Sunday, 28 November 2010

Korea - The first Arirang dance

Hello everyone!

I have received a lot of messages in the past week, and I appreciate the concern, so I will discuss the North Korea situation next time.

Final week in school now, and from Wednesday I have been doing final lessons for each of my fourteen classes. I say 'lesson' - its just games, and in one class we played keep-ups with a football for 20 minutes. The goodbye thing is proving to be quite difficult. In one class, eight of the boys formed a line at the end of the lesson to each walk up to me and hug me. Holding on for slightly longer than they should. It was adorable.

I screwed up somewhat on the Friday. Due to a (very) heavy drinking session on the Thursday night, which I will talk about later, I was 45 minutes late for my first lesson. I popped my head into the room to see the board filled with goodbye messages and pictures. Oh dear. I felt terrible, to the extent that I demanded that I reschedule their timetable to give them one final class. They drew another picture for my return, and forgave me. I think...

I'm not going to lie here - I came very, very close to crying in a class on Thursday. Class 1-9 is one I do with a teacher from my office, Yeong-shin. She was delaying, so I left the office without her and made my way up the hill to class. She started shouting behind me, imploring me to wait as she ran after me. I've never seen her run before. I looked up to the building where the class was, and saw one girl's head popping out of the entrance. No sooner had I seen it then it had disappeared. Strange.

We walked up to the class. Silence echoed from the room. No lights were on. Very strange. I slowly opened the door. That silence I mentioned? Yeah, that evaporated, to be replaced by a crescendo of singing and clapping. My eyes then diverted away from their faces to my desk. Something was on it, and a candle was shimmering on top of it. Chocolate cake! The candle was extinguished, accompanied by screams, and then I looked at the board.

Filled.With.Messages. The only word I could utter for over five minutes was 'WOW'. They then also presented me with a poster of goodbye messages. It almost did for me, until one of the girls urged me not to cry. 'Boys don't cry!' I shouted, and my tears receded from the precipice. I didn't to do my lesson with them - conversely, they wanted to teach me something. Specifically, a Korean folk song and dance called arirang (아리랑). The dance is simple - it's the lyrics that were the ultimate test of my Korean linguistic skills. We tried a couple of times, and then I asked if the students wanted me to try one final time. A resounding NO. I was obviously so good that they

I went out with a co-teacher later that night. He wanted to give me another new Korean experience, so took me to a singing club. I know what you're thinking - this isn't new, you often end up in a noraebang and sing your little lungs out. Fair point, but this is a different, more expensive experience. Why? Well, you don't just buy singing time. You also buy 'company'.

Aah, the infamous noraeclubs. You buy a woman for a period of time and they do what you want them to. Even though I was very drunk, I found the whole experience pretty disgusting and degrading, and then finally told my co-teacher that I was bored and going home. It wasn't a nice place. Sorae high school is a nice place, filled with amazing, wonderful students who I will miss immensely.

Love you all