It’s been a year and half since I moved to Korea, and the country still surprises me. Today I learned of the beauty of hand fans and parking ajummas, both of which I have taken for granted.
Since last summer, I have been scoffing at women wearing long flowy skirts, toting tiny fans to keep their faces from melting under the hot summer sun. Brimming with curiosity, I finally caved and bought some mid-calf skirts from Forever 21 with slits all the way up to the thighs. I tested them for a month and have to admit that these skirts are nice for walking and randomly sitting on the floor, which usually happens during Korean restaurant lunches or summer music festivals. They are airy enough that your legs don’t stinky and sweat, and provide enough coverage to do an indian sit if needed. They get a huge thumbs up from me, earning the right to be packed for the yearly Europe trip.
Then the stupid tiny fans that aren’t even useful? Well, I was wrong. When I was young, living in Manila, my dad got me a tiny yellow fan that ran on batteries. It was more of a toy than a useful tool. I don’t think my hair even moved with the thing an inch from my face.
Today, I realized how much of a lifesaver they could be. Of course I won’t carry one while walking around downtown; they are relegated for festival/camping use. Last year, I was dying inside the tent at Wacken festival. I was mostly in a grumpy mood because the nightly rains turned the soil into mud; and in the morning, it was humid and hot. As luck would have it, it wasn’t hot enough to actually dry out the muddy soil. The tent that was shelter at night, turned into an oven in the afternoon sun. I saw a nice looking fan today and thought, that would be a nice addition to our camping gear. It was big enough to actually be of use, running on rechargeable 2000 mAh batteries! I snapped one up for 18,000 KRW and congratulated my wise self all the way home.
The fan has 3 settings: low, medium, and blow your face off. It has LEDs to tell you which setting you are on. The company (Mamos) claims the fan could run for 8 hours, but I haven’t tested it. The built-in rechargeable battery can be hooked to a micro-USB charger, with a LED light glowing red for “charging” and green for “fully charged.” I honestly love it.
And because I spent all this time reviewing the not-so-stupid fan, I will reveal my next revelation in one sentence (I know, that was redundant.): The city charges for street parking, and the ajumma meter maids carry card readers that allow customers to use credit/debit cards! So convenient, so amazing, truly in one sentence.
That, my friends, is how Korea can change you. It spoils you even if you’ve been here long enough to think that nothing surprises you anymore.