My school has seperate summer and winter uniforms, embossed nametags for the students, a new computer lab and a substantial faculty dining budget. It does not, though, have what my American mind has trained me to believe is more important: heating.
I can't really complain as my friends are going through the same thing. It's standard to not heat schools in Korea, so we play, "how many layers are you wearing?" when we see each other here. And we all know we're lucky to be on Jeju Island, which is warmer than the mainland. It still strikes me as strange, though, that I can have as many post-its as I want and eat paid-for meals with the other teachers, but that I cannot be warm even if I put on stretch pants under my dress jeans or wear gloves when I'm typing in my office.
Still, winter isn't all bad. It means that break and friends from home and warm, warm Malaysia are all a little closer. It also means that leaves are changing, tangerines are still in abundance, and I can shop for winter clothes, which actually fit here. Plus, there's a funny-looking Christmas tree in the middle of town they just strung lights on. The town center holiday display is complete with some white wire lit-up reindeer that are too small and really reminiscent of the awkward Christmas light set-up they do every year in front of the Dallas, Oregon courthouse. It always makes me smile; I guess small-town holiday display budgets are universally small.