Monday, October 25, 2010

School Festival and Field Trip

First off, let me tell you something I was observing while looking out of my office window last week. My back is turned to the window which is next to the main (outside) walkway in school so there are always students walking by. Across the walkway is more classes. So it goes like this... my office/desk, windows, bushes, outside walkway, bushes, windows, inside walkway, classrooms. Last week I happened to glance out the window, across the outside walkway... I see one boy in the bushes, one boy in the inside hallway, and one half way inside and half way outside. The boy's arms were being pulled by the boy in the bushes and his legs were being pulled by the boy inside (imagine him in a superman-like position). Kind of like a tug of war but instead of a rope, it was a boy and the boy was being pulled in and out of the window. It was absolutely hilarious and these are the types of things that go on on a daily basis here!

Last week I worked for a total of 3 days (yes I am truly working my ass off here). That means I have worked for a total of 6 out of 10 work days in the past two weeks. Thursday was the annual school festival and Friday was a field trip day

Back to the festival: a few weeks ago I was somehow harassed into singing at the school festival. For all of you who know me, this is NOT my thing. I was asked by my coteacher if I wanted to perform (dance or sing) in the festival. I told her I have no special talents and she went on her way. Then, I went into the main office to go make copies and the vice principal basically said I had no choice and my name was already on the festival schedule. Luckily, there was a teacher choir so I agreed to join that. We ended up choosing LOVE by Natalie Cole. The teachers thought the microphone should be in my face because I am the "native" English speaker. PSHHHH such a bad idea. They also tried to get my to sing parts of the song for them so that they could figure out how it sounds. ANOTHER bad idea. The fact that I can speak English in no way qualifies me to be a singer.
So, the day of the festival arrives. All of the teachers receive maroon windbreakers and white hats that spell out "Daegu" in Korean on them. Uniformity is all the rage here. Then, on top of that I get a lovely orange long sleeve shirt and blue polka dot bandana for the singing performance. Let me reiterate: maroon windbreaker, bright orange shirt, blue polka dot bandana, white hat. Even though I looked completely ridiculous, I didn't mind because there were about 10 other teachers who looked just like me :)
I am the "L" in LOVE :) Orange orange everywhere!

The festival started out with relays between classes and grades. Then, there was a massive jump rope contest which I got to partake in. There were about 3 teachers assigned to each class... so 3 teachers and up to 10 students trying to jump all at once with the same rope.

Some of my students!
Principal jumping rope

Next, each grade had a different assigment. Grade 1 was some kind of drag show or whoever could dress their representative up the most like a girl (I didn't really get it). Grade 2 was a water balloon toss game. Grade 3 was another type of relay.

Rocker chick

"California girl!"

Then, there was a talent show. There was rapping, singing, dancing, guitar playing, and our choir. Luckily no one could really hear us in the microphones, but I did hear chanting when I got up on stage, "Teacher, Teacher, Teacher." Finally, the M.C. walked around the crowd asking the students what their greatest wish was (or at least that is what my coteacher said was going on) and one student said he wanted to one day be able to have a conversation with me.. awww!!!
Playing American Idiot-Green Day 
Dancing to 2NE1... bakssu cheo, bakssu cheo!
Stage moms exist in Korea too!
So cute, they even made tshirts for their sons' class!
Look at how happy I look!
The teachers got a huge lunch and there was even soju and beer in the cafeteria. I felt weird drinking at school, but was offered some so I couldn't refuse (litereally couldn't refuse. it's rude to here.)
After lunch there were festivities in the park by the river next to the school. We walked a few miles down the river to enjoy the scenery and then there were scavenger hunts and games that lasted for the rest of the day.
The river by my house and school
Ready, set, go!
How cute! 3rd grader helping 1st grader 
Walking down the river 

Scavenger hunt... running like crazy!
Hunting for prizes
Chief Officer, Principal, and Me
1st, 2nd, and 3rd places for each grade

But, don't worry, this was not the end of the day.... teacher bonding then commenced. 10 teachers went out for a type of Korean BBQ. By the way, I love how they all try to include me in everything and are so welcoming! Mr. Lee (the math teacher I went to Gyeongju with) was excited to make me a special concoction: soju and beer mixed together, pronounced so-may (aka the "bum" drink.) I also learned "ahh jo-tah" means "ahhh so good" or something like that... said after you finish a drink. Of course, I am only learning the essential Korean words! We played drinking games and then headed to my first noreabang (Korean karaoke!) I pretended to know Korean songs and they pretended to know English songs. I had a great time and really enjoy hanging out with the teachers from my school, even though most don't know English and I don't know Korean. Apparently, they also have this really cool program here where you can call a number if you are too drunk to drive home and someone will show up to drive both you and your car home. It is only about 10,000. Quick, someone get on this idea on America!!

On Friday, we took a trip to the Keimyung University. I was told it was the most beautiful campus in Daegu and it was totally true. It was gorgeous, especially with the Fall leaves changing color. Two teachers picked me up from my house (another generous gesture, as I could have easily taken the subway). All of the students and teachers met at the university. We took a tour of the museum, which took all of 20 mins. The majority of the time spent at the university was organizing students! And during this time of organization I got to hear "Teacher! Teacher! Hellooo??? Teacher! I love-a youuuu!" for about 15 mins straight.

fall colors!

The museum had a very nice photo exhibit of the DMZ. Since the DMZ (area between South and North Korea) is hardly ever accessed by many humans, it is one of the few places in Korea with beautiful nature and wildlife. The museum also had an exhibit on the history of Korea dating all the way back to the caveman days. I didn't find this as interesting as the first exhibit but it was kind of cool to see some Korean history. Then all of the teachers went out to lunch at a place called "Vin." We had pasta, pizza, etc. I am gradually figuring out that more teachers can speak English than they let on through little outings like this. I was then offered to go on a hike after lunch to see some temples in Daegu, but I unfortunately had to get home to pack for Busan!

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