserably. After a couple hours deciding which I value more, my toes or my fingers, I abandoned the space heater, my computer, and the general sad existence that is my office and headed to a known source of heat, the main staff room. There I found a little corner and started reading the book I normally save for the bus, subscribing to the illusion that I'm on call for any native speaker emergency that could rear its ugly head. Time passes and then I took it up a notch and broke out the Nintendo DS. This helped me get to lunch at which point I leave and don't come back.

End rant.

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