In this post, I plan to compare and contrast the winter I’ve experienced so far in Korea with the ones I am used to from back home (I grew up in Michigan and lived in Chicago for the last three years before I came to Korea.)
First off, compared to what I’m used to, in some ways this is barely winter. Yes, it is cold and it does snow here. There have now been three snow falls of 5+ inches. The first two both melted within a few days, and the three is currently still falling. Just the fact that they melt that quickly is amazing to me because I am used to the snow staying on the ground pretty much until spring, since back home it rarely gets above freezing from December through at least the beginning of March. Yes, it is warmer here, though mostly it’s only a bit above freezing.
The big difference that actually annoys me a bit about Korea is how they heat (or more accurately, don’t heat) the buildings here. While most stores, restaurants, coffee shops etc. are nice and toasty, the bathrooms of these establishments are very rarely heated. Seriously, you walk into the bathroom and the temperature drops so much that you actually wish you had worn your coat and gloves in there. Also schools don’t heat all parts of the buildings. Usually only the rooms that are in use the most. I am basing this on my own experience with my school and reports from teachers at other schools. This seems to be the standard way of doing things. Now, I get that they want to save energy, and that the buildings were not built with central heating but it’s just annoying to walk out of a classroom and suddenly be freezing. So even though it’s actually warmer here, it seems colder in a way because I have to be cold for a bigger percentage of the day.
Okay, enough complaining. The coldest part of the winter is much shorter here than in Michigan and Chicago, so it’s already starting to warm up again.