Friday, 5 November 2010

Korea - The first game of billiards

Hello everyone!

Halloween last weekend. Not that big of a deal out here, to be honest. They know about it - and the students know candy is involved - but they have no idea why certain activities and themes promote themselves on this day. In reality, a lot of people who celebrate Halloween have no idea of its roots. My brief research meant that I told the students that people dressed up to scare the dead people so they wouldn't come back to life and eat everyone. Hmm...

Costumes are of course par for the course on Halloween, and I wasn't going to miss out. I was told that I wouldn't better my predecessor in this job - he transformed himself into a zombie over a five-day period - so I contented myself with buying a Scream mask for 1500W and then creeping up behind everyone in my school and trying to scare the living daylights out of them. I tried this on teachers as well as students.

The best example of this was inflicted upon our new substitute female teacher. I went to the class and explained to them what I wanted done. One student volunteered, put on the mask, and hid behind the A/C machine. Five minutes pass, and I return to the class with the teacher. The co-teacher always stands at the back, so I told her where to stand - right in the target line of the hiding student. I go to the front and start my lesson, with every other student and the girl paying full attention. Two more minutes pass, and...BOO!!!!! Teacher - up in the air. Mission accomplished. Hilariously, she started bollocking the kid, who then ignored her and looked at me with a smile. She then looked at me, I laughed and proudly stated, 'Yeah, that was me', and we moved on.

The Halloween weekend is one big blur, but split into two parts. The blame for part one rests solely with my school's football team. I was invited along to play billiards with them. Being quite good at pool, I joked that I would school them. Oh dear. The lack of pockets was an issue for me. As well as not knowing the rules. I got better, but the damage was done. Well, the sporting damage.

When Korean men play billiards they invariably order Chinese takeaway food. On this occasion, it was the noodles with heavy black sauce. Good, but mighty filling. Two hours later, the vice-principal announced that we were leaving - to eat. WHAT?! Of course, with every meal comes soju, and we had taken a couple of shots before heading to a nearby restaurant. I hardly touched the food in the restaurant - and it ended up being difficult to do so, what with the number of soju bottles sitting on the table. 50 green bottles, sitting on a wall...

So it turns out I made a speech in Korean - didn't last long - and promised that I would return to Sorae high school in 2012. And this was before I even turned up to the Halloween party being held in Siheung. I don't really remember that, but know that I lasted less than an hour before taking a surprisingly mature decision and going home. I was on 'top form', supposedly.

Saturday was a similar tale. Most weekends seem to be a similar tale. Hungover with no desire to leave my bed --> a text message questioning my manhood --> a couple of beers --> into Seoul, more drinks --> shots --> no recollection about getting home. Well, there is a blurry moment about me getting home, but I won't go into that here. A 25 minute taxi ride took 80 minutes. The only reason I know that is because I have a receipt that says so. Bizarrely, it cost less than normal as well. Love the taxis out here.

Well, most of them. I went to Suwon on the Thursday and missed the last bus. By over an hour, it turns out. So I jumped in a cab. The one cab that has the one driver who doesn't know how to use a sat nav in Korea. He got to Siheung but then, instead of listening to me, spent the next 10 minutes driving around and asking strangers on the street how to get to my destination. Idiot.

One other thing of note. One of my friends from uni, Jess, has moved out here to teach. Very excited. I met up with her on the Wednesday, and it was very nice to see a familiar face. And she gave me beans. I love people who do that.

Love you all