I can't feel my toes
Trip Start Aug 25, 2012
17Trip End Feb 25, 2013
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The middle school that I work in has long hallways with great big windows that are always open. Always. The hallways are the exact same temperature as the air outside, which today is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The same goes for the bathroom... 45 degrees in the bathroom. No hot water. As for my English classroom, it does have a heater. This heater doesn't actually get turned on until I get to school in the morning so when I arrive I come into an icy cold room. So, if course I go into my room and crank the heat to the highest setting in an effort to make my room more bearable. Unfortunately it takes hours for my room to heat up properly, especially with the way the students behave. The students love to prop my classroom door open to let all of the cold air in, or they are happy to open the windows to yell at their friends in the court yard. I try to explain to them that they are quickly letting all the warm air out, but it falls on deaf ears. The students enjoy to rush in and out of my room over and over again and with every time they open the door, a little bit more of my precious warm air is lost. This makes my days long and tedious as I struggle to retain some of the warmth in my room.
The students and teachers spend their days wearing full winter jackets all the time. Many of the students carry little fleece blankets with them as well as the disposable hand warmer packs that are popular with hunters and campers in America. I have invested in long johns (but I have to get more) and fluffy socks in order to try to keep warm. I had absolutely no idea that I would spend my days trying to breathe warmth into my fingers while teacher students who are huddled in winter coats and blankets in my school.
Thankfully my apartment has ondol, which is under the floor heating. It is like a radiator, but under the entire floor. This isn't a bad system when you consider how hot air works and how Korea works. Heat rises, so starting at the floor isn't a bad way to distribute heat evenly through the entire room. Besides, a lot of Koreans spend a good amount of time sitting and sleeping on the floor, so wanting a warm floor does make sense. It does tend to get a bit expensive heating my tiny, shoe box of an apartment that way, but whatever. Also... the kitchen only has a bit of the floor that is heated and, of course, the bathroom is not heated at all. With heat from the rest of the apartment, the bathroom isn't as cold as it is outside, but it isn't all that warm either. So, this weekend is going to be another shopping trip for additional long underwear and fluffy socks to try to keep warm. It is going to get colder...