Thursday, May 10, 2012

Badminton Battle

Yesterday turned out to be surprisingly eventful!

At lunch time, my MT (mentor teacher) told me there would be a dinner with all the teachers and asked if I had any plans. I had indeed made plans literally minutes before she'd brought it up, but after some thought, I cancelled the original plans and agreed to join the teachers for the night.

After classes, I walked down the hallways, wondering (sadly) what to do with myself for the next couple of hours. Unless the room with the piano is free of people, I have no good way of entertaining myself in circumstances like these. I can only take so much Facebook and computer screen-staring. I could be studying Korean, but that's another story.

In the gym-a-torium, some of the teachers were gathered. They were dressed in exercise clothes and setting up nets for ... volleyball? Badminton? Ah! It was badminton. I watched as some of the male teachers picked up these large paddles and hit the birdie to each other. The guys seemed really excited. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to watch them, so I peeked from far away for a few minutes, then went for a walk through the school. I actually walked by to peek more than once, secretly wanting to join them.  Each time there was a new teacher in the room. When I finally saw the principal practicing with the paddle and birdie, I came into view. They saw me and called me over.

So began a badminton competition that had probably been planned and announced to ever teacher but me. The  5th grade teacher called me over and asked me to practice with him. Luckily (because I had no idea how it would turn out), I hit the birdie successfully every time. He told me, "Oh, good!" and began hitting harder. I'm so glad my late-coming hand-eye coordination works for this game. Eventually one of the other staff called teams. Teachers and staff played two on two. I can't tell you how badminton is scored. I couldn't even follow along with the score announcements because of all the cheering, jeering, and banter done by the other teachers. Oh, and watching the teachers battle against each other was the best part. On a normal day at school, you rarely see the teachers and staff acting so comfortably with each other. Their professional faces almost always remain unbroken, unless you manage to catch them in the break room whispering to each other. During this game, and the one I was suddenly added to (teamed up with the P.E. teacher), I got to see the "childlike" sides of the teachers I work with.

As stated above, I got teamed up with the P.E. teacher. In all the time I've been here, I've only ever managed to say hi to him in Korean. I think he either doesn't know much English, or is terribly afraid of speaking in English to me. Either way, our teamwork lead to the longest conversation we'd ever had. Of course, it was mostly guestures and a bunch of high-fives, but still, I think another barrier has been overcome. We won the match..... because we are awesome badminton players! :D So if we still say nothing but hello to each other for the rest of this semester, we will at least have this good memory.

The prize for winning the match was ramyun!!! The losers got cups (I think. They were all wrapped up, but they looked like cups).

'Til next time!

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