When it gets cold here people pull out their long johns. It makes every one look like they have gained several pounds since all of their pants fit tightly. Underneath everything there are two or three pairs of long underwear. This layered looked makes a person comfortable when they are outside in the frigid cold, but makes it a little too toasty when they come inside. That is why stripping is considered totally appropriate. Not only do people take their shoes off at the door they sometimes take their pants off too.
Yesterday our teacher came over for dinner and to watch a movie. After we had finished eating my classmate invited her to get comfortable to watch the movie (she meant grab a pillow or feel free to put your feet up on the bed and stretch out), our teacher looked relieved at the invitation and stripped off her skirt. I guess it was too tight with all her pairs of tights on underneath, she was also getting pretty warm.
Another time I went to visit my friend’s home, it was the first time I was going to meet her parents, and she assured me they were very excited about the visit. When I arrived my friend greeted me at the door wearing her long johns, but it wasn’t just her both of her parents were walking around the house the same way. It was hard work keeping a straight face throughout my visit as her dad sat across from me wearing purple long underwear.
A few years ago when my room flooded the older Uyghur guy who lives a few doors down came to give me a hand. He helped me scoop water for three hours, the whole time wearing nothing but matching top and bottom stripped pink, green, and blue long underwear. While I was thankful for the help, it was a little too much information about my neighbour.
In this way I am not doing the best at enculturating myself. I still refuse to wear any long underwear. In my mind it is a ten minute walk to class I would prefer to be cold for ten minutes and comfortable for the four hours I am in class, or any time I am inside. Needless to say I get told hundreds of times a day, and in a variety of languages that I am wearing too little, that my clothes are too thin. Well I might be wearing too little, but at least I am wearing real clothes. For your sake I am choosing to not include pictures with this blog. I think I have created enough of a mental long underwear fashion show, that we can skip the real thing.