Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sports Day: The best day of the year!

Sports Day is pretty much the best day at public schools in Korea.  No really.  It is.

Sports Day is similar to Field Day in the U.S.  Tons of games and things outside.  Lots of competition, and seeing as how Koreans can be very competitive, things can get quite interesting.  

I participated in Sports Day at my main school, as it fell on a Friday.  It happened to be quite warm and sunny that day.  (Even though the day before I thought it was going to rain.  The Koreans were unphased, It doesnt rain on Sports Day.)  

Beginning the day or so before, they begin set up of the school.  Tons of indoor shoes were unpacked for people to be able to come in and use the restroom.  Banners are hung (ok, so banners are hung for just about every occasion here, but still it calls for a banner.)  Plastic flags are strung from the school, commemorative wreaths are put on display.  It is quite an event.

(click on pictures to enlarge)
My School

The event begins with a LOT of talking.  (I really didnt know much of what they were saying, but Im sure it was about how awesome the day would be.)  Eventually, the kids and teachers got around to the warm-up. At both my schools they kept calling this a routine and practiced it for several days even missing some regular classes leading up to the event.  (You can see the warm up in the first part of the video below...yep that's right I made a video, and it is awesome, so keep reading, the video is last.)

This is my second elementary school practicing their warm up routine. 
 I was supposed to be teaching when they were out there.

practicing Sports Day activities

 warm up formation

The school was divided into 2 teams, blue and white.  (note:  Im not sure how the breakdown went since the only way to tell the teams apart were from headbands.)  The students participated in many different activities each assigned a predetermined number of points.  
It is worty to say here, that I was party in charge of score keeping at the beginning of the days events.  That lasted for only about 5 minutes, since I couldnt read the Korean form saying which activity was assigned which points, I didnt even know what some of the activities were to begin with.  (Other things I didnt know: who was playing, what team was what, and in general, what was going on at all.)  Also, at the beginning they were using blue signs for the white team, and white signs for the blue team.  I did totally fix that before I got booted from my score-keeping duties youre welcome Korea.  (But also, thank God I didnt have to sit in the increasingly small patch of shade all day instead I walked around and took pictures, and high-fived everyone, a much better way to spend the day.)
 My co-teacher keeping score.

Here are some of the activities/events that the students participated in:

This game involved a bunch of cards on the ground (one side white, one blue) 
and each team had to flip over as many to their color as possible.

 plastic tubes / tunnels

tug of war

 some sort of piggy back / three legged race 

Everyone was super enthusiastic and cheering each other on, while also being highly competitive.  It was great to see so much involvement. 

But Sports Day isn’t just for the students, there was also quite a bit of parental involvement:

parent & teacher tug of war

I don't know what this game was, 
but it involved switching pants and running around the track.

I should probably mention here that Koreans hate the sun. It was very sunny that day. Everyone was tucked away into shaded areas, and if they absolutely had to be out, they were covered either by an umbrella, or long pants and long sleeves (it was HOT out) or both.

parents observing

An example: one of the events involved racing around the track, but before you started you got a card with a description on it and had to find that person(s) to run with you.  (I'm sure the descriptions were things like "wearing a hat", "long hair", etc.)  I'm not sure what the description was for this particular lady, but she ran the entire lap without putting down her umbrella.  Now that's some serious dedication to staying out of the sun.  

Running with umbrellas 
(I'm sure there is a song here somewhere.)

And finally we arrive at the very competitive final event:


...and the final score.

And whiteys take it!

After the competitions were over, there was a traditional Korean dance, that involved EVERYONE.  I got drug in by some parent, and placed to dance with a child.  We began dancing, and I found myself, standing (attempting to look like I know what Im doing) by myself.  At the time, I thought that the child had simply wanted to be rid of me as their partner in favor of another student.  Turns out, the dance involved switching partners around a large circle, similar to how it is done in a square dance.  Anyways, I was out, so I grabbed a video of the dance.  (Also, available on youtube here.)

Unedited cut of the dance

Now, finally, the day was done.  A few final festivities (that had much less enthusiasm than the intro) as we were all hot, tired, and hungry.

the cool down 

the final flag waving? 
(principal and class president shown)

In conclusion, Sports Day was a ton of fun, and I really enjoyed being able to have fun with my students outside the classroom.  I got to meet some of the parents, and even others saw me having fun while interacting with the kids.  And the kids were simply in the best mood ever it really helped to get to know them on a more personal level and just be able to have fun and that is why Sports Day is awesome.  (added bonus:  I even got a second free lunch, and and and got to leave early!)

statue in front of the school

And of course, what you have all been waiting for... my awesome video composition of the days events, and showing my adorable kiddos.  Even if you don't read the above you should watch this.  (I had some difficulties splicing the music, so pardon any harsh cuts.)  Also available here on youtube, feel free to leave comments, or just view larger.    

Sports Day video
music: All I do is Win by DJ Khaled

Hugs & Kisses,

Monday, June 25, 2012

What the...English?!? Smokers edition

Time for another dose of What the...English?!?

Here are some poor English translations for knowing cigarette and smoking area signs in Korea. Ah, Koreans and their use of Rs and Ls.

Here is your complete guide to smoking in Korea:

First, grab some cigaLettes...
(click on pictures to enlarge)

...then head on over to the smoRking area.

smoRking area


P.S.  I'm not sure what "smorking" is (although Urban Dictionary has some interesting opinions) but it sounds...interesting....

P.P.S.  My friends were kicked out of this very "smorking" area for smoking.  Logical?  I thought so.

And I quote...

“Don't you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can't be exactly who you are.”
- Lady GaGa

And I quote...

Monday, June 11, 2012

And I quote...

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” 
- Audrey Hepburn

And I quote...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"America was Korean territory"

I couldn't even begin to tell you how I started watching this video, but well here it is.  The video isn't that long, so go ahead and give it a looksy.

ummm... what?

You can also click here to watch the video on YouTube.

To sum up, it is a compilation of Korean history shows (one from the Korean History Channel), combined with some pictures and/or books (no sources seem to be cited) explaining how the Koreans were in fact the first people to discover America, among many other preposterous theories.

Korean's are very proud of Korea and everything Korean, but this seems a bit far.  And, while it may in fact be conspiracy theory type of stuff, this video still exists.

Well, this should do for your daily dose of crazy.

And on that note...
Hugs & Kisses,

P.S. - Normally I do not advocate for reading the comments on YouTube videos, but this one has quite a few humorous ones, so have a looksy at those if you are feeling so inclined.  (The link is included above.)