Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One of my dreams was realised on Wednesday morning.

I got to stand on the extendable ladder of a fire engine.

I know. How exciting things get here............

We took the preschoolers to the local fire station so they could learn about fire safety blah blah. I was really quite bored there, what with the whole talk being given in Korean, until I spied the fire engine and the extendable ladder. Kids or no kids, I was determined to get a spin on it. So I escorted my little tots ( all aged 3-5) onto the buckety shaped thing on the end of the ladder and got myself a decent viewing spot. What a larf. I almost contemplated becoming a fire lady, but then my unshakable fear of fire stepped in and flattened such notions.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

As we are all aware, North Korea has a veritable arsenal of nuclear weaponry which could be unleashed on the South without a moments notice if Kim Jong Il were to wake up on the wrong side one morning. So, to keep us on our toes and aware of our roles should there be a disaster, the government in the South conducts regular nuclear attack drills. On the 15th of every second month or so, an eerie, WW2 style air raid siren is sounded as local civil service types order traffic to come to a complete halt and pedestrians must stop dead in their tracks. And we must stay like that for 15 minutes. That's right. No movements for 15 minutes. We wait for the emergency services to come running past ( the most I have ever seen has been a fire engine and an ambulance) and then we are allowed to try and recover the 15 minutes of our lives we lost. I am not sure how EXACTLY this drill is supposed to aid us. I had always presumed that upon the assault of a nuclear strike, we would all be wiped out in a cloud of mushroom shaped smoke and that would be the end of it. Damn Hollywood for distorting my view of reality. It appears that if there ever is a strike in Daegu, we will all remain motionless for the emergency services to rush through, because OBVIOUSLY, we won't be vapourised.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

And no, we can't sue in the event of a death

You know how there are certain things that you should and should not do?
Well, on Wednesday I indulged in an activity that I should not have done, putting the lives of little children at risk, and, as ashamed as I am to say this, I loved every second of it.

My school took the foreign teachers and the preschoolers to a karting track to teach them about road safety. When we arrived at the track, the foreign teachers were directed to fully-operating karts, told to sit in, drive around twice and get a feel for the karts, with NO sign of helmets or seat belts. So, off we took, getting to know the car and getting to know that the brakes really were quite useless, that the steering was rather lacklustre and that these little karts were capable of some impressive speeds. After a few spins round the track we came to a stop.....and that was when the morning took an interesting turn. While we were sitting in our karts, each teacher was handed a little kid, said kid was placed in the flabbergasted teacher's lap and the teacher was instructed to drive around the track three times. With the kid. Without a helmet. Without a seat belt. The only thing keeping this kid alive was the very careful driving of their teacher.

In theory.

Afer a few laps, my confidence was up and kid or no kid I was going to see just how fast the kart could go on the long straight. The kids loved it, ( if their yells of "faster teacher!!!" were anything to go by), and there weren't any injuries or crashes. While this may seem completely absurd to lawsuit happy nations, it appears that here, if you crash it's your own fault and if you sustain a head injury..... well you should have known better
And that is how road safety is taught in Korea. Brilliant!

The first picture is of the most adorable kid I teach. His name is Dino, (because he loves dinosaurs), he is only four and is my little angel who gets away with murder in my class.
The second picture is of me with some kid. I don't teach him, but he was thrust at me by the school manager. I don't think he enjoyed his spin with me as I went far too fast on the last lap and the little tyke almost drove his fingernails through my hands

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Spring is here, so the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. These pictures were taken by Susung Lake near where Ian lives.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Today in a class of 7-year olds I introduced some new vocabulary. One of the new words was "sure", as in "Sure, I'd like a coffee". Anyhoo, in order to enforce the meaning I asked some of the students to form sentences with our new word. None of them had anything creative to say- most of the sentences went along the lines of, 'Sure, I want some candy', 'Sure, I want a drink',blah blah. That was until the resident nerd piped up with, "If I say sure, people will like me".

The kid is screwed.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Last week, one of the little girls that I teach got a block in the face. A friend of hers was a little energetic in his block tower demolition and so accidentally kicked a block into her cheek. There wasn't any major damage, just a little red mark in a rectangular shape but such was the drama being shown by the victim, that I was forced to escort her downstairs to put some placebo cream on her "injury". With that accomplished we took the stairs back to the playroom, all the while with the little 8-year old whimpering at my side. Eventually, the sniffling and snorting got to me, so I asked her what was up. She raised her head to look at me, her huge eyes welling up with tears, bottom lip quivering and said, "Eileen teacher, with my face, no one will marry me".

What rubbish are these children fed? What eight year old should be getting themself in a state because they have a minor scrap on their face and so will never be marriage material?