Last Wednesday was my school’s birthday. This is a charming custom I think Canada should adopt- in honour of the school’s founding, everyone gets the day off. What a great idea!
I was excited, the other teachers were excited, and the kids…. well, most of their parents had simply booked them into a full day of extra cram school classes. Poor little things.
I looked forward to sleeping in, going to the bank, and reading my book in the sunshine. Alas, it was not to be. I was rather strongly encouraged to attend the teachers’ picnic. There was no polite way to decline.
The picnic was held in Ulsan Grand Park, where the Rose Festival had just begun. The air was heavy with the scent of dozens of rose varieties. Bees buzzed lazily in the sunshine. It was gorgeous.
I had plenty of time to admire the roses since most of the conversations were held in Korean. My Korean is basic but passable in elementary school situations. I can explain simple games; tell children to sit down and be quiet; and I know a fair number of rude words. But gossip, fashion and husbands were beyond the scope of my meagre vocabulary.
And so, I sat on the mat, ate watermelon, and laughed when everyone else did. But in my mind, I was contemplating this sign.
After more than 8 years in Asia, signs like this still make me laugh. In Ulsan, it’s particularly bizarre. There are hundreds of native English speakers in the city; why don’t they ask one of us to proofread things?
I’m glad they don’t though. I like Engrish.
And I don’t suppose it matters. Nobody showed any signs of having read the sign. Smoking wasn’t being ‘restrocted’. Children were beetling around madly on tiny bicycles. And pets were being carried all over the rose garden. (I did wonder why carrying pets was forbidden. If the pets were walking, was that OK?) I saw one woman with a dog cradled lovingly in her arms. The dog was a poodle with puffy, hot pink ears. It was also dressed as a princess, complete with a tiny, poodle-sized tiara.
Oh, Korea. 😀