Okay, so I know that I’ve been mentioning “yellow sand” a lot in my Facebook updates and I figured I should take a couple minutes to explain, or at least point out, what “yellow sand/dust” is and why we are so concerned with monitoring it. Here’s the link from Wikipedia regarding Asian Dust. If you don’t want to take the time to read up on it, I’ll summarize. Basically it’s a seasonal occurrence in Asia where dust from the Mongolian desert is picked up by wind storms and collects toxic pollutants, fungi, viruses, sulfur and pesticides from China and carries it to the Korean peninsula and Japan. It’s absolutely disgusting and if “yellow sand” levels reach over 300 “whatever per whatever” (I don’t know the unit that they use to measure it), we have to stay inside and close all the windows. “Yellow sand” can cause respiratory illness and asthma in otherwise healthy people. Here’s a picture Wikipedia has for what a “yellow sand dust storm” looks like from space. This past weekend, the levels were forecast to reach up to 1,000 “whatever per whatever”, but thankfully when the storm passed us it was the middle of the night, so we weren’t exposed to it.
Matt makes fun of me, but I monitor three websites daily (sometimes hourly on windy days) before opening the windows or letting Gabe play outside. Feel free to check them too! The first two are Korean links, and I’ve found to be the most accurate. The last is the link from USFK, we are Area III.
On the days when it’s gotten up in the 200-300 levels, I’ve definitely felt the difference, headaches and cold-like symptoms. It’s nasty stuff and even more reason I’ll be happy to get out of here.
In other news, I wanted to include scans of our Korean utility bills. I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile just to let everyone back in the States see what it’s like, very confusing. You get better at deciphering it the longer you’re here.
The first bill is a two-parter because it unfolds into four pieces. This is our energy bill, it’s similar to an American energy bill in that it gives us the running chart of past months, so we can see if this month was more or less than last month. The rest of it is a complete mystery. At the end you can see we owe 71,780W for this month (roughly $66) by 5/25/11.
This is our other utility bill, which we honestly aren’t sure what it’s for. Our water, internet and cable are paid for by our landlord and our heat is from oil. We think it might be gas, for our stove and dryer. Here we owe 17,180W by 05/20/11 (roughly $16).