copyright G.L MacMillan
Eau de Newfoundland
Stanley keeps tiny bottles of water from everywhere he’s visited, but he only ever opens one. He collected it on the beach in Griquet, Newfoundland. Smelling the salt water brings him back to that wild land of rock and trees, where moose roam and majestic icebergs float silently by the shore.
It’s not the nature he misses though. He left her there somewhere, that sandy-haired Newfie beauty he met by chance inside a Viking hut.
He keeps opening the bottle because if he listens closely, he can almost hear her, like the voice of an outport angel.
“Whaddya at, b’y?”
I feel this story needs some explanation for those who have never been to Newfoundland. I grew up there and although I have not been back in many years, it will always be home to me in many ways. So, for the curious, bored, or otherwise inclined, here are some links to peruse.
The inspiration for the title
L’Anse Aux Meadows
29 Comments | tags: bottle, fiction, flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers, funny, Griquet, L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, nostalgia, Ode to Newfoundland, outport, Vikings | posted in Friday Fictioneers
In general, I like cold. I grew up in Newfoundland, in northeastern Canada, where the daytime temperature during the winter is around -10 Celsius, dropping down to about -20 at night. At times, it can get down to around -40. It’s no fun waiting for the school bus in that, let me tell you.
In Newfoundland, we call this May. [Photo]
In Korea, it’s not nearly as cold. Wikipedia shows the average temperature in January to be between 4 and -6 degrees. Cold, but not crazy cold. Houses here are heated by a system of under floor heating called ondol. It’s wonderful to walk around on, or just lie on, although you have to remember not to leave any chocolate or meltables on the floor.
Public buildings, including schools, however, are not heated that way. Some are not heated at all. Many small schools use nothing but space heaters to heat the classrooms. The students and teachers both where their coats all day long.
The bathrooms also are not heated and most don’t have hot water. Also, the hallways aren’t heated and usually the doors of the school are open all day long.
This is the front door of my main school. Most schools keep their doors open like this all year long.
Why on earth would you keep the door open all day in winter? It’s not masochism, I swear. The reason is ventilation. Koreans love ventilation more than heat, it seems. I had a class once in the library, which was in the back building and didn’t get any sunlight anyway. The principal would come in in the mornings and open all the windows in the middle of winter. It took about 3 hours to get it back to a liveable temperature.
When I was growing up, I never really felt cold, unless I was outside for hours and hours and my gloves got wet. But in Korea, I’m cold most of the day in the winter. I used to like winter a lot more too. I realized that cold is only fun if you can get warm afterwards. Nobody wants to go from cold outside to cold inside. And that is why Korea feels colder than Canada.
(P.S. One unexpected thing that Korea does have a lot of is heated toilet seats. That at least mitigates things a bit when you have to wash your hands with cold water.)
16 Comments | tags: Canada, heating, Korea, Newfoundland, school, Underfloor heating, ventilation, winter | posted in Korea