Thursday, December 20, 2007
Layers, Layers, Layers
Everyone says that if you want to stay warm you must wear what?.......Layers. Well ladies and gents it has begun to get cold here (last night it was 32/0 depending on who is reading this)brrrrrr. But come on it is not that cold, I mean I might be from Florida, but it gets much colder than 32, right?
So I went to class today and my four senior students show up (that's a whole 'nother story), and they are covered head to toe in clothes. This is nothing new, in fact, it seems there is a date when people start wearing their winter coats (November 1 is my guess, although I can't ever get a straight answer). It doesn't matter that it is still 50 degrees outside by god it's November 2nd and I need to wear my coat or I will get sick. Sound familiar? Isn't that what your mother always tells you?
Today was different however, I decided I was going to get to the bottom of my students clothes wearing habits. Because they always ::gasp:: when I take my coat off (inside), I mean why would I take my winter coat off when I am inside a heated building? Then, inevitably, they ask me if I am cold, and I always say, "If I were cold would I take off my jacket?, and, why do you care anyway?" They say it's because they are worried about me. So then I invariably ask them, "Why don't you take your coats off?" And then they always answer in unison as if rehearsed, "Because it's winter silly." I added the "silly" but it might as well have been what they said.
There are some things in China no foreigner will ever understand and the layers issue is one of them. I asked them how many layers they had on, they answered 4, keep in mind these are healthy twenty year old kids. Four layers!!! An undershirt, Shirt, Sweater, and Jacket (that's the top) then the bottom, regular underwear, long johns, another set of long johns, wool socks and finally pants of some sort. I mean my god two pairs of long johns it was 34 degrees outside, not -34. To top it all off, this is indoors!!!! indoors!!!! Crazy, crazy there is really on word and it is crazy. They almost fell died when I told them I was only wearing jeans.
The best part of all is that they will sit there and sweat in the classroom while I am more than comfortable. Ahh China, gotta love it.