Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Getting Kidnapped

Each day brings a new adventure. Today, I got kidnapped.

The students were in exams, so all afternoon classes were cancelled. After lunch, I set myself up to try and plow through as many blog entries as I could with my 4 hours of free time. I had barely written the title before all of the teachers stood up and beckoned me to follow. I was really getting used to expecting the unexpected, so I just gave in and aimlessly followed them outside towards the elementary school.

We arrived at the healthcare room and the school nurse greeted us at the door. We went in, sat down on one of her many sofas, and she served us coffee as the teachers engaged in a conversation about anything and everything. I couldn’t follow their entire conversation, but it sounded like they were talking about weekend plans (I heard them mentioning family, hiking, shopping etc.). We had barely finished our cups of coffee when they all stood up again, and walked to the door. I got up to follow, and the nurse insisted that I sit back down. She poured me another coffee, pulled out some crackers, and said her farewells to the “gang” of teachers who hustled back to the middle school without me.

When everyone was gone, she picked up the phone and made a quick call. A minute later, another elementary school teacher showed up with some more snacks and sat down beside me. I had no idea what was going on, but I was alone in the school clinic with one young female nurse and one young female teacher. I didn’t need to remind myself about Korean culture (men and women DON’T mix) to realize that something fishy was going on.

We talked about my life back in Canada for about ten minutes before I got the “vibe” that I was free to go. I thanked them for the coffee and snacks, and briskly walked back to the middle school.

It was completely empty.

They tricked me into staying with the ladies while they packed their things and left.

I heard a little giggle, turned around, and lo’ and behold! The two ladies were at the door, keys in hand, waiting for me.

I got in the nurse’s car (thinking that they were going to drive me to the station), and they took off in the complete opposite direction. I received a short explanation that we were making a brief detour to somebody’s house. My spidy senses were tingling.

We arrived at a small worn down house in the middle of nowhere, and were greeted by an elderly woman bathing a baby in a bucket of water. They got out, walked into her house, and immediately got attacked by a small boy with a plastic sword. They chased him around, caught him, and sat him down on the floor. As you could imagine, I was confused beyond all belief as to what was going n. The nurse took me aside and tried to clarify the situation for me.

As it turns out, this family had recently immigrated from the Philippines. The two staff members from my school acted as “helpers” for the transition into Korea (they helped the family with bills, shopping, transportation etc.), and I was “kidnapped” to act as an English tutor for an hour.

We sat down, and the tutoring began. The little boy, six years old at the most, impressed the hell out of me with his language skills. He was able to recite English flashcards, argue with the teachers in Korean, and yell at his mom in Filipino for a glass of juice. We played a few games, he showed me around their garden (as the nurse and Korean teacher talked with the parents), and we left shortly thereafter.

Who knew getting kidnapped could be so fun?

- Ken

1 comment:

  1. Is this going to be an ongoing thing? Each day for you... s full of surprises!