Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yellow Dust

Let me just say this now: everything you are about to read comes from my brain.  I did no research for this blog post.  So everything I am about to write I have learned through my own observation or heard it from other people.

Another disclaimer: All the photos you are about to see are from my phone.  (Also good to know that my phone was free, so that tells you about the level of camera on my phone.)  And most of the pictures you are about to see were taken while I was running and thought, "ooo, look at that yellow dust"...pause, take picture, keep running.

Every spring the sand from some desert in China gets caught up in the wind and blown over Korea.  And the sand is yellow, hence the name yellow dust.  When we moved to Korea, I heard bits and pieces about this, but I did not really get it until I experienced it.

Signs of Yellow Dust Season:

If you look at cars, they all look like they have been driving down gravel roads (a layer of dirt is on them).  And the layer has a yellowish tint to it.

This is a picture of a car's window (sorry about the reflection).  People were definitely staring at me when I took this!

If you look at the sky above you (straight up), the sky looks blue.  If you look out towards the mountains, the sky looks hazy.  (This is the main way I can tell how much yellow dust is blowing over Daegu at the moment.)

This was a puddle, but it dried up, leaving some yellow dust residue.

When it rains, all the puddles have "yellow chalk dust" in them.

This actually is a little gross to me.  When it rains, the oil from the road washes into puddles along  the yellow dust.

Some years, you can really tell it is Yellow Dust Season.  And other years it is barely noticeable.  I think this spring was in the middle, maybe more towards the heavier side.  I think Yellow Dust is more noticeable in China near whatever desert the sand comes from.

I think Yellow Dust season lasts about 4 weeks or so (confession: I have no idea how long Yellow Dust blows over Korea for, but it seems like I noticed it for 4 weeks this year).

Sometimes people get sick from yellow dust.  To help prevent said sickness, a lot of Koreans wear face masks to protect themselves from breathing in the yellow dust.  (Another observation, Koreans always have a reason for wearing a face mask.  In the winter, "It is so cold."  In the spring, "It is the yellow dust!"  In the summer, "It is to protect myself from the sun."  I am not sure what they say in the fall.  But so far, I have not observed a "face-mask-less" season in Korea.  Not judging, just observing!)

My last observation of Yellow Dust is it makes my apartment more dusty.

And to end on a high note (that has nothing to do with Yellow Dust), I ran into (not literally) some of my students from last year!  They were all about taking a picture of me, but when I suggested that we take a group picture, this is what we got.

This was our first try.  They did not want to attempt another one.  
So cute.  These guys were 5th graders when we moved to Korea, and now they are in first grade in middle school (in America that is 7th grade).  They have school uniforms now and look so grown-up.  Yet, still cute.  And they still say, "ARISSA-teacher!  Hi!"

What will I do in America without my own personal fan club?

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