It’s that time of year again: the return of black mold and yellow dust. Everyone at EV is sick with a cold or sinus infection, and that includes me. I was actually the last to get sick this time, as everyone else has been dealing with a chronic sickness for at least 2-3 weeks now. It hit me last Friday with a tickle in my throat and has been at its peak this Tuesday and Wednesday. I got some drugs from the doctor in Paju, which should help clear things up in a few days. Glenn, refusing to go to the doctor, has been sick for nearly 3 weeks now.
Every year around this time, Korea experiences yellow dust – a seasonal meteorological phenomenon – originating in China and blowing over across the continent, affecting the air quality of most of East Asia. It used to be just dust, but nowadays contains air pollutants trapped inside and negatively impacts people’s health by causing sore throats (sound familiar?) and asthma. It isn’t a matter of if one gets sick here, it’s a matter of when.
Black mold starts to thrive again with the onset of warmer, wetter weather (i.e. springtime). It grows so fast and furiously here that if I don’t clean the apartment at least once a week, I can expect big patches of black mold the next time I move furniture from the walls and floors (yes, it grows on the floors as well). All of EV is infested with it as maintaining the buildings properly would be too costly. To get rid of mold, they simply paint over it. Perhaps that is why several of our teachers are unable to step into certain classrooms, or even certain rooms in their apartment, without having a severe, immediate allergic reaction. Black mold is also known to negatively impact the immune system, making one susceptible to throat and sinus infections. Again… sound familiar?
In retrospect, probably a lot of my health issues last year stemmed from the combination of having chronic tonsillitis in combination with the effects from the yellow dust I was breathing and the black mold I was exposed to all day, every day. I am still glad that I got my tonsils out last year, despite the agonozing months of recovery I endured, because I probably would not have been able to stay healthy this winter otherwise. I’ll take a springtime sinus infection over chronic tonsillitis and peritonsillar abscesses any day!
One week until my last day of work at EV, and 2 weeks until I leave Korea. It still hasn’t quite hit me yet.
Enjoy some recent photos of us with our friends.
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