Tuesday, March 14, 2006

White Day

Korean children, like children all over the world, love candy and chocolate and other treats they cram into their faces with little regard for the state of their teeth. Yet, they love it so much that a national day to celebrate the wonder of chocolate (Valentine's Day, where "traditionally," the woman gives chocolate to the man) is not enough. Oh, no... a short month down the road, and we found ourselves yesterday on March 14, "White Day," another national day to celebrate the giving and endless consumption of candy (where, "traditionally", the man gives candy to the woman).

I knew before class even started that it would be a looonnnnng day. Sitting quietly at my desk, prepping for class and minding my own business, I heard the elevator doors open and the unmistakeable sound of chaos - a barrage of kindergarten-grade 3 elephants pouring into the school, high on sugar. They streamed into the staff room before anyone knew what was happening, and essentially, I found myself in a hold-up for candy. Recalling a word that a former foreign teacher had taught, I employed it here, and perhaps saved my life. "Opsayo!" I cried desperately, amidst the shouted demands, "opsayo, opsayo!!" (meaning "I don't have any" or something to that effect). The word had the desired result. The kids left me alone, although I think my popularity dropped a bit. Taking a deep breath, I steeled myself for the first class.

I used the craziness yesterday as an opportunity to teach the kids the expression "off the wall." It was a suitable moment.

Well, the worst is over, and I have another 8 months before the next national day to commemorate Peppero (seriously, I couldn't make this up if I tried). I'm thinking of starting a movement to have these days made into national holidays. At least then we'd get the day off.

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