The mercury is rising, signaling summer is close at hand. And with the increasing amounts of blazing sunshine and temperature exposure, out come the summer clothes. But here's where it gets interesting.
Having lived in the South and endured its muggy summers for about half my life, I bring out the shorts, flip-flops, t-shirts, and tank tops. I want to be as comfortable as possible, so I don't need a lot of extra layers to bog me down.
For many Koreans, especially the older generation, it's just the opposite. Out comes the sun, and out come the long-sleeved shirts and extra layers. It's not uncommon to pass an older woman or man on the street who are dressed like they were beekeepers. They have on long pants, sandals with socks, long sleeved shirts, a bandanna around the neck, a face mask, and a huge hat or visor.
I ride past them on my bike to school, wearing my Bermuda length shorts, a nice short sleeve shirt, my sandals with no socks, and sunglasses--and they give me a look like I am clearly under-dressed for the weather. I just wish I knew enough Korean to tell them I don't want to feel like the inside of an oven, and that yes, I am comfortable. I just don't want to pass out from overheating, thanks. Koreans may not sweat like foreigners do, but I'm sure they do.
Just one of those cultural things about Korea that you can't explain--you just learn how it is and go along your merry way!
And for your enjoyment, a cartoon from one of my new favorite websites: Roketship. I added a permalink above for you to check out the official site.