A Velvet Dress and Diamonds

Everyone looks forward to Grade 6 graduation. Parents, students and teachers all dream of the day when the little devils dear children will move on to their next school.  Our reasons may be different but the anticipation is the same.

The day before graduation, the excitement in the staffroom was palpable.  Our Grade 6s had apparently been a particularly difficult bunch, and everyone was thrilled to see them move on.  There are some that I will genuinely miss but for the most part I was happy to see them go.  (I have the utmost respect for Middle School teachers.  Why anyone would choose to teach that age group is beyond me.)

“Carrie-Teacher,” my main co-T said, looking me up and down. “Tomorrow you must look very beautiful.”

“OK,” I replied, not bothered by the insinuation that I looked like a hag today.

“You must wear a velvet dress and diamonds.”

“Ha, ha, ha…. ha….ha…..ha?” I stopped laughing when I realized she was serious.  My co-T doesn’t really have a sense of humour.  Perhaps I had misunderstood.  “A velvet dress? Really? Velvet?”

“And diamonds.”

Right.  Mentally I reviewed my closet.  No velvet, no diamonds. What was I going to wear?

I got up early, straightened my unruly hair, put on make up and dressed in my “Interview outfit.” I even busted out my pearls.  It wasn’t velvet and diamonds but as I admired myself in the mirror, I rather thought I’d do.

Apparently I thought wrong.

Amidst tut-tutting and head-shaking, I was quickly divested of my smart suit jacket and poured into a co-T’s dress coat.   It was long, and covered most of what I was wearing.  It was also so tight across the shoulders and arms that I feared I would burst all the seams if I moved too quickly.  I have to admit I did feel a brief flash of annoyance but then I thought, whatever.  It’s a nice coat.  They were all stressed about the graduation, and if me wearing this coat made them feel better, so be it.  So I made the most of it. 

캐리 008The graduation was an EVENT.  As I walked to school, flower vendors were setting up outside the school gates.

IMG_4061By mid-morning, sales were brisk.


They sold everything from the traditional red roses and babies breath, to gorgeous exotic orchids, from bouquets of beautifully wrapped Chupa Chups to LED bouquets.  Amazing.


Not my picture but you get the idea!

The Graduation was held in the gym.  My place was at the very back, standing next to the heater.  It didn’t really matter where they put me; I am six feet tall and was wearing hot pink, nobody was going to miss me. 😀  And they didn’t.  I felt like a royalty; all the parents, siblings and grandparents bowed as they walked past.

Only the students had seats; everyone else milled about chatting, and taking pictures of themselves with their bouquets.


Everyone had matching booties. I’d never seen them before.  Did the school provide them?   Or did everyone in my neighbourhood have matching shoe covers?



I had assumed once the ceremony started, things would quiet down, but they didn’t.  All throughout the speeches everyone chatted, wandered around, ate snacks and greeted old friends with shrieks of delight.  It was mayhem.  Even when the principal gave his farewell address nobody cared, as you can see.

The “ceremony” lasted about an hour, and then everyone went home.  It made me wonder why they even had a ceremony.  Why didn’t they just open the gym, provide snacks and let everyone loose? 😀 


About Carrie K

Teacher, writer, traveller. Slightly neurotic. Overly talkative. Loving life. You can also follow me on Twitter: kimchigirl72
This entry was posted in Education, ex-pat, Korea, Korean schools, Life, Living abroad, teaching in Korea, Travel, Uncategorized, Work and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Velvet Dress and Diamonds

  1. oegukeen says:

    Haha, velvet and diamonds. Really…. 🙂 Is the hot pink coat one they made you wear?

    Btw, I’m 6 feet tall as well!

  2. goldwing57 says:

    Pink coat looked fine to me…….lol.

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