Last Friday, I was told we would be having another school festival of sorts. As the days went by, I slowly started to gain more information, bit by bit. I learned from my host sister that there would be a tag sale of sorts when she was bringing some toys to school one day to sell. This was confirmed a day or two later when one of my co-teachers suggested I bring money to do a little shopping myself and also buy some homemade food from students’ mothers. I thought, “Sure, why not?”
Friday arrived and the school was a buzz. The first grade classroom and the first floor hallway were lined with tables of toys, books, clothes, and various other products. The 6th graders were responsible for manning the tables and I was truly impressed with their salesmanship. Negotiating sales with teachers and younger students and really talking up the items at their table. Some students were even walking around with one or two items calling out the price. It was hard not to get caught up and want to buy something from them. The winning item for me was a little stuffed “Banana in Pajamas” from the childhood show. The student who had brought it in was so excited I wanted his toy, he started to offer to give it to me for free. I declined and assured him I would pay the 500 won which is about 50 cents.
The next thing I knew, I was being ushered into another classroom where a group of mothers had set up an extensive spread of food. I gladly supported this part of the day as I dined on homemade dukbokke (so spicy!), stirfry noodles, and my personal favorite, kimbap. I sat on the floor eating with my kindergarteners as they giggled and chatted and my ears would perk when I heard the occasional “Maggie Songsaengnim!” (Maggie Teacher) I thought this was lunch, so I ate my fill until I was told “Come on, it’s time for lunch!” I politely declined as I could not imagine eating anymore.
The afternoon was a very interesting and unexpected experience although most things that happen here are unexpected. I was told to meet in the science room at 2:00pm for a schoolwide acapella lesson. I wasn’t entirely sure what this would entail so I headed up there promptly at 2:00pm to see students and teachers with nametags that had their group number on it. They gathered in the room, sitting in rows by group as two acapella teachers began the lesson. Students and teachers alike learned the various ways to make the sounds and sing the words to the Lion Sleeps Tonight. I think my favorite part was the fact that when I was handed the lyrics in Korean, I did not expect to be able to read it. That’s when I realized it was literally the hangeulized version of the English lyrics. The group sounded awesome and though I had to head out a bit early, I was loving what I heard. As my friend Sara would say “Well-done, team!”