Sunday, September 25, 2005

Field Trip

I had a "date" today. With 3 boys. Wheeeee!

They are my students, and I might have just opened a whole 'nother can of worms by taking them out for the day. I've never done that before. What happened, briefly, was that they threw me a little birthday party in class the Friday before last, invited themselves along to my birthday lunch the following day, Elizabeth nixed that idea, so I promised we would go out another time. This week, they started talking about movies. "Teacha, let's movie going!" I said "Yah, sometime!" So they firmed up plans for today to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with me, even though I didn't really agree to it.

They showed up at my apartment around 2 o'clock today, yelling my name from the parking lot below. So off we went.

The movie was sold out, but they didn't seem to care at all. They really wanted me to take them on a shopping spree, but I nixed THAT idea, and instead took them to a game room and shoved fistfulls of 100 won coins into their happy hands. They sang in a mini karaoke room, controlled a robot car to pick up a mess of Chuppa Chup lollipops, raced each other with video hot rods and killed a lot of bad guys with guns. I kicked their asses in the driving games, but sucked at everything else.

They all bought meat on sticks on the way to the restaurant we went to. Same restaurant Elizabeth took me to for lunch last weekend. I mentioned it before, but it's a buffet. Yummilicious. The kids liked it, but ate like the restaurant was going to run out of food. They all talked with their mouths stuffed full off food, and 2/3 of them double fisted their utensils, with a fork in one hand and a spoon in the other. It was more like shovels. They made some interesting sundaes from the ice cream bar, and then mixed them all up and asked the waiter for straws so they could drink their "shakes." They absolutely out-ate me. Good, because I got a pleasant surprise, and their meals were about half the cost of mine, and I got a 10% discount because I am a foreigner. That's what the maitre'dee told me. Cool.

Then we went to the "Big Park," (its actual name) and I rented the boys bicycles and sat down to read a book. I actually rented a bike myself and was all gung-ho, until I got on and remembered it has been maybe 15 years since I've ridden anything but a stationary bike. I'm too cool to crash in front of my students - who were racing around with no hands.

A crazy older Korean man with "happy hands" sat beside me and tried, alternately, to encourage me to slide over and cuddle up, and touch me. He didn't speak English but communicated silently with hand gestures, which I didn't understand. He insisted on me writing down my phone number, even after I declared my phone "opseyo" (non-existent,) so I set him up with a fake number, and he gave me his, with his name written in Hangul.

If I couldn't understand his hand gestures in person, I doubt I'd have much luck over the phone, but whatever. As long as I can avoid crazy old men spitting on me in front of my students, who kept stopping by to eye the old guy suspiciously, it's all good. By the time we were ready to return the bikes, I had 3 older men hanging out with me. I was ready to get going with my 3 boys.

Two of the boys shared a cup of bondegi in the taxi on the way to the big park. They bought it themselves, right after we left the restaurant. I'm not buying a dixie cup fulla bugs for them.
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They shared the bug juice leftover once all the bugs were eaten up. The sensible boy and I agreed it made us want to puke.

They each ate 3 onigiris
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(triangle gimbap in Korea) an ice cream, a slushee, and drank a couple bottles of pocari sweat or cola. I was really amazed at the bottomless pit that is an eleven year old boy.

It was a fun day. I like hanging out with kids (and not in a Michael Jackson kind of way) outside of the classroom, where we can just joke around and have fun. They speak English because they have to in order for me to understand them, and they want me to understand them, because we're having a good time, instead of me flipping out because they're not opening their books to study. I think the boys liked hanging out with me. A lot of people commented to them about their pet foreigner. They asked if I was their teacher, "Yongoro songsengneem?" and the kids replied affirmitavely. I would then point to one of the boys and then to myself and say "Aniyo, O-MA" ("No, I'm his MOM!") The boys would laugh and protest, while I pointed to my face saying "MOMMY!"

The can of worms I may have opened is what's going to happen when the other students catch wind of today's activities which were, by and large, my treat. I swore the kids to secrecy - at least about it being my money that was spent, but kids, that age, aren't very good with keeping secrets. We'll see what happens next week.

The weather was gorgeous today, and the night is a bit chilly even! Perfect weather for sleeping. I think my air conditioner is officially off for the season, but I'm not willing to say that for sure just yet.

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