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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Children's Day

May 5 is Children's Day in Korea, which means most kids had today off from school. Unlike in America, where a holiday from classes is used to play with friends and sleep late, many students used the day off to attend extra English camps and classes.

My school is offering special Children's Day classes all week in addition to our regular curriculum. Face-painting, arts and crafts, obstacle course, bingo, treasure hunt -- Mom and Dad, aren't you glad you paid for my college education? Look how well I'm using it! There was a moment when I was using a blow-dryer to dry paint that I thought, "I went to college for this?"

I promise to take pictures later this week of adorable kindergarteners with painted faces and the hilarity that ensues when 4-year-olds try to run an obstacle course. Hint: they don't do very well. Many don't understand the concept of a somersault and instead belly-flop onto the mat before jumping up, giggling, and stumbling to the next post. Hysterical.

Another special activity is arts & crafts, where kids paint handkerchiefs (no, I don't know anyone who actually carries a handkerchief, but it's still a cool art project) and decorate picture frames. One boy wrote Korean cuss words all over his handkerchief, assuming that none of the teachers spoke Korean; in reality, I was in the only teacher in the room who didn't speak Korean. It's amazing what some kids try to pull past you.

In other random news from Korea, one of my students this week lived almost her entire life in Hagerstown, Md. We had a brief chat about what a fantastic outlet mall is there; unfortunately, that's all I know about Hagerstown.

It's cool how many students have lived or studied abroad. A tiny percentage of the general population, for sure, but it's always neat to discover that a student lived in Texas or Michigan for a few years and now has a yen for Mexican food or whatever people eat in Michigan. Cheese? No, that's Wisconsin.

Also, does anyone know if there was a special holiday requiring animal sacrifice today? Walking past the Buddhist temple this afternoon, we heard loud animal screams that were quickly cut out. This happened a number of times and it sounded like a sheep or goat being killed. I can't think of any reason this would happen, especially in the middle of Seoul, so I'm open to suggestions.