Saturday, October 13, 2007

basketball, tooth-pulling, running, ballet, and soccer

Well, here's a short update on what's been happening here.
1. This week was "Student Festival" at KNU. Every semester the universities in Korea cancel classes for a few days to let the students party and play sports (forming teams from each major). It's really a great idea. Everyone has lots of fun, and the students develop a lot of camaraderie with the other students in their major. This is my 7th semester, and so far the foreign profs have been quietly on the sidelines during this time, or more likely, at home enjoying the day off. However, this year, with an abundance of young adult profs, we decided to challenge the winning student basketball team to an exhibition match. We probably would have lost this in a fairly competitive game, but somehow, the plans were changed, and we played the KNU Basketball Club team - basically the KNU all-stars, who practice together twice a week. Oops, not so good for a bunch of 30 something, moderately in shape whities who have never played together before, and many of whom aren't so great at basketball anyway. They destroyed us in the first half, but in the second half they went way easy on us, so the final score was a seemingly respectable 38-34. Anyway, we had a good time and got to do something "unprofessional" with the students.

2. A few weeks ago, Sarah went to the dentist. He told her she needed to have 9 small cavities drilled and two wisdom teeth pulled, for a total price of $1,000. We decided to opt for a second opinion. The husband of SunMi in our small group is a dentist, so Sarah visited him on Friday. He said the cavities don't need to be filled now (don't really understand that, but OK), but he did pull a wisdom tooth. And we got quite the discount - It was free! We just need to do something nice for his wife. Sometimes there are bonuses for being foreigners here.

3. So today was the 5th annual Cheonan Marathon and the "1th" annual KNU Hope Marathon - no kidding, two names and that spelling. Here they call any major race a marathon. There were three distances: 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon. Sarah and I were both signed up for the 5K. Sarah was a little worried about running, since her tooth is still bleeding, but she has been training for it for months. She decided to go ahead and run. Emma has a little cough, so I stayed home with her. Sarah had a good time running with our friends Julene and Kim.

4. Immediately after the race, we went over to Emma's preschool for her first ever Ballet recital. It was really more like a public practice session, with the walls of the little room lined with parents aiming countless cameras. Emma looks so cute and grown up in her little ballet costume. Hopefully pictures and/or videos will be forthcoming soon. She seemed to have a hard time understanding the instructions at times, but over all she did well and had a good time. Near the end, she started to lose her focus and started talking to us or to the other kids. I was immediately reminded of my C's and D's in conduct when I was in elementary school. Uh oh. We took her out to McDonalds to celebrate (her choice) and to the doctor afterward for some medicine.

5. Tomorrow night, I'm planning to play soccer with a bunch of foreigners at a nice turf practice field near the Cheonan Stadium. I played last week and had a great time. Hopefully, we'll have enough people turn out this time to make our own team. Last time we filled in our gaps with groups of middle school kids who seemed to be more interested in chatting than playing. Despite our scolding, broken Korean, and gestures, we always had 3 right defenders (instead of the usual 1) who moved in a flock and swarmed anyone who came on that side of the field while leaving players on the other side of the field in lots of green open shoot like crazy space. Alas! Still lots of fun though.
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