Sunday, January 21, 2007

We don't do it like this in Canada.

On Wednesday (the 17th) we had another field trip at Little Brown. This time we took the kids sledding. Considering there is no snow to be seen and there hasn't been snow for a few weeks you'd think this would have been the world's most boring and impossible field trip. Luckily, we are in Korea. Now, when I was growing up I went sledding (or tobagganing as we called it) a number of times. Usually this would entail getting bundled up and driving out to a friend's field somewhere in the country and finding an appropriate hill. Then we would have to work our butts off to pack the snow down so that we could slide more than a metre before getting stuck. At the bottom we would trudge up through snowbanks that were higher than our little knees and basically we'd be completely exhausted after about an hour of this (and we'd probably only successfully gone down the hill twice).

Here things are done a bit differently. First we drove out to an actual commercialized sledding hill. We paid admission and got to sit down for some important safety instructions (which lasted almost 10 minutes and were completely in Korean- when I asked my coworkers to translate all I got was "be careful") and then each child was handed their own little plastic sled. They got to walk up the conveniently placed rubber mat path to the top of the hill where they stood in line in an organized fashion at designated sledding spots. Then when they reached the front the hill attendants would signal (they all had whistles and matching orange toques) when it was safe to go. It was the most organized and regemented sledding I have ever experienced in my life. I imagine this is how the Nazis went sledding at their Christmas parties.

Don't get me wrong, it was a pretty good system, especially since we weren't the only people there. And it was wonderful that they had a plough to pack down the artificial snow for us. Despite all of their organization they still were not able to prevent accidents so I guess you can't completely sanitize sledding after all. The kids all had a good time (although alot of kids didn't show up for the field trip- some had exams somewhere else and others were afraid/not allowed to come). When I was walking Steven up to the top I asked him if he was afraid and he shook his head emphatically "NO!". I asked him if he wanted me to go down with him and again he gave a very confident "NO!". Well he reached the front of the sledding line, looked down and then grabbed my arm and squeaked, "Amber Teacher, come" in the tiniest little voice. So we went down the hill together and then he decided he'd had enough for the day. Awww! Brian and Daniel (Max and Ben didn't come) were not intimidated so I got to go down with Daniel a few more times (one of the times a kid from another school proceeded to swerve right in front of us and wipe out and we creamed him). Brian stayed with Kelly all day (since Lewis was gone on his honeymoon Kelly had been coteaching with Joi for the week).

Oh, another kind of funny thing happened when we first arrived at the hill. It was a bit foggy and as a result our sledding was delayed because it was apparently too dangerous to be sledding in the fog. So our poor kids had to wait until it lifted a bit. We tried to have a snow fight but this proved tricky considering all the snow was packed down like cement. Mr. Rhie did get Elly pretty good though (in her words "he attacked her"). It was a pretty good day though and if you want to see all the pictures you can look here.

The kids are not impressed about the delay regardless of how perilious the fog was.

(L) Elly is defiled. (R) Snow fights abound!

(L) Amber Teacher and Daniel prepare for take off.
(R) Steven's jacket pretty much sums everything up.

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