Sunday, October 16, 2005

Real Azeean Culcha

We climbed on a bus on Saturday morning just after 9am. Eight teachers, the Director-man, his wife and daughter Stephanie (who I teach), the school secretary Mee Hae, and the woman who does everything, Alice and her son Ian (who Barb teaches). All together we were a caravan of fourteen. And we were headed for the mountains in the province of Gangwon, about an hour and a half North East of Suji.

The resort is called Vivaldi Park and is known for skiing in the winter and golf (along the ski run, if you can believe it) and water fun in the summer. We perused the guide map after dropping our bags in the large suite. Actually, the girl teachers had the large suite - we later found out it cost around 450,000 won. The boys had a small room and the ladies and children had another small room.

It was a fun-filled day in the countryside mountaintop sunshine. Lunch of kimchi shigae, ATV driving, paddleboating, forest hiking, and gondola riding. The view was spectacular from the top of the mountain. For as far as I could see there was mountain after mountain, not very tall but still impressive and lush green. If we came two weeks later it probably would be lush red and yellow. Can't win 'em all.

There was some kind of cultural festival going on so we checked out cultural things and I had my finger dyed orange. Again I'm going to do a bad job of explaining things because I can't understand Korean so I just go ahead and do things without fully comprehending them. But I've seen this before. Sometimes my kids come to school, girls and boys alike, with orange fingers. It looks kind of like nail polish but it's on the entire finger tip. Once my older kids told me it was from a flower. They put some kind of wet herb on your finger and wrap it in saran, then tie it with a string. Two hours later your finger is orange. I think the nail has to grow out for it to go away. I don't like my orange finger very much. And my cuticle is no more healthy than it was before.

At night Sang Kyu took us out for pork galbi and bought us a bunch of beers. Can you believe his generosity?

Here's where it gets good.

Everyone was sitting around in the room and Scott was pushing for bowling (they had everything from noraebang to bowling to shopping to whatever else in the basement of this resort). So four of us hit the underground. Bowling had a huge lineup so we wandered around a bit and ended up sitting at the back of a small bar otherwise occupied by a very drunk group of men and women on a business trip from Seoul. They were screaming Korean lyrics into microphones and the distortion was so bad we almost left but decided to stick it out and order some drinks. Before we knew it were we being force fed whiskey shots dropped in beer pints and were singing "Thriller" and "Like a Virgin" to throngs or cheering Koreans. I ain't lying. Okay, maybe the ladies in the crowd weren't so thrilled but the men were loving every minute of it. We collapsed back at our table in time to listen to their boss-man's inspirational speech which was duller than dull and freakier than... freak. I was hit by a fit of laughter thanks to Sara's sigh of "It's TIRING to be a pop star". We disrupted the speech but eventually managed to keep my giggles in check while the man sitting beside us translated as best as he could what boss-man was saying.

"Who will promise to follow me and work hard forever??" The people in the crowd raised their hands. The translating guy said "He is my group leader so I obey him." Can you believe that? It reminded me of a tupperware sales force weekend getaway in Collingwood led by Hitler and full of religious people.

We bowled and went to bed.

This morning the fog was heavy in the morning and lifted away to reveal a beautiful day. I played a round of mini golf. The clubs were big and wooden and the balls were like croquet balls. Ate some udon soup and mandu for lunch and slept on the busride home.

Almost all of this entire weekend was paid for by el-directoro. It was for no special occasion as far as I could tell. I think he believes that happy teachers equals a good school. I think that's probably right. D'Arcy thinks that he was trying to create group cohesion that was lacking but I don't necessarily think there's an unnatural lack of that in the first place. Perhaps he was trying to get his daughter to love me and therefore be a good kid in class. Well, she does love me now, lots, but we'll see about her being a good kid. People think I'm good with children. I wonder if that's really true.

Too many pictures of the weekend found here.


At October 16, 2005 2:00 p.m. , Blogger Christopher Olie's Dad said...

Jess: it sounds like a nice trip. Your director seems to be a good man. Enjoy it.

At October 16, 2005 3:07 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this link: "When do you know you're living in a way that you too require a blog." Worse, "When do you know you're living in a way that mandates writing sarcastic comments on someone's blog." Vivaldi Park looks beautiful, but all this time in Korea must be tough.

At October 16, 2005 6:29 p.m. , Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks, pops.

Comments are welcome. Nice ones I like. Useful ones I enjoy. Sarcastic funny is just fine. But rude sarcastic? Get outta heeah!

At October 16, 2005 9:58 p.m. , Blogger Shells Bells said...

Hey it looks like you had a good time!!! It looks like a sweet set-up too. We never get good stuff like that at our school!!!! Hope to see ya soon!


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