Posted by: evedlewis | December 4, 2009

Something in The Air……

Soooooo – I’m thinking there MUST be something different about the AIR PRESSURE here in Korea.  I hate to sound like a whining, complaining, weak a** psycho American, but I must share my recent obsession with the air.  First off, I feel dizzy and exhausted a lot of the time.  I thought that I was feeling this way because I was sick for the first part of November.  However, we are now well into the month of December, so I can honestly say that I have not felt 100% normal for about a month.  Have you ever been up in the mountains and felt dizzy or light-headed because of the change in air pressure?  Or – have you ever been scuba diving and felt uncomfortable because the air pressure changed as you went deeper into the water?  Some people even get headaches or feel nauseous when they are on a plane because of the change in air pressure.  Well my friends, this is how I feel.  However, I am on land – walking around Korea – feeling very strange – most of the time. 

I have spoken to several other “foreign teachers” about this, and they all assure me that the feelings I’m having are quite normal.  I spoke with someone today who says I am still “acclimatizing”.  In other words, I am STILL adjusting to my new environment.   Others say that it happens to everyone about the third or fourth month.  Especially when the seasons change.  Many people have complained about allergies and/or skin outbreaks.  I have spoken to several people who have felt sick and weak.  Although I have kept a positive attitude, and I have not missed a day of work, I must admit that I am definitely not feeling like my normal highly energetic and bubbly self.  I actually feel like I am walking in quicksand sometimes.  All of the people I have talked to say that I should feel better again around the sixth month.

In addition to feeling physically different internally, I have noticed a change in my hair.  This may sound very bizarre – but, I SWEAR my hair has NEVER been this limp and “tame”.  My hair is normally very “frizzy” and “puffy”, but I have noticed that it actually has less frizz and volume here in Korea.  I swear the air pressure is different here. 

If it’s not the air PRESSURE – it MUST be SOMETHING else.  Maybe the air is less humid?  Maybe we live at a higher altitude? Above sea level?  I know we are not BELOW sea-level, because I did some research.  Perhaps it’s just seasonal? Maybe the air is different because of all the mountains??!?!?  Yes – I know – I sound a little crazy.  But – I just wanted to let you know that my body is going through some changes.  I didn’t experience any of this when I first arrived, so it’s really weird to feel this way after being here for a few months.  Don’t worry though, I am a tough cookie, so I’ll be fine. 

Speaking of cookies – or FOOD – I have also noticed that my FOOD seems to spoil more quickly here.  I SWEAR my fruit and bread spoil within a day or two.  Maybe I’m just not really paying attention to how many days have passed.  But – I’m telling you – There is something in the air!!!!!  Maybe the air is actually “more fresh” here – Maybe there is “LESS” in the air????  Whatever the case, my body has been very aware of the difference.

While doing some on-line research on the “air pressure in Korea” – I came across a few other “fun facts” that I thought were interesting:

– There are 33 countries that have land below sea level.  Korea is not one of those countries – but Japan is.  To read more click here:

– South Korea is the third most densely populated (significantly sized) country in the world (after Bangladesh and Taiwan).  I had no idea that Korea was THAT heavily populated, so I thought that was pretty interesting.

When I read this on a Korean site – I felt better knowing this is not just a condition that “Foreigners” encounter:

Mohm-sal: (몸살) a condition when your body is unable to function (i.e. get up) due to exhaustion or extreme fatigue – a uniquely Korean phenomenon.  Many ajummas get this (Women who are over age 30 – or look old enough to be married).  However, “mohm-sal” affects all ages.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find any real “valuable” information on the air in Korea, but I am moving right along.  I will simply deal with all of the changes my body has been experiencing, while I continue enjoying my time here.  I am certainly looking forward to the sixth month, and the Spring and Summer.  I can’t wait for the sunshine to return, and I hope that the months ahead will be as exciting and enjoyable as I imagine.

UPDATE: I just came back from a WONDERFUL hour-long midnight walk outside, and I feel FANTASTIC!!!!!


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