This morning I had a text from my co teacher.

Good morning!^^You can come to school until 09:40. Because it’s yellow sand.

Great!  So I got to come to school an hour late, but what’s that about yellow sand?  Some kind of riddle?  Sometimes they shorten the word for sandwich to sand, but that wasn’t clarifying anything.  I asked her:

really?! 9:40? ok 🙂 see u then.  what is yellow sand?

She replied:

yellow sand dust^^ look outside. see you soon

Oh, wait, I’d heard about this.  Yellow sand/dust, called 황사 (hwangsa) here in Korea and Asian Dust on Wikipedia, is when pollutant dust particles from the deforested deserts of China sweep across East Asia and give everyone a terrible headache.  There was a massive storm last night, and when I looked outside this morning, I thought there was some heavy fog – but my glasses weren’t on.  The fog was yellowy colored, but I was too tired to question it.  However, that’s the yellow sand in the air, and it gives people some mean headaches.  So, I had my first class canceled so that the weak, young, vulnerable elementary school students wouldn’t have to go outside until it cleared up.

This is where I point, laugh, and say: SUCK IT, middle school and high school teachers!  (especially those of you who had nothing to do during your precious midterms)

I don’t know if this picture was taken in Korea, but it’s kind of what it looked like this morning.  I just thought the sun was making it look yellow out.  Nope, just another thing we can blame China for.

Anyway, the funnier part of all of this is that all week I’ve been dreading going on a hiking trip with my co-teachers.  I don’t like hiking a lot, I’m a weakling and it’s intimidating with Koreans, who were born while their parents were hiking and then their parents put them in a North Face baby jacket and make them hike down to the hospital to cut the umbilical cord.  They love the mountains, they all have the gear, they just know what’s up, and I don’t.  성희, my coteacher, asked if I was a beach person or a mountain person.  I said beach, and she said she’s mountain.  But even she doesn’t want to go today!  I think from the yellow dust.  So she said, : “Kimmy, do you want to not hike today?”  I replied, “No, I don’t want to hike, but I will go if you are going.”  She said, “No, I don’t want to go anymore, let’s not go.”  SCORE!

And then 15 minutes later she said, “I think we have to go hiking.”

Sigh.  And after I gorged on food since I wasn’t worried anymore about hiking.  At least the kimchi was super sour and tasty today.

So if I show up at Club Foxy tomorrow to see Supreme Team and dance with you, please be conscious of my sore muscles and yellowed skin and lungs.  Because I’m getting a true initiation into Korean culture today: hiking Baekyeungsan (san means mountain) and breathing in the yellow dust.

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