Day 7 – Friday
I picked up my parents at the Best Motel and we walked to my school, which is only about a 5 minute walk. They had a great sense of humor about staying in a motel with red lighting in the hallways and a velour couch. Bow chicka...awkward.
At Brighton, they got to meet my co-teachers and the other foreign teachers and finally got to meet my students! They’d heard a lot about them over the past few months, so it was nice for them to put faces with the names they knew (Henry.... Luis...... David... Edward... Olivia and Victoria!)
My first class every day is Florida Class. They’re the highest level and have been studying English since they were 4 years old (which is western 3, remember), so they’re pretty quick on the uptake. I usually clap a rhythm to get my classes attention when they’re being noisy, and then they clap it back to me, but with Florida, we’d been practicing something special. The kids didn’t know why, but I had been preparing them to surprise my parents. So during class (we were learning about “How to Build a Sandwich”), the kids started to get a little rowdy, so I called them to attention with a couple of clap-backs... then clapped out “Hullabaloo Canek Canek” and they clapped it back while shouting “Hullabaloo! Canek! Canek! WHOOP!!!” with their little hands up in a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Senior wildcat and everything! I’d trained them well :):) I looked over at my parents, grinning of course, and they were DYING laughing! Caught them completely off guard! Gig’em! Hahahaha :)
[For you non-Aggies out there who are confused: hullabaloo canek canek is a military cadence/beat that starts off Texas A&M’s war hymn (aka fight song) that we sing all the time. You hear this specific cadence any time Aggies are around, i.e., knocking on the door, honking their car horn, tapping their pencil on the desk... I swear I heard a bird call “hullabaloo canek canek” once while I was walking across campus. Anyway, any time you hear it, those who are upperclassmen or graduated yell out, “whoop,” in response, which is a reserved privilege. This happens, seriously, all the time. It’s a big deal.]
Anyway, Florida class “whooped,” my parents died laughing (Dad turned at least 3 shades of red from cracking up). After the lesson, the kids got to ask my parents a ton of questions, like “what’s your favorite food?” and “how old are you” and “what’s your favorite color?” and “what’s your favorite state?” (Texas, duh) and “what’s your favorite [insert any other category]?” My parents brought Texas pencils and small bottles of bubbles for each class and they had a great time blowing bubbles at each other! My parents really enjoyed getting to see my students and my students really enjoyed meeting them too.
After school, we ran to Lotte Outlets so that Dad could buy long pants to wear to the DMZ. The dress code for the tour wasn’t very clear: we were told that we had to cover knees, shoulders, and toes for the tour, but it turned out that the shorts he brought were long enough... oh well, better safe than sorry. Now he’s got new fishing pants, so he scored an unexpected souvenir!
We made it to the train station to head back to Seoul, this time we had plenty of time to spare (unlike when we were on our way to Busan – yikes) and we made it to Seoul around 9 pm. The guesthouse that we stayed at, The Yellow Submarine, was a little (ok, a lot) more hippie-ish than the first weekend, even though they’re owned by the same management. I’ve stayed at the first one so many times that I’d forgotten how “young” the Yellow Submarine was! We went out looking for dinner cause the guy at the desk told us about a good Jeju pork restaurant, but we didn’t find it and ended up having a delicious pork roast dinner somewhere else. They even gave my parents forks! Bless them. My parents were getting good at chopsticks at that point, so they used the forks for a little while to be polite, but you know what they say, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” so they switched back to chopsticks before too long.
A guy sat at the table next to us who was a Korean-American, a little younger than me, I think, born and raised in L.A. He talked to us forever, then his friends left, and still he kept talking to us. He was a hoot! He offered to pay for our dinner but my parents didn’t let him.
After dinner, we went to Family Mart. Family Mart is like 7-eleven and they’re everywhere over here. It’s quite common to see people sitting at plastic tables outside any convenience store drinking a beer (or soju), so my parents got to check that off their Korea-to-do list too! It’s such a Korea thing! Why go to a bar when you can buy a beer for a buck and just sit right on the street?
Keepin’ it classy in Korea :)
It’s how we do!