September 15, 2010

umbrella situation...

Last Christmas I got a Canada flag umbrella from my parents, I can’t remember if it was a wrapped present or it was in my stocking. Either or, it really seemed like a strange present, before that point I’d never owned an umbrella. Sure, I’d borrowed them on occasion but I mostly ran through storms without the protection offered by one. I don’t know if that makes me some sort of rebel, does it?

A month and change later while I was packing in preparation for my adventure I made sure the maple leaf umbrella was nicely packed in my suitcase. Once I completed packing I weighed my suitcases to ensure I wouldn’t be embarrassed at the airport and have to sort through things there. Well, I’m sure you know where this story is going. My bag was too heavy, and one of the first items I took out of my bags was that umbrella. It’s not like it weighed enough to sway the scales, but that six ounce umbrella really didn’t dawn on me as a necessity. The three pairs of jeans I hadn’t worn in six months were much more important.

I now regret that decision, I still have not worn those jeans, and I have purchased 5 umbrellas since arriving in Seoul. The first umbrella I bought in Korea was stolen the same day I got it. I had another trampled on during a Korea World Cup game, I’ve also forgotten two in bars. It would appear that umbrellas and I have a troubled relationship rivaled only by my sandal affair in Thailand (4 pairs in a month).

The rainy season in Korea hasn't been that bad, until the last few weeks. All of my unfortunate losses have occured when i didn't really need an umbrella. This creates an umbrella situation for me. The rain here is so heavy that you would be soaked, head to toe, within 5 seconds. Although I've had a blast watching these storms. I fear my unfortunate luck will catch up with me and I will be left without an umbrella during a major storm. Not cool, I've had to walk through a couple storms without an umbrella here, and it's just sad. I look like a wet dog. I'm sure the Koreans who are walking around me laugh at me, (or salivating at the giant dog, I'm not sure). One thing is for sure though, they are always prepared. I can't imagine a Korean without an umbrella, I'll explain why.

If it was sunny a Korean would need to bring out their umbrella, they seem to hate the tanning effects of the sun (yes, they sell whittening cream here).  If it's snowing, or raining a Korean would also hold up their trusty umbrella. I think the later makes sense, precipitation is precipitation, I personally don't understand the sun need, but hey, different culture. The only type of weather Korean's don't have their umbrellas propped above their heads is cloudy weather. Cloudy weather however, presents its own problem. It depends what kind of cloud is in the sky. If they are think clouds that might produce rain or snow? an umbrella should be ready for an emergency. If they are thin clouds or clouds with gaps that allow the sun to break through, a Korean would have their umbrella prepared as evil gamma rays might rain down from the sky. In a nutshell Koreans ALWAYS have their umbrellas with them. If a Korean didn't didn't have their umbrella with them it would not be a situation, it would be an event.

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