Cold and snow

My wife and I have booked a month’s holiday in South Korea from the end of December to the end of January, long overdue from our original plan of September 2020. I have been keeping an eye on weather forecasts, but it’s really too far away to be sure of anything. One website gave a forecast of 66 mm of snow on New Year’s Day, revised the next day to 4.9 mm, then the day after that to sunny but cold. But we can be sure that it will be cold (especially in contrast to our (rather mild (so far)) summer in Sydney and that it will snow.

I’m reminded of two incidents involving cold and snow during my first stay in South Korea (2006-09), which I haven’t told here yet. Possibly during my first winter there, I left for work dressed in black shoes, black trousers, a black jacket, a black and brown scarf wrapped up to the bottom of my glasses and a black beanie, so all that was visible was my glasses. I got in the lift, it stopped several floors down and a young Korean woman got in. She took one look at me and stood as close as she could to the opposite corner. I moved as far as I could into my corner and tried to look non-threatening. We got to the ground floor, the door opened and I allowed her a good head start.

During my second winter, my hagwon owner/director asked me to teach a conversation class for TOEIC students. TOEIC notoriously focuses on grammar, reading and writing (and maybe prepared listening and speaking), but leaves students under-skilled in actual conversation. One day it snowed, so I asked the students if they liked snow. 

One student: (very long pause) … No …
Me: I don’t like snow because … why don’t you like snow?
Student: (very long pause) … Military …
Me: I don’t like snow because when I was in the military … what did you do?
Student: (very long pause) … Shovel …
Me: I don’t like snow because when I was in the military, I had to shovel snow.

That’s not much conversation, but an awful lot of communication.


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