Dust blanket : Citizens wearing masks look down at central Seoul from Mt.Namsan Monday amid thick yellow dust blanketing the whole city. The yellow dust storm arose from the Mongolian desert and arrived in the southern part of the country Saturday and began to affect the capital, Monday. The Korea Meteorological Administration issued a primary yellow dust alert nationwide and advised people to refrain from going outside, or to wear masks to prevent dust particles from negatively affecting their health. / Korea Times Photo by Wang Tae-seog
1. The annual Yellow Dust has arrived in Korea. Every year, gobs of pollution is given straight to South Korea and Japan, a gift from China and Mongolia via the Gobi Desert in the form of dirty yellow air. Last year, we only had one or two really bad days, where it looked a little like Armageddon out there. So hopefully it won’t be any worse this year. Tuesday was the first day that the skies turned ochre in Gwangju, and the yellow fog only lasted about half the day. But I’ve got a mask and am ready this year! Bring it on!
2. I taught my students “Hump Day” today, which thoroughly confused about 95 percent of them. The other 5 percent are the lucky ones who DON’T go to extra schools on Saturday and Sunday.
3. After school I went to transfer more money home. While the exchange rate is a tiny sliver of a hair better, it still S.U.C.K.S. Good news, the bank people know me so well from my monthly U.S. transfers that I don’t even need to show my passport anymore.
4. After transferring money home, I had to go get our phone fixed. Apparently, we are too rough with plugging in the charger. Translation: the phone S.U.C.K.S. or so my co-teacher explained. My excellent Korean-speaking co-teacher could not go with me to get it fixed so she sent me away with two post-it notes–one saying the address of the phone-fix-it place and the other saying “Please fix my broken phone” in Korean to give to them once I got there. I accidentally switched them while getting in a cab and, for once, the driver did not tease me or even laugh when he handed back the note and tried to explain in Korean that he did not know how to fix my phone. Once at the phone-fix-it place, the fix-it man literally exhausted himself trying to explain the problem. You would think the phone was going to electrocute me the way he warned me with charades about how not to plug in the charger. I. Get. It. (Note to all you Americans out there: Next time you find yourself with a non-English-speaking person, just remember, they’re not stupid. They just don’t speak the same language as you.)
5. After leaving the phone-fix-it place, I walked into a small market next door to buy a large coke. A woman chased me down the aisle. What in the world now, I thought. But then, I saw, it was the mother of one of my students. It was her store. Her home, she said. And I walked out with a free very large cola.