Thursday, May 01, 2008

men in uniform

Once again it’s military week.
Soldiers of all shapes and sizes are wandering campus all clad in camouflage.

Day 1

On the first day of the week we had a fairly typical opening ceremony. The opening ceremony takes place in our concert hall. Most of the teachers and all 450 soldiers are in attendance. They sit, they listen, and they learn a few rules and regulations.

There were some slight modifications to the normal Monday game plan, owing to the fact that these were adults and members of the Korean military.

We started with the national anthem. Everyone stood up, saluted the flag, and felt a surge of patriotism.
This left me with a dilemma. What do you do when another countries National Anthem is played?
You can’t just stand there with your hands in your pockets. (Mostly because there are die hard patriots all around you that have been trained to kill with just two fingers.)
You can’t salute. (Just tacky, particularly when you are not military.)
You can’t really do the whole “hand over heart” thing. (For obvious reasons pertaining to pledges and allegiance.)
The only thing you really can do is stand there like a jackass and hope no one notices. (This is what I chose to do, and I did it well.)

Then there was a speech about the pride of being a soldier and the importance of learning English to make the Korean Military the strongest in the world.
A sediment I think we all can agree with.

Day 2

A no alcohol policy was set down.
The problem with a no alcohol policy is that the higher you are ranked, the less likely you are to pay attention to rules.
Something reasonable, like a curfew is easy to enforce. Even a 20 something teacher can tell the “boys” when it’s time to go home.

However, attempting to tell a 50 year-old Major, who does not speak your language, and could kick your booty without thinking twice, that they are not allowed to drink is a bit difficult.
And by difficult, I mean damn near impossible.

Needless to say, there was drinking.

I, however did not partake.
It might have been due to my brand new pledge to clean living.
Either that or that fact that I enjoy my job and am not willing to risk it for a few pints.
Does that mean that I’m growing up? Does it mean that I’m losing that devil may care, anarchist attitude?
What is happening to me?

Freaking age.
Freaking ageing.

Day 3 and 4

Little to report.
The soldiers are great.

We are making crepes in cooking.
They are delicious.

The drinking continues, though much more secretly due to a stronger ban on the booze.
The stronger ban came after several hung over soldiers missed classes in the morning.

Maybe Day 5 will be more interesting.

Hey Jody! I'm glad to see you're posting again. So, are you teaching English to the soldiers? Are you teaching them some naughty little phrases like a good little American?

What will you do this summer?
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