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Re: Breaking silence

Sitting here in my frosty little attic, toes squashed up against the
toasty sides of my nalgene full of boiling water (tempered through two
thick pairs of socks), shoulders huddled deep in a wool sweater, nose
prickly with cold.  Premature welcome to winter - halleluia that it
isn't actually, or I'd be freezing completely to death!

The problem is my boiler.  All the heat in the house comes from pipes in
the floor - known locally as ondol.  Sometime over the last few days,
while I was enjoying another Seoul weekend, one of the hoses on the
boiler sprung an impressive leak and started drenching the unit in a
fine, persistent spray.  The electric unit.  You see the problem.  The
water caused the motor to short out, which threw the fuses for the
entire house, which meant a cold, dark, smelly welcome (since all the
food in the fridge had gone bad) from all but my fish - who were all
suspended imobile in the depths of their respective aquariums too cold
and oxygen-deprived to move.

A quick visit by the repairman who replaced the very same motor about 6
months ago (that time it was just old and falling apart) got the power
problem fixed.  Amazing how much better things look once the lights are
on and the aquarium heaters going!  The boiler motor however was
unsalvageable - permanently fried.  The small combined matters of money
and the availability of parts conspired to keep him from replacing the
unit immediately, leaving me to temporarily relive my winter camp
experiences in vivid detail.

Now, there are plenty of excellent options nearby for warming up -
primary among these the public baths that I so love and the gym where I
normally work out every day.  But you know what cold does to the
momentum of things...everything just gets slower and slower until it
stops moving alltogether - including people.  A steaming bowl of
porridge and a good book kept me under my grandma's afghan far longer
than I planned until it seemed that the best way to deal with the cold
would be to burrow in for the night and wake up in springtime.  Or at
least until the sun comes up to warm things!

I am so, so, so happy to be living in a generous temperate climate right
now!! (even more so to have a scavenger friend like Erik who brings
useful things home like heated bed mats...)

Cold aside, these are pleasant, busy times in Korea.  Mo is back in
Seoul at the vet hospital all week, recovering from another surgery -
this one big but hopefully the last.  Classes are winding down towards
final exams and term assignment deadlines so my office is always
buzzing.  The grandparents next door continue to lavish pumpkins upon me
over the garden wall.  All the streets around town are covered in an
extravagant golden blanket of gingko leaves.  The big department stores,
harbingers of all things western and commercial, have lit themselves up
with twinkling christmas lights.  People are smiling, life is good.

I hope the same is true where you are (with an extra dose of heat thrown
in for good measure)!!  Love, Roberta