06.24.2011 - 07.22.2011 86 °F
Two Fridays ago we took the kids on their annual "Summer Camp" trip to a resort about an hour and a half south of Seoul. Field trips are chaotic and exhausting anyway but adding water hazards into the mix truly terrified my coworkers and me. However, I am pleased to say the trip was a success and we all survived the 11 hours straight we spent with our little darlings.
The day started off strong with Donte literally rolling into school. His mom FULLY prepared him for anything as you can see by the size of his bag!
We checked into two hotel-type rooms (there was a kitchenette with a table but no other furniture) and the kids sat on the floor eagerly awaiting their turn to change into their swimsuits.
Honestly, I thought I had seen it all and thought the kids couldn't possibly get any cuter but I was soooo wrong! Check out these little munchkins in their swim gear!
Here's Sue the tourist...
And Tama with the tail...
These are "The Babies" as we fondly have dubbed them. They are the two year olds who we "teach" three days a week in the classrooms downstairs.
Can you tell which one of the fellas can't swim??
After everyone was dressed, slathered in sunscreen and ready to rock we paraded down to the lunch room.
There were plenty of other schools at the resort as well. Most of them took the logical, uniform approach to help keep track of their kids. But not our school! Our kids are too stylish and high maintenance for things like that.
There was one school that really caught my eye... ALL the kids were wearing the same shirt, had a white star painted on their cheeks and sported tiaras with a pink boa trim! It's just a guess but I assume American dads may not be totally cool with their sons reppin' such a look.
After lunch we finally headed for the pool. We waited for about 10 minutes under the awning for the rain to stop even though we were all in swimsuits and on our way to the pool. But hey, I'm not in charge! My Korean coworker reminded me that Koreans truly do believe the rain, with all its radiation will kill them. She said the parents would be furious if they found out how much walking in the rain the kids were doing.
Anyway, once we got the the pool the energy level was high among a few of us foreign teachers and we had a blast splashing around in the knee deep water playing with the kids. It was surprisingly easy to keep track of all the little rascals. It probably helped that half of the kids were cold or scared so they stayed on the side with the other teachers.
Here we are planning our approach to the pool.
And doing a few stretches...
And then the fun began!
This is Alan. He's a favorite among all the foreign teachers. He and his twin sister are known for their potato sack-like physique. Alan's ears were also outta control in that swim cap! By the way, the swimcaps are made out of the same material as swimsuits so they don't keep the kids hair dry at all. In fact, I have no idea what purpose they serve...
After splashing around in the pool for awhile, four of us foreign teachers and a few Korean coworkers got to take some of the brave kids on the big water slide. As my coworker so finely put it, "That was the best 15 minutes I've ever had at work!" Here we are racing down the slide... as you you can, I'm in the lead
The kids look so tiny on the slide! I was proud to have two of my three year old girls participating.
Notice Nicolas going for the luge style!
After the slides we ate again, played in paddle boats and a giant slip-n-slide then saw a short 3-D movie.
I was looking forward to the bus ride back thinking the kids would be so exhausted they would just pass out. But no, our friendly staff/hosts at the resort gave each kid their very own squeaky balloon animal that kept them squealy and excited the whole ride home!
Aileen was big on sticking the end of her balloon in her nose or mouth. I kept saying "yucky", she kept laughing then guess where she stuck in next? Yup, in my face! Super yucky.
When the kids got to school Monday morning Soo said, "Teacher, summer camp one more!!" I'm glad they had fun.
Rainy season is no joke around here. We had rain for about three weeks straight so I don't have much to talk about in this post except the kids. My "Kids Say the Darndest Things" shout out goes to William. William has one of those super adorable speech impediments where he can't see "c/k" sounds at all. He calls his cubby his tubby. I could easily do a whole post on all the cute things he says but I do have a favorite. During arts and crafts class last week, or "farts and tafts" as William calls it we were making pipe cleaner people. I told the kids to think of a name for their person and William shouted out that he wanted to name his Will. I asked him if that is his nickname or what his parents call him. He didn't even look at me when he responded with 'tude at the apparent ridiculousness of my question and said, "No! They call me Bear Cub!" So here is Bear Cub.... bless him!
This past weekend Swhite, two coworkers and two other girls and me all went to MudFest. MudFest was in a beach town called Boryeong about 2 and a half hours from the city. The festival started out as a Korean thing about bathing in mud and it being good for the skin but it quickly gained popularity with the foreigner community and is now a big beach party weekend with inflatables and other muddy activities each July. We had a blast getting muddy, making friends, swimming in the ocean, going out dancing and eating veggie chilli dogs! The only downside is that no one brought sunblock because we had been coming from 3 weeks of rain and didn't think we'd need it. Boy were we wrong! A few girls got some pretty burly burns. Nuts!
When we got back to work on Monday the kids were very concerned and curious about our sunburns...Donte in particular. Let me start off my saying that Donte, now four years old is sort of my boyfriend; possessing both the good and bad qualities a boyfriend may have. For starters, he is very obsessed with my hair. He always wants me to "wear it long" which means down and not in a pony tail or braid. When I do wear it down I can't sit down without him running over to play with it while he tells me how pretty I am. When I wear it up, the first thing he does when he comes into the classroom in the morning is put his hands on his hips and say, "Teacher, I thought I told you to wear your hair long today!" Donte is also quite jealous. As I have mentioned, I love Hugo and play with him often during playtime. In my defense, he kind of clings to me too and is a new student but Donte doesn't see it that way. The other day, out of the blue when I had not recently been with Hugo, Donte asked me, "Teacher, why you love Hugo so much?" Donte is also very proud of me. When I do "wear my hair long" he ups the affection factor and likes to tell the other kids, "my teacher is pretty. Gabrielle is my teacher!" And now, back to the sunburns, Donte is a very concerned "boyfriend." When he saw my pink arms on Monday he asked me what happened and I told him I got sunburned because I didn't have any sunblock on. He told me he didn't like the pink skin and that I shouldn't do that. The next day he came in and said, "You're still kinda sunburned! My momma said don't get sunburned!" I told him I would be smarter next time. Then, when I told him I was going on vacation to the beach the next week he asked, "to get sunburned?" and I said no. Then he said, "well you tell the sun not to burn you no more and if he does, tell him I'm gonna tell my momma!" Donte, Donte, Donte.
So in conclusion, I am thankful to these precious kids for making my job somewhat tolerable. My two coworkers and I are leaving tomorrow for a week at the beach on Jeju Island off the southern coast of Korea and I can't wait! Hopefully I'll have some good stories to tell when I get back.