Ah. Today was a good one. Had one of my favorite classes in the morning, which somehow degenerated into an arrangement for a lunch time arm wrestling competition with the NET. I was only trying to put an end to the nonsense by approaching a table full of six arm wrestling boys and slamming my elbow down, offering myself up to anyone who would dare.
Monkey and Houdini are both in that class. I fear Monkey's name has stuck definitively with the entire class, and he's taken real issue with this. Every day in the halls, with the most genuine face: "Teacher I not monkey. Tell me not monkey. Teacher.... I not monkey."
Walking down the hall to the office, from behind me: "I!.... NOT!.... MOOOONKEEEEEEY!"
He was the one I was supposed to take on at lunch time. By the time I got to the classroom, he had disappeared. "Ya! Where's Monkey?"
The boys looked around. "Monkey obseoyo? Monkey obseoyo."
They pulled out a chair in front of a desk for me anyway. First up was Houdini, who they apparently have already dubbed "Strong Baby" because he's all of five feet tall, but pure muscle, through and through. "Teacher! Strong Baby six pack!"
Ours ended in a draw, with him caving before I did. After we had finished, the next opponent sat down across from me, but gasped when he went to take my hand. There were the deep, red impressions of four little fingers along the side.
Loads of shouting in Korean. Strong Baby came running over. I showed him my hand. He took it with a furrowed look on his face, and gentle rubbed the place where his little hand left its mark. Five minutes later, after I lost one left handed, and won another two with my right, he came back to show me that I had left the exact same imprint on his hand.
Suddenly, my teacherly side came rushing back. I took his little hand in mine and patted it, and when the next boy sat down across from me: "No, no, no. No more. Look. I hurt him. Oh...."
"Kwenchanayo! Teacher, it's okay!"
"No. Not okay. I'll leave now. You guys be careful."
Another class conversation somehow turned into a show of machismo in fourth period, when we were working on "How do you like baseball?" One student I've taken a particular shine to, in spite of myself, had the co-teacher translate the fact that he thought baseball was the "essence of manhood" or some such nonsense. I couldn't resist.
"So, do you think girls can play baseball?"
"Deh? Aigo.... ahniyo! NO!"
Luckily, I had taught them the word "challenge" earlier in the class. "Is that a challenge?"
"Oh! Chwesonghamnida! I'm sorry!"
"So, you and me? Play baseball? See who is better?"
"When? When will we play?"
He asked his friend to translate something. "I'm busy."
"Aish! Busy? Always?"
"He is afraid to lose to a girl. What do you guys think?"
Oh dear. At least they're speaking English.