This week consisted of almost 4 days of sitting on my bored rear end behind my desk twiddling my thumbs due to preparations for Athletic Day, which two of my schools were participating in.  As you’ve probably gathered by now, Korean school activities involve a great amount of pomp and circumstance, where everything has been given great thought, is well choreographed, and much time and energy has been spent making sure everyone knows what they should be doing and how it should be done.  So, my students spent many days practicing for hours on end outside to make sure their Athletic Day was to our principal’s satisfaction. 

 

By the time Athletic Day rolled around, there was much joy and anticipation for the event, as well as for it’s passing.  It was an interesting experience… with the local school officials presiding and plates of various nuts and Korean pastries and fruits laid out on tables before them.  The students gathered in their formations in two teams (blue and white).  Apparently, I was supposed to root for the blue team… but I have a hard time choosing one student over the other, so I just cheered them all on.  My students participated in various sports activities, many of which were running and I got dragged into whenever they were able to include an outside participant.  When I wasn’t running I was holding the finish line ribbon and screaming at them to run faster LOL.  It was a riot! 

 

They also had games for the parents and grandparents, who were also in attendance.  One very popular game was the pork gogi and makgeolli game.  This starts with two different stations set up with a griddle where pieces of fatty pork are grilled and small cups of makgeolli are filled (remember, makgeolli is Korean rice wine).  Two people from each team must go at a time, eat some gogi and drink a cup of wine in a love shot (or, with arms intertwined and drinking from each other’s cup).  When they have finished the announcer plays music over the speakers and they must dance and then the next group goes.  Once everyone has finished from both groups a panel of judges will decide who the winner is.  It was quite a spectacle!

 

Another very amusing event for the halmeoni (grandmothers) and hadabeogi (grandfathers) was where they were lined up male female at the side of the playground area and were given a fishing rod with a hook at the end of the string.  They had to walk half way across the playground and swing their hook into a gigantic plastic container where teachers would then attach a gift to it.  They then would walk all the way back to the side with a box of tissue or toothpaste attached to their fishing lines.  It was hilarious!!! 


Finally, the last family race was for the men… it was a skirt tag race.  The men had to put on a skirt and run half way around the track, pass the skirt on to the next runner and so on and so forth until the last runner crossed the line.  Again… this was brilliant and I laughed hysterically! 

 

As for the moms, they raced too… and I got roped into that one.  I came in second LOL… but the best part was when my students were screaming A-VA TEA-CHER…. Over and over :P.  It made me smile and giggle. 

 

At the end of the day we were an exhausted lot, between the parents, teachers, students, etc.  But it was a day to be remembered.