"Words have no wings, but they can travel a thousand miles" (Korean Proverb)

Welcome to Flying Words, Jon and Aileen's blog of our adventures in South Korea! We will be in South Korea for a year, starting in mid-July, teaching English in a private school. We just graduated from college this past May, and are looking forward to having some adventures before continuing our education. 
We started this blog to keep all our family and friends updated and to share our photos and stories. We hope this is entertaining for you! We will miss you all, and are very thankful to have the internet to keep us in touch. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I blame Ben and Jerry's.

      For what, you ask? Well, it all started when my AS3 class (3rd lowest level) was reading a story about how to make ice cream. The lesson in their workbook would only take about 5 minutes, so we needed something else to do. As any good Vermonter would, I went straight to the Ben and Jerry's website, with which I am clearly familiar (as any good Vermonter would be) and looked at their activities. I considered showing their flash video From Cow to Cone, but it was too complicated and the window was too small to show in class. I thought about their online games, but immediately realized that bringing my computer into a class of crazy 8 and 9 year olds was not a good plan. So, in the papercrafts section, I found the Virtual Cow. 
The Virtual Cow is actually a printable cow cut-out that you glue together to make 3D. And the head moves when you pull the tail. This was quite a hit in my class, making cows, and a good time-killer. It was quite cute seeing my youngest student, age 5, running around with the 3 cows she had somehow accumulated from other students. But the fun part came later. 
I kept the cow I had made as an example on the white-board shelf, and decided that it would be our class pet. I asked my next class what we should name it, which is how it got the name "Spot." Not very creative, I know. But I wanted to give the students the opportunity to name her. So Spot became the class pet. For the first month or so, no one really paid Spot much attention, besides a girl in my highest class who felt the need to write something about Spot being ugly or stupid on the board between classes at least once a week. Oh, and a lower level class that loved to ask if Spot was an American cow, because of the whole Mad Cow disease anti-American beef thing. Actually, these students called it "crazy cow," and kept calling Spot a crazy cow (I tried to explain that she was born in Korea, but I guess her connection with me made her American). 
  Then, some students in a class that was learning about sequence used Spot in an assignment to write directions to make their favorite sandwich. Thus was born the craze to kill Spot. The "Spot Sandwich" directions were made into a poster when they made posters of their How To writings, and therefore all the classes knew about Spot Sandwiches. The directions were actually quite sad, and I think an imaginary friend of Spot's and I also ended up dying and on the sandwich. (For those who are concerned, maybe this is not an appropriate subject for school, but I allow it because a) I know they're joking, and b) they're being creative and using their English and getting excited) There was also a sad picture of Spot being butchered. 
     After that, the same class began hiding Spot before class, folding her flat and hanging her by her tail from papers on the wall, behind the A/C remote, etc. This was fun, until she accidentally got left in a pile of scrap paper and thrown out by the cleaning lady. 
    Of course, Spot has a million lives (as I told my students), but I did forget for a few weeks to make a new one. When I finally made one, a student accidentally drowned her in my water glass that same day. 
   By this point, it was almost Halloween, and I had decided on a costume for the school party-- I was Spot. Actually, I was really just a generic cow, but you get the idea. It actually ended up being a good costume-- I had white pants and a white long-sleeved shirt, and cut out black construction-paper spots and put them on with double-sided tape. And I made ears and horns and stuck them to a headband. And I made a tail. The students loved it, and I had a great time. Especially when parents dropped kids off and saw a giant cow walking around. And also when I went to the supermarket to pick up some soda in full costume with one of the Korean teachers (also in costume as the main character from Kill Bill, complete with bright yellow wig). Actually, I noticed that in the supermarket, no one stared at me any more than they usually do, just because I'm foreign. Which confirms my suspicions that I can do whatever I want......
Anyway, the halloween parties at school were a blast! A lot of kids came in costume (mostly Scream masks and witch's hats, but there were some princesses, a Mickey Mouse, a dinosaur, some skeletons and an Indiana Jones), and they all had fun trick-or-treating, getting faces or hands painted, making masks and watching Corpse Bride. And the teachers had a good time decorating the school and scaring the kids. Jon told ghost stories in his classroom in the dark, and really scared some kids....oops. One group had a toilet-paper mummy contest, which was great fun to watch. Jon actually got wrapped up too, because there were an odd number of students. Dana (a Korean teacher) and I (with help on Friday from the other Korean teacher Laura) made a TON of ghost sugar cookies, both Thursday and Friday mornings. 
For the "big kid halloween party," (that's where I told the director's 7 year old daughter we were going), I went as Frida Kahlo. I was actually impressed with peoples' ability to recognize me (I think the unibrow did it...though I also liked the flowers in my hair and general bright, Mexican outfit). People I didn't even know came up to me and were like "Frida!! Can I take a picture with you?" Everyone had great costumes....well, most. There were a lot of Koreans who didn't wear costumes, and a group of maybe 5 Korean girls who were Playboy bunnies. Lots of people loved them, and I think they won best costume, which is stupid. It was a boring costume. 

   My favorite costume of the night? One of my friends', who won the Scariest Costume. She was Sarah Palin. 


Lyn said...

I agree. That definitely is the scariest costume. :)

I am very sad for Spot. I am glad that no one tried to make you into a sandwich, though.

Jon and Aileen said...

well i did get chopped by a few fake swords and a girl pretended to bite my arm and said "mmmmm hamburger!"

Lyn said...

Wow. That is totally creepy. lol

Mom/Mama Bear said...

Send this entry to Ben and Jerry's...they'd get a kick out of it!

So they DO celebrate Halloween there?

Anna said...

wow.. umm interesting.. im gonna look up that on the Ben and Jerrys website. i wanna make a spot! lol so ok thats really creepy that a girl bit you and thought u were a hamburger.... u have some weird students.