Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gokseong Again

Here I am helping out at Gokseong English Summer Camp. I help plan the games, make safety precautions, and MC at events. On the first night, the students from each class got up on stage to show posters they'd made and to perform class cheers they'd written. Some teams came up with really interesting team names. I never thought I would hear myself say, "Thank you, Hot Black Beavers. That was great!" Another team was "The Happy White Puppy." One girl explained into the microphone that their souls were "pure like white" and that they were happy like puppies. These kids crack me up.

I am working with university students from Arizona State and they are a great bunch of people. I have never been to Arizona, but I think I would like to go, based on my experience so far with these people. They don't complain, not even about the coffee or the hard mattresses. They don't seem to notice the severe heat, probably because they are used to hot weather. If these teachers were from Portland, I think I would definitely hear more complaints about the coffee, and I would definitely see more irritated expressions illuminated by blinding sunlight.

I taught at this same camp last summer and I must say, the accommodations are way nicer this year. Western-style toilets have replaced squatty potties and the bathrooms are equipped with soap and toilet paper. The teachers' lounge has a working refrigerator full of drinks and snacks. The food is more edible. The staff is friendlier. Classical music and opera plays from the speakers outside to complement the beautiful scenery. I wonder if the music contributes to keeping this group of teachers mellow all the time, or if their calm sensibility is true to a lot of Arizonans.

Today we're going on a field trip with the kids to the Bamboo Forest in Damyang, followed by a Western-style lunch, where kids will have to eat with forks. Tomorrow, everyone will gather in the auditorium and watch "The Iron Giant" (my choice) and then, following the principal's request, I will quiz the students on what happened in the movie. As much as I like being camp coordinator, I think I'll be happy to not hear my voice amplified anymore.


  1. So did the kids complain about the food? Haha, what was it?

  2. A fried pork patty, cold french fries, white rice, and sweet pickles. It was terrible. I was sitting at a table with Korean teachers and they were asking, "Where's the kimchi?"