In my second kids’ class – the younger class, incidentally – the kids found something unusual on the floor. On excruciatingly cute stationery was written a note from a girl named J– H– to a girl named H– K—. I understood some, but not enough to figure out what was being said about me. However, a friend read it and banished my misgivings with a rendering that went something like this:
This is J– H–.
You heard? Gord, Thai, and John R. are going back to their hometowns [in their home countries]! They won’t be teaching here anymore!
But Gord’s a really kind and good fellow, so…
Hey H– K—-! Let’s be really really good friends, okay?
J– H– (August 6 2003)
This is, no less, from a girl I had to flunk once; and I got onto her case about studying on more than one occasion. I am pleased. This is really nice. I feel good about my teaching, really. That, combined with the fact we had a really good fun class today, has made my week.
Highlight conversation of the day is with a kid named Hwan Yong, aka DragonBoy. He’s DragonBoy because one of the particles in his name, Yong, is a Chinese character for dragon. There’s a girl with the same particle in her name, and she is sometimes called DragonGirl. Anyway, he returned to class today after a shockingly long absence:
Gord: Hwan Yong, why were you not in class for three weeks?
Hwan Yong: Uh, I went to, uh, weigukae.
Gord: Another country? Which country?
Hwan Yong: Uh, uh, nara ireumi eopseoseo. That country, uh, have no name. I, uh, that country no name.
Gord: What? Every country has a name.
(13 kids laughing asses off)
Hwan Yong: No, this country no name.
Gord: Were there Asian people there?
Hwan Yong: What? No no no.
Bo Mi (translating in that elder-sisterly way that she sometimes does with the slower kids): Were there Ah-jee-ah people in that country?
Hwan Yong: Uh, no. Uh, uh, yes!
Gord: Was it China?
Hwan Yong: No.
Gord: Was it Japan?
Hwan Yong: No, no Japan.
Gord: Thailand? Er, Tae Guk? (mimicking Korean accent:) Ma-la-shee-ah? In-do-nae-shee-ah?
Hwan Yong: No, no no. Wait… uh… Pi… Pi… Pi…
Hwan Yong: What? No, Pi, Pi… Pil…
Bo Mi: Pi-li-peen?
Hwan Yong: Yes! Pilipeen!
Gord: The Phillippines!
Hwan Yong: Yes, yes, Pilipeen.
Gord: How was it?
Hwan Yong: It’s okay.
Gord: Was the food good?
Hwan Yong: No. Is no kimchi. I’m… (holds stomach and mimics severe illness) Is no good food.
Gord: Okay, no kimchi, but is other Phillippine food good?
Hwan Yong: No.
Gord: Is Phillipine weather good?
Hwan Yong: Yes. It’s a hot.
Gord: Good. Are there pretty girls in Philippines?
Hwan Yong: Auuuuuuuugh! (mimics brain damage and hides face)
Gord (with evil laughter and the sound of snickering children all around): Welcome back to Korea, DragonBoy!