Thursday, August 19, 2010

Surviving August

I have been surviving a hot and sweaty August, and it is thanks to my little swamp cooler. It runs on my coke bottles that I fill with water and put in the freezer and then I put one or two in the swamp cooler instead of ice water which would increase the humidity. A few times, I thought it was cool outside as it was cool inside and when I went outside to walk to the bus stop I thought I would melt. Before the cooler, I would take at least three cold showers a day. Now, things are normal as far as the showers are concerned. It is still a bit warm but I am not sweating in here but comfortable although just barely.

My utility bills remain low. The highest I have had is still under 13 dollars a month. Swamp coolers are not big energy users in the states so I assumed it should not be a problem here. I rarely use warm water except to take a shower and that is lukewarm. In Korea, one turns on the hot water and then turns it off when not in use. The same goes for gas. I rarely turn on the stove except to cook some ham now and then but not often. I did not eat ham at all today. I don't have a microwave. It does not seem worth buying.

The most important link that I have to the world is my computer and the Internet. I watch the news and a few programs now and then. I miss PBS since it cannot be broadcast outside the USA. I enjoy the Rachel Maddow Program, Countdown, The Jon Stewart Show and the BBC. I read quite a bit. I read many newspapers and listen to online radio.

I have made a few friends here and enjoy my time in a few coffee shops although getting coffee with cream or milk is a major trial. I can't drink the instant milk here as I am allergic to it. I drink most of my coffee here in my apartment since I can buy milk and I drink instant coffee which I did not think I would ever do that. But when in Rome...

I have met some Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Irish, Britishers and of course Koreans. I also found a book store that sells books in English although I don't have much choice. I am reading young adult and some of the classics. There are several web sites that offer books one can read online without cost. I have even read some essays by authors I never thought I would such as Leo Tolstoy.

Most of the foreigners who are here are English teachers although there are exceptions and they are always looking for books in English as I am. I even bought a Bible the other day. Thank heavens for the Internet where I can read to my heart's content provided the books are not new. I can read articles from magazines online.

I used to have a writer's block but don't anymore. I think it is because if I want to read a certain kind of book I have to write it. It is fun though. I have often thought about working in a writer's colony. Now, I am living the life. I am having a great deal of fun and learning a lot.

It is hot and sweaty in Korea but August has always been my favorite month. It remains so. I am looking forward to autumn.

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