Usually Christmas decorations are swept away as soon as the 26th hits, but Christmas still lingers in Seoul - trees, carols, Christmas themed merchandise -- they're all still around. Even though Christmas in the Motherland doesn't feel quite the same, I'm glad to see reminders of Christmas around town.
Even the buses are still celebrating Christmas. This weekend, Seong and I managed to catch one of those magical local route buses, charging throughout town, bedazzled with garland and lights (both inside and outside of the bus). As gaudy as they may be, these decorated buses make you feel special.
Though we've been working 6-7 days a week (We're done by 8:30, so it's not as bad as it sounds), we made the time to walk around Myeongdong, primarily to pick up winter accessories.
My memory's not so keen, but I swear, winter is MUCH colder this year. Or, maybe it's just the building...
The Hagwon is located in a newly built building, so the facilities are quite nice. It's just that the building was so poorly designed. First of all, the heater/air con is built into the ceiling. I don't remember much from my science classes, but I do know that heat rises. Heat doesn't fall down to short people like me. Secondly, the building is not well insulated. I can feel the cold air seeping in through the windows! We could complain to the building manager, but we're all a little afraid of him. He's like one of the bosses from a Korean gangster movie. We all decided to wear shawls instead.
Anyway, here are a few of my favorite winter accessories, essential to surviving a Korean winter (or a poorly insulated building).
1. Earmuffs (10,000 won). I don't know what I was thinking, but I left my earmuffs back in California. I picked up a new pair in Myeondong. I know they look rather silly, but they are very warm. It's strange that my ears are so sensitive to the cold, despite all my hair.
2) Finger-less gloves (10,000 won). There was a cheaper pair for 8,000, but I sprung for the thicker knit. I either wear these gloves under a pair of mittens or wear them while I'm typing away at the computer. They make feel like a cartoon bum, but I don't care. They're very effective.
3) (기모) Gimo Tights. I'm not sure what gimo means, but these tights are much warmer than an ordinary pair of tights. The tights are lined with cotton, similar to the lining in a pair of sweat pants. I know what you're thinking. Why don't I just put on a pair of pants? Firstly, jeans (even with the naebok) aren't that much warmer. Secondly, I prefer to wear skirts and dresses. Don't worry. I'm usually wearing boots when I head outdoors.
As much as I complain about the cold, I enjoy having a legitimate reason to wear such accessories.