POWER SHORTAGE DRILL

I’m not going to lie. We’ve had the air conditioner on in our office for several weeks. Even though we haven’t received the “official okay” from school. And we had to turn the air on in one of the English classrooms too; for fear that the students (and teachers) might pass out.

Let’s just say being hot in class makes it hard to maintain my “handsome” status around here. Sweat-soaked shirts are far from good-looking.

Recently, rumors have spread around the school that the English teachers have had their ‘air con’ on, even when we leave the office (that happened once). Gasp! And God forbid we turn the lights on when we’re teaching.

Energy conversation is a big deal in Korea. School budgets are tight when it comes to things deemed “extra”. Apparently heating in the winter, and air conditioning in the summer isn’t considered a necessity. Dress in layers, or fan yourself.

"Korea to Carry Out Nationwide Power Shortage Drill..."

In an effort to conserve energy, and prepare for possible power outages this summer, some government offices shut down for about a half-of-an-hour this afternoon. I was told we’d have no air-conditioning. No fans. No computers. Everything at school would shut off for about 30 minutes.

2PM comes around. I’m prepared for the worst. I turn off my computer and wait, silently, for something big to happen. Nothing did. The lights stayed on. My co-teachers continued working at their computers. I asked when the power would turn off, and they all looked at me like, What are you talking about? We just need to switch off the lights... Thanks for the reminder! I should’ve known.

This country continues to fascinate me. Even though I want to complain about the air conditioning situation, I’m actually quite impressed with the reasons behind the madness. I think all of us need to learn to live with less, especially when it comes to energy consumption.

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