Friday, January 09, 2015

pig in a blanket

My yeogwan is freezing. The ajumma and ajeossi who run the place have put on the ondol (heated floor), but only stingily. The floor itself feels ever so slightly warm, but the air is cold. Not quite cold enough that I can see my breath, but cold enough that it leaves my fingertips frigid. So I sit on my bed and wrap myself in my two blankets, because that's the only way I can keep warm. Even my electric blanket, which I had worried was going to kill me one day, is now no longer working properly. It's currently producing a tiny bit of warmth in the very center, where my body normally lies, but it's stone-cold dead everywhere else.

So, assuming I get paid today (Friday), I'm going to go out and buy myself an oil-based radiator-style electric heater. I don't want to be charged extra by the ajumma and ajeossi for gas usage with the ondol, and having such a heater will be a good investment for later on, when I get an apartment: electricity is so much cheaper, in Korea, than gas.

This is what it's like to be poor. True, I've got about a thousand bucks in the bank right now, with another three thousand coming in about a week, but I can't touch two-thirds of that money. I'll be using the remaining thousand to buy the aforementioned heater and to treat myself to a brief trip down to Yeosu for four nights. Would love to jaunt over to Europe, but it's going to be a few years before I can do that. Meanwhile, as Koreans often envision themselves doing—even now, despite their prosperity—I endure.


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