It has been awhile since I've posted anything specific about life in Korea. What with working full time, taking tons of pictures on the weekend, and trying to share my trip to Indonesia, there just hasn't been time. Yes, I still have lots of pictures of random weekend ventures. And, no, I'm not quite done sharing my mission trip story. But, recently we've been affected by something specific to Korea, so I figured I would share it while it's timely.
Ever since we arrived, people have been telling us what the weather is/will be throughout the year. They told us about the rainy season that we arrived in the middle of. They attempted to prepare us for the frigid temperatures through the winter. They warned us that it wouldn't get very warm (possibly) until it was time to leave for the summer. And, they told us about the yellow dust.
When people said that there are "yellow dust storms", I was picturing a desert-type sand storm. Literal yellow sand flying through the air. Thankfully, I have not witnessed that. To be honest, I hadn't really given too much thought to it in spite of the fact that it is the season for yellow dust. Until this week.
This week, the sun has been shining and it's been much warmer than we're used to for this time of year. Now that I'm back to half time, I've started walking home. On my walks I've noticed a lot of people wearing masks. That happens any time of the year, so I haven't thought too much of it. But, I also still have this lingering cold. Combine that with the fact that the stairs and hills I climb are steep, and I spend much of my walk with my mouth open. I know, gross. Suddenly, I notice the Koreans wearing their masks, and I think: hmmm...that's not a bad idea!
Of course, on my walks I've also been noticing whether or not I can see anything on the horizon. It's hard to believe how little you can see some days in this pollution-ridden city. Sometimes, I actually think it is fairly clear, and then I take a picture. The photo reveals how the thick the pollution really is even when it's relatively clear.
Then, the other day I read this article about yellow dust. That's when I realized that it's here whether I can see it or not. There's a good chance that yellow dust is what caused the kids' pink eye. There's a good chance that yellow dust is the reason that my cold has lasted more than two weeks. It's pretty much guaranteed that yellow dust is the reason that my eyes feel gritty and the reason my students keep complaining of itchy eyes.
Now that I'm more aware of it, I see the affects everywhere. I can walk by a car in the parking lot and see the yellow film over it:
Yellow dust is the reason that we watched our neighbor fill a bucket on the sidewalk from her 2nd floor apartment with the hose out the window so that she could wash her car. The kids really enjoyed that! And yellow dust is the reason that we were house-bound for most of the last week.
I have so many random pictures that I haven't posted. These are my "365 Rejects"--the photos that just didn't make the first cut over the last few months.