Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Market Play

This week, we had a special "market day" in which the children were supposed to learn how to do basic shopping using English. But it was mostly just for fun. The week before, everyone brought in old books, toys, and things and then these were put into different stores for the children to buy things from. It was a pretty cute idea. I was asked to hang out in the restaurant where they were serving jam sammiches and tukpoki. There were two shifts--in the morning half of the kids were sellers while the other half were customers, then they switched in the afternoon.

Lucy, ordering food at the restaurant.

The students were partnered up with an older kid taking around a younger kid. Something about most of the pairings was simply hilarious. The older kid usually had to take on a semi-parental role. Some of the pairings were too much for me to handle, like Rocco and Kane, easily the two most distracted students in the entire school.

I don't know what they are looking at, but you can see in this photo their little money pouches with their American dollars. The best part was that they had Korean writing on them!

See, Tommy and Mike figured out how to hang out together in spite of having their little partners along. I applaud them.

I helped them make the silly hats the week before. Also, you can tell servers from customers by their aprons. There were so many servers in the restaurant that they pretty much mobbed any customers that walked in.

This photo of Anna as a waitress just screams "diner waitress." Clearly, her name should be Barb and she should have a pencil behind her ear.

"Look, customers!"

Liam is over at the beauty salon. You can't see but he is buying a hairclip "for mommy." So cute!

Customers? Customers? This reminds me of how it felt working at Skippers in the middle of the winter--when Lara and I would have two tables a night.

MM, tukpoki!

This is the toy store. "Bear, bear, who needs a bear? For you pretty lady? I'll cut you a deal. I mean, my boss would kill me if he knew I were doin' this, okay, $7. No, no, don't walk away. I can't go any lower, I'm not makin' any money off of it as it is!"

Is it just me or is this a total Zoolander face?

One flaw in the market day plan was that many kids had spent all their money in half an hour, so for about forty minutes, they kind of sat around. Oops.

Kane and Rocco again. They must have eaten so many snacks that day.

Anna, being the perfect bus girl. Look at that, she can carry a cup on a plate. I'm proud.

All the Mars kids got a little nervous at the restaurant because, being four, they cannot read. All of the servers kept hovering and asking, "Can I take your order?!" Poor little Mars.

Nevertheless, Ariel was able to order her milk and tukpoki.

Standard Brandon face. Brandon is one of the two students who can actually take upwards of two hours to eat. They just nom, think think think, nom. What could he possibly be thinking about so intensely while eating? He's five years old!

Liam was definitely enjoying himself.

At the beauty salon, many girls got their hair curled. It was real cute to watch.

Shopping is tiring, I know.

"It's okay, sometimes there just aren't any customers. It's not your fault. No, I'm tellin' ya', you're doin' a great job!"

Chris and Joel, another excellent pairing. They are both huge talkers and really good at English. But Chris is silly and sweet while Joel is so prickly.

Over at Mars' Supermarket, sales were slow. They just couldn't move the merch. I know that feeling, Chaeri.

Woody manages to keep a positive attitude in spite of the store's financial troubles. Meanwhile, Sally Kim is thinking about what this means for the store's future in the current global economy. Does this mean they'll close down this branch? Will she be able to get a job at another branch? Will she have to look for work elsewhere? How many jobs are there out there for a six-year-old with no college degree and only experience working retail? Sigh.

Jenny is worrying about the same things. Luckily, she's only four, so she's got a few more years before she has to find a real job.

Jinoo, I know it's been a long shift, but you still got orders to take! This food ain't gonna' serve itself, either.

I love this picture! Tommy is such a big brother at heart. While everyone else just hounded Woody in English, demanding his order, Tommy sat down at his level, asked him in English and then Korean. When Woody ordered, Tommy patted him on the shoulder and told him "good job." Lucy is his little sister and I can only imagine what kind of big brother he'll be when she turns sixteen.

Another excellent pairing.

Matching green fingernails! Christine, my boss, painted mine before market day started. I mean, where else will your boss paint your fingernails?

Anna is quite happy with the beauticians.

"Are we done yet? All the food is gone!"

One thing I love about Korea is that gender roles for little kids are not so strict. So many boys got their nails painted.

Even pink!

I like that it looks like Lina is in her jimmy-jams. I love Tuesdays because they don't have to wear their uniforms, so they wear all sorts of cute things.

And this is the sign that I helped Mars make during our project class the week before. I feel like I do need to clarify that in Korea, supermarket is more like department store--kind of like Wal-Mart or Target. They sell clothes and home goods as well as groceries. Hence the silly pictures. Another excellent special day. I don't have many left!

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