Saturday, May 13, 2006

I was marking a series of tests completed by the high level classes in our school on Friday and came across quite the gem. One of the questions asked the students to explain the significance of the stars and stripes on the American flag. One girl suggested the following, " There are stripes on the American flag because there are many zebras in America".

I gave her full marks for being ridiculous.
Long story short. Broke my five month old Zen player in a terrible air-to-floor incident. Distinct lack of Creative stores in Korea. Went mad from lack of music. Bought a shuffle... the smaller one. Laughed my way to the checkout as got it for a whopping E49.

Give myself another five months before I break this one.

Monday, May 08, 2006

This is my first contact with a horse since coming to Korea. I am ashamed to have indulged in the excitement around the poor animal, seeing as this picture is taken outside the main door of a department store on a footpath in the middle of a city. Friday was "Children's Day", and so horses were brought to my part of town with little kids placed atop them and paraded up and down the footpath. How cruel. How entertaining for children who have never seen, let alone touched a horse. Koreans are unaware of how to act around horses as their contact with them is minimal so it was understandable that they were unaware of the correct way to approach the animals. People were shocked to see me amble up to this little fellow and give him a carrot, without droopping it to the ground and running away like a woman possessed. The crowning moment was when I turned away from the pony and noticed that others who had touched him were greasing their hands up with hand sanitiser........

Last Thursday brought with it our school sports day. Biggest child there? Me. Yes, twenty five year old me battled for first place with five year olds and I was letting no one beat me. Pathetic you say, and to your pathetic stance I do concur. Mind you though, we did get to go to the Children's Park in the city, which is a leafy escape from the incessant Daegu sounds and pollution. The weather was rather warm, but sun and sunburn held no fear for me, as I spent most of my time on the swings or the climbing frame and only gave into the pleads of the kids to push them, when I could no longer tolerate their puppy dog stares.

And before you ask, yes, I did sleep like a baby that night......

Below we see one of my preschoolers...look at him..all worn out. I should point out that this picture was taken we when we ARRIVED at the park. The walk from the bus to the mat apparently wore him out.

Another one of my little tots was more or less glued to the swing. My arms and back are still in tremendous pain from all the pushing.

And some are a little camera shy

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I am so congested that with every intake of breath I revert to my snot laden, six-year old existence. It appears that I am not immune to the "Yellow Winds". Allow me to explain. Each year, winds blow from the Gobi Desert over Korea and Japan, bringing with them sand dust from the desert. However, these winds whirl and gust through industrial areas and offer free rides to all the pollutants and toxins they encounter and then drop them off at various hotspot destinations...Daegu, being one of them. Doctors warn people to stay indoors during strong winds. However, if you must leave the house then they advise the sporting of face masks, making everyone look like an ER extra on tour in Korea. Of course, the foreigner brigade is above such unfashionable facial attire,( in truth we are loathe to part with the W2000 to buy one), and instead prefer to battle our way to work each day, while inhaling a sandbox worth of dust. I can no longer breathe through one nostril and am going to have to ingest a packet of Actifed. It is expected that all my nuclear attack training will go to waste if there is a blast, what with my intended popping of coma inducing pills.

Gosh darn it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bah. Moan. Groan. Mutter. Complain.

Twenty five blasted degrees celsius today.

I am so unhappy. It's only the start of May and already I fear for those around me that will be subjected to my incessant twitterings about the heat.

In other news, I nearly crossed over to the medical side today. During one of my classes this afternoon, I felt a tap on my arm and looked up to see one of my little kids with his hands to his nose, with blood running down his wrists. I initially thought he had stuck his finger or a scissors up his nose. It turns out that he is prone to nosebleeds from time to time and this was one of those times. We went through an entire toilet roll trying to quell the bleeding. The kid and I were completely unfazed by the levels of blood, but some of the Korean teachers were in hysterics. So, to avoid nosebleeds on their parts, I took the kid to the bathroom and set about stopping the bleed. It was near impossible. Each time I took a wad of paper from his nose, the blood literally gushed from his nostril. His face and clothes were a pretty shade of scarlet and the bathroom sink and floor no longer appeared virginal white. Eventually someone suggested making little wads to block his nostril...this proved futile when the wads started to soak up blood faster than a sponge. I had never seen such a nosebleed before. It took a full twenty minutes for it to curb somewhat.

I am a responsible adult, so as he was leaving for home, I suggested he enjoy some red meat and broccoli for a health boosting meal.

I would imagine he is still getting his head around that one.
Today is May 1st. I have a mere seven weeks left in Korea. I have very mixed feelings about leaving here for good. When I first left here to return home last year, I was ecstatic. I could not hide the happiness and excitement I had for getting home and settling back into the comfortable western lifestyle. However, this contract has proven very different. I have more than enjoyed my time here. I have loved the school, loved being so near Ian and loved my neighbourhood. There have of course being ups and downs, but the ups have outweighed the downs.

I am not sure what to expect when I set foot on Irish soil and I am not sure how I will react to understanding everyone around me, not being pushed, not being yelled at in Korean and not undergoing a major struggle just to complete the simplest of activities.

Maybe it will be fun to be back.....