Ulsan is cold these days. For tomorrow, they’ve predicted a high of 6C (that’s 42F for all you non-metric types). It might not even get that “warm.” There was ice in the water lily pots this morning.
And yet, we are inexplicably not allowed to turn the heat on at school until December. I wouldn’t mind (so much) if there was a reasonable, logical explanation but everyone just scratches their heads, hunkers down into their parkas, and shrugs. It’s a mystery.
It’s not bad in class. 30 small squirming, twitching, jumping, farting, coughing, giggling, poking children have a way of heating up a classroom in no time. It’s after school, when I’m sitting in the staffroom that I begin the slow and painful transition from human to ice cube.
My co-workers have interesting ways of dealing with the decided lack of heat. Nobody ever takes their coats off. Ever. The window blinds are kept lowered, which supposedly stops the drafts (the staffroom windows don’t close properly) but actually serves to make the staffroom dark AND cold.
Most of my co-workers have one of these electric seat warmers, turning the staffroom floor into a treacherous tangle of wires and extension cords.
I decided to stick with the “rubber husband” I brought with me from Canada.
I’ve also invested in large quantities of long underwear. It’s shiny and stretchy, and I feel like a superhero when I wear it!
Let me tell you what I’m wearing today: long johns, a long underwear shirt, 2 pairs of wool socks, jeans, a wool turtleneck, a wool cardigan and a fleece, zipped up. Then when I’m at my desk, I have my hot water bottle, and a blanket. I look like the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man’s Grandma.
I also drink a lot of hot tea. This adds another element of fun to my day – urinating in a child-sized squat toilet while wearing enough clothing to dress a family of 15 is a challenge. I also tend to wait until my eyeballs are floating because the bathroom is freezing, and I dislike exposing my delicate nether regions to the icy Arctic winds that blast through the permanently open bathroom windows.
On Monday morning, when the heat gets turned on, I have high hopes of seeing hula dancers and gently swaying palm trees in the staffroom. A girl can dream right? 🙂