A Difference in Perspective

Okay first off, so sorry guys that I missed yesterday’s post! I had it all ready and prepped and then fell asleep reading Dune instead. I even had a dream I was busily tapping away at my keyboard on WordPress which robbed me of any unconscious guilt I might have had for sleeping…eee.

Anyway, this will be a short anecdote from yesterday since I’m off to see Nanta, a Korean drumming/theatre performance, and I still need to clean my bathroom before heading to Seoul because I don’t want Andrea to faint with fright and disgust when she comes a-visiting afterwards.

So, as the spring rolls in over Korea, I’ve been wildly ecstatic. I’ve never experienced spring so early before – especially since last year we had snow squalls until late May. Or was it June?

Regardless, this is what I’m used to:

So when the thermometer hiked up to sweating temperatures yesterday, I was sweating and joyful.

I needed to head downtown to mail off my ballot and pick up some supplies, so I changed clothes as soon as I got home from work (jeans and sweater be damned!!) and went out in a tank top, cardigan, and shorts.

Now, Koreans are very anal about what skin you show where (no shoulders, chest or back – essentially, wear turtlenecks – though legs are fine), but I compromised with the cardigan and pulled my tank extra high to hide any unseemly cleavage.

I was waiting at the bus stop, lost in thought, when an old ajumma came up behind me and grabbed my arm. My first thought was terror, of course, but my second instinct was that she was unhappy that my shirt was too low. I pulled it up farther still.

But then I saw she was pointing at my legs.

Intuition (and slight comprehension of a little Korean) told me she was flabbergasted at the bareness of my legs.

“Aren’t you cold??” she was asking.

I laughed. “No, no, I’m Canadian,” I told her (in Korean).

She missed my joke and assumed I hadn’t understood her. “No stocking-geu??”

She turned to the other women standing at the bus stop. “She’s not wearing any stockings! She must be crazy!”

The other women laughed and threw in their comments, but the woman had started to back away from me slowly, wide-eyed and appalled.

“Aren’t you cold?!” she asked me one last time.

“No, I’m Canadian,” I told her, still chuckling. “Hot, hot,” I said, and fanned myself.

She shook her head, and turned away on her path. The other women and I exchanged glances and snickers. I don’t know if they were sharing in the humour of the ajumma or my own stupidity of wardrobe.

But at that point, I was curious: maybe I really was just insane for dressing the way I was – maybe it was much colder than I thought. But it really did seem that hot. I checked the weather.

It was 25C.

Well, damn, I thought. It really is Canadian summer right now.

…Which of course makes me really concerned: if this is cold…what is Korean summer like when it’s hot?

6 thoughts on “A Difference in Perspective

  1. Aren’t I glad I visited in winter! Although I’m sure Hong Kong summers could possibly be worse… And if it was 25C, how is it that Andrea is wearing a thick ass sweater in the bird post??


    1. It had cooled down that day and there was quite the breeze thank god.

      But it’s being called by locals “unseasonably warm” for the time of year….meaning it’ll probably be a devastating summer nonetheless…scary to think…


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