I showed up for my first class this morning, with the six year olds, but the children greeted me with good-bye. I was a bit confused until the teacher explained that we were going outside to collect flowers.
This little boy was the only student who actually found a flower. Most of what the other children found were petals that had fallen from the trees on the street. They spent the class scooping them up and throwing them in the air, but mostly they tried to throw them at me.
The five year olds were making pictures of ants. This girl was the only kid who correctly drew all six legs originating at her ant's thorax. I told her, in Korean, that she had done a "very good" job. She thought that her English teacher speaking Korean was hilarious and I could hear her telling everyone around her how funny she thought it was.
Perhaps word spread around that I knew some Korean, because a boy in a different class later asked me if I knew Korean and I told him, in Korean, that I was terribly sorry but Korean was difficult for me. A simple expression I thought, but the boy went into hysterics and kept squealing with excitement, in Korean again, that I knew Korean. He brought a number of his classmates around to listen to me say it again.
Not all of the five year olds were making just ants with their glue and paper. This girl decided to glue every part of her face, and then she tried to glue mine too.
One class of five year olds was having a special class just cracking robin's eggs and eating them. The teacher in the back will be my replacement come May when I leave. My boss asked me to let him tag along to all of my classes today and see how the school works. The children asked me if he was my friend (in Korean again, wow, I am really learning a lot now) and I said yes. After this he was treated just like me, which meant the children jumped on him and followed him around the halls everywhere, trying to hold onto his leg. His name is Balazs, but he told everyone to just call him Ben. The children pronounce his name as "Pen" and think this is funny, because Pen means snake in Korean. I told Ben that being a snake was better than being a "gorilla."
Thomas (on the left) had a bit of trouble with his eggs, so I helped him stick it on his skewer. Perhaps it would have helped if he pulled his pink bandanna out of his eyes. You'll notice that there's a tray of ketchup (and mustard too, but you can't see it) on the table. I nearly got mustard all over my shirt on a few different occasions, but luckily I put one of these tiny pink aprons on too.
I had a touching moment with Thomas today. He seemed to be trying to ask me if the new teacher meant I would be going. I said that I was and this made him sad. I'll miss the children too.
I wish this picture wasn't overexposed, because it was a nice shot otherwise. The children have taken to playing a game where they'll come up to me and strike a pose. Then, when I pull out my camera they run away. It's quite frustrating. I caught these girls before they could run, but the picture didn't turn out well. At least I finally figured out what the problem is. Apparently if I zoom in too much, under certain lighting conditions, this affects something with the lens (perhaps the aperture?) and this causes my pictures to turn out too dark. Such a pity.
I went back to Summit today to do some easy climbing and also inquire about any climbing trips they had planned. I was just in time too, because there's a climbing trip this Sunday which I've been invited to attend.
I met a new friend, Bin, and we spent over four hours climbing. She is taking classes to be an English interpreter, so her English was a lot better than most Koreans I meet. She just started climbing recently, and did not feel she was strong enough to climb with me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't really take no for an answer. So, I spent the next four hours working her hard, and eventually she made what, to her, seemed like a seemingly impossible traverse across one of the advanced walls. She later told me she felt "fantastic."
I also bought one of the shirts that everyone from Summit wears. It's the Summit "climbing uniform" I've been told. At first I asked for the shirt in my normal size of medium, but my arms wouldn't fit in the sleeves, so I had to get a large. Korean definitions of large differ from North American sizes, so the shirt fit perfectly. It's a really comfortable shirt too, and it will serve as a fond memory of my time in Korea.
Yu-Suk was there and I invited him and Bin out to an FC Seoul soccer match with me this Saturday. Yu-Suk said he was busy but would try to make it, but Bin said she would definitely come and was quite excited since it would be her first time attending a sports event of any kind.