I was sitting in my classroom this afternoon, enjoying a rare bit of peace and quiet. Suddenly I heard cheep, cheep, cheep! Puzzled, I looked around. No birds in sight. The windows were also closed. Clearly I was going insane.
Cheep, cheep! I heard it again. Cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep! Where was it coming from?
I looked around the classroom then headed out into the hall. The cheeping became louder; I was headed in the right direction.
Two little girls were crouched over a box, so intent on whatever was in it they didn’t hear me approach. Cheep!
There was a chick in the box. A living, breathing baby chicken.
“Carrie-teacher!! Cute, yes?” one little girl exclaimed, pushing the box towards me.
“Why do you have a baby chicken???”
“Is 500 won!” she stated proudly, misunderstanding my question. (500 won is a little less than 50 cents American.)
A pack of small boys strolled by with cheeping plastic bags. Oh dear. Apparently, there was an old lady in the playground selling fluffy baby chickens out of a cardboard box. How could any child resist?
The two little girls had class and apparently the chick was not welcome. I offered to watch it, provided they promised to come back for it. I was tempted by the thought of rescuing it but didn’t really relish the thought of raising a chicken in my apartment.
I put the box on my desk and hoped it wouldn’t die before the girls came back. I don’t know very much about chicks but it didn’t look very healthy. I thought maybe it was cold, so I put a paper cup of hot water in the box with it.
It seemed pretty pleased and curled itself around the base of the cup. Or it fell into a coma. Either way, I was pretty happy when the girls came back to claim it. Poor little thing.
I asked a co-T about it. She seemed unconcerned, and said she remembered buying chicks when she was a child.
“They are sick, or they are boy chickens. Either way, the farmer doesn’t want them,” she said shrugging. “Usually they die.”
On an entirely different note, I ran across a few of my boys on my way home. They were scrambling around a field with little plastic bags full of greenery.
“Carrie-teacher!! Carrie-teacher!! My name is Park Young sook! How are you? ” bellowed one, as he caught site of me.
“I’m great! What are you doing?” I asked, hoping to head off further introductions and inquiries about the state of my well-being.
Turns out they were collecting something green for their mothers. They were going to eat it for dinner. They looked like Western children picking strawberries – one for me, one for the basket.
“Is it delicious?” I asked. Looked like a weed to me.
“You try!!” insisted 5 little voices.
Gingerly, I took a piece.
“Eat, eat Carrie-teacher!! Is yummy!”
There was no way out. They were eating it so it wasn’t poisonous… Taking a deep breath, I nibbled the end – tasted like grass and dirt. I hoped the dirt was natural flavoring and not from the grubby little hand that had given it to me.
“Yummy!” I said, smiling at them. “See you tomorrow!”
Beaming, they returned to their foraging. I put the rest of my weed in my green bin.