Archive for the 'weather' Category

*shiver*

Know how I keep mentioning that despite the fact that it’s not really much colder here than Massachusetts is, that it feels MUCH colder?

Well, I finally found a weather forecast for Jindo, and now I know I’m not just being wimpy.

  • Actual Temperature (as of right now, 6pm):  24˚F (-4˚C)
  • “Real Feel” Temperature:  -4˚F (-20˚C)

It’s the same temperature now that it was when I drove to work this morning.  Yes, I drove my motorcycle, for 20 minutes, in a perceived temperature of -4 (-20C), and that’s WITHOUT the windchill of being on a motorcycle at 45mph (70kmh).

This country is officially cold, and I am officially nuts.

By the time I go out to dinner tonight, the predicted temp is 8˚F (-13˚C), with a “real feel” of -22˚F (-30˚C).

The up-side is that if I feel warm in my German WWII parka in this (which I do, with a sweater on underneath), I will be *fine* at the reenactment in Pennsylvania in February.

The Human Popsicle

Oh my god. That was the coldest I’ve ever been in my life, I think.

I drove my motorcycle to school in this:

snowday-2

(that’s actually yesterday’s snow, but today was the same, possibly even harder) 

My WWII German parka got its trial-by-fire, and by the time I got to school, the formerly gray parka was completely white in front. Snow was plastered to my entire front, and I had to wipe off the front of my facemask every 5 seconds. I wish I had a photo, I must have looked hilarious.

In my defense, it wasn’t snowing until about 5 minutes into my 20 minute drive, so I had no idea.  I would not normally drive a bike in conditions like that.

Even wearing two pair of dense wool socks as gloves while I was driving, my fingertips still hurt, after 10 minutes in a heated room.

Here’s a video of the snow.  It’s choppy, but you’ll get a basic idea:

A little chilly…

For for those of you unaware, Korea is actually rather cold.  It is also very hot in the summer, but the winters here range from cold to bitterly cold.  The warmest uniforms the US Army has ever produced are those that they made for the Korean War, including a fur-lined parka (which you can see a friend of mine modeling at a Korean War demonstration at a museum if you click here), which should tell you something.  Korea gets wind that sweeps down from the steppes of Siberia, and it is a very dry, harsh cold.  It has been getting progressively colder here, but mid-last week we had another wind storm (which usually foretell a temperature shift) and it has not gotten above about 60F (15C) here since, and most days are around 55F (12C), with a low around 40F (.  Jindo is one of the warmest areas of Korea (I think Jeju island beats us, but that’s about it), but it is still quite cold.  It doesn’t help that Jindo is, well, an island, and as such the air is quite damp, which makes it feel colder.

Seeing as that I ride what I have nicknamed a “scootercycle” to my schools, I have to wear even more layers than normal, on my way to school.  But, even for just wandering around town, I still bundle up quite a bit.  For anyone curious, here’s what I wear on an average evening, these days:

On top I am wearing a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, a twill jacket, and a quilted vest. I really need to get some gloves soon.

Changing Winds

Yesterday, the winds shifted, and autumn has officially arrived.

At some point in the year, the winds in Korea shift from being from the west, originating in Manchuria, to being from the north, originating in Siberia.  This air, brought in by the Siberian winds from the steppes of Russia, has a very different quality.  Not only is it markedly chilly (duh…), but it is also clearer, cleaner, and very windy.  Usually this shift happens very quickly, but here in Jindo, it took one night.  On Thursday, it was hot.  That night, we had a HUGE windstorm strong enough to knock over several motorcycles (not mine, thankfully), and on Friday morning I woke up to chilly (upper 50s) air that I can only describe as smelling like autumn.  It’s not quite the same smell as New England, but it has similar notes of rotting leaves and turned earth, and it has that crispness that only comes in autumn.  It’s about as close as I can get to being back at home, and I’ll take what I can get.

The quality of the light is also different.  It’s more intense, in a way.  During most of my time here, the light is very diffuse.  It’s sunny, but there’s a lot of haze at high altitude, and so while it is very bright, it is sometimes difficult to even locate the sun in the sky.  As of yesterday, the skies have had distinct clouds, and the sky above them is a deep blue.  The sun that shines gives off an almost white light, except in the evening, when it becomes a deep yellow.  It makes far more of a difference in how Jindo looks than one would think.

I have been really missing New England of late, and I find that this recent shift of weather has helped with that considerably.  The only downside is that it does signal that Korea’s famously bitter winter will begin soon.

Excuse me while I die…

The heat index here today is 107˚F (about 42˚C).  It’s 95˚ with 82% humidity and no wind whatsoever.

I seriously thought I was going to pass out on the 15 minute walk over here this afternoon, carrying my camera (it’s an SLR, so it’s heavy) and laptop in my bag.

Thank god I am moving to an air conditioned place starting today.  My fan is in my livingroom/bedroom, and this afternoon, I started sweating in the amount of time it took me to go to the bathroom.  That, my friends, is too hot.

Update

Sorry for taking so long, but I’ve been working and I don’t have reliable internet yet.

My first few days here were hard.  The culture shock was pretty heavy, even for me.  I have traveled a lot, but Asia is, well, non-Western, and it’s a much bigger shock than I had anticipated.  At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it here, but the place is growing on me.  So, take some of the negative things I said at the beginning with a grain of salt.  It was more frustration than anything, I think.

In other news, I’m able to eat more western food than I thought I would, here.  I found yogurt, so in the morning I have yogurt, sausage patties, and eggs.  It’s a bit protein-heavy, but I get tired during the day.  My students are very tiring, as they are quite ill-behaved.  Korean food is mostly carbs and vegetables, with a small amount of pork or fish as a side dish.  It’s good, but not very conducive to keeping me awake.

In other news, it’s almost June and I just turned on my heat.   It gets down to about 55-60 at night (last night my thermometer said 14˚C).  Before this, I had slept with my windows open, to allow some air circulation, but 60 is a bit chilly for that.  Unfortunately, the heating is done through water pipes in the floor.  While it’s very nice when you’re sitting on the floor, or walking/standing, it takes awhile to dissipate into the air.  I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually.  One thing that I’m having trouble with is remembering to turn on the water heater in the morning.  You see, when you have the heat on, it’s *on*, kind of how a stove is on until you turn it off.  It doesn’t turn off when things get warm (well, the floor heat does, but not the water), so if you’re not careful, you’ll go through heating oil pretty fast.  So, if you’re not using hot water, you turn the heater off.  But, it takes about 10-15 minutes to get up to temperature, once turned on, so you have to plan your showers accordingly.  All but this morning I have forgotten to turn it on.  Sometimes I get in the bathroom, turn the water on, and then stand there for three or four minutes before remembering why it’s not hot yet.  I have made myself a note, that I have taped to the door between the main room, where my bed is, and the rest of the apartment (the kitchen, bathroom, entryway, small second room).  I keep that door closed at night, to limit the sounds from the rest of the apartment (pipes, etc), so in the morning, it’s the first thing I see.  My morning routine is such:

 

  • 1. Boil water.  Since the water is not generally good to drink here, I boil a pot of water in the morning and put it in the fridge.  I use that to brush my teeth, wash my face, etc.  I use bottled water to drink
  • 2. Turn on hot water.
  • 3. Put boiled water in fridge.
  • 4. Turn off stove gas line.  (I also have a note about this on my door.  I’m so worried about leaving the apartment with the gas on.)
  • 5. Turn off hot water.

 

Sometime today I’ll do a video walkthrough of my apartment, and stick it up in the podcast section.  My apartment isn’t bad, but it certainly has “character”.

 


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