Thursday, October 10, 2013

That Day That My Co-Workers Ran Toward Me Yelling, "Run or Hide!"

It isn't incredibly uncommon for me to be utterly and completely out-of-the-know in Korea.
At school.
On the street.
On the bus.
In a restaurant.
At the grocery store.
Just about everywhere.

There are often times when one of my co-workers will hurry up to me, huffing and puffing, from just running upstairs to my office with a befuddled look on her face and say something like, "Chicken!" and motion toward the door. Like, "Duh, we're eating chicken downstairs! Didn't you get the memo? Come on!"

Well, no.
No, I didn't.

Or the occasions (this has happened twice) when a herd of students will walk up to me. Smile. Giggle. Search for words. Blurt out random English words. Take me by the hand. Lead me to their classroom. Say, "Interview, teacher." And then point a video camera at me, ask me some questions, and then, walk away. Without saying anything else. Not "Goodbye" or "Thank you." Nothing.

So yesterday, upon sitting on the toilet and hearing sirens screeching throughout the school, I did my thing, and stepped out assuming I'd get the memo shortly. At this point, my co-teacher Mrs. Che comes running/shuffling toward me yelling, "Run or hide!"

"Why?" I asked her as she swept past me waving toilet paper behind her.

"It's too late, just come on!" she said over her shoulder.

So, I did. Everyone else was running outside too, so I just joined the crowd. On our way out the door, I saw a little kid laying on a gurney, though no one seemed too concerned with him. It was at this point--and I promise you, no sooner--that I realized: Oh, we're having a fire drill.

I watched students and teachers run to the open field farthest from the school and get into rows. Two teachers stood by with fire extinguishers. A fire truck waited at-the-ready in the parking lot. Mrs. Che handed me the wadded up toilet paper and said, "Mask."

"Mask? For what?"

She pointed up to the third-story window where there sat a can of...something, that was sending orange smoke billowing into the afternoon air. Sure enough, soon we were coughing. And the whole situation needed explanation from one of my co-workers, Mr.Young.

So, we've got the entire school building evacuated. A kid laying in a gurney. Orange smoke. A bon fire in a box. And the fire department. THIS is a fire drill!

The teachers used fire extinguishers to put out the bon fire.

They even used a hose. Just to be sure.

Then, the fire truck pulled up and saved the day. About this point, I asked Mrs. Che, "Are we about to get wet?"

"Of course not!" she said. 
Of course not.

After all the "fires" were safely put out, everyone assembled to hear the fire chief give a speech. Something about the 6th graders who were lagging behind and the importance of fire safety.

As we were walking back inside, I asked Mrs. Che, "Why were you yelling at me to 'run or hide'?"

"Because next time you'll know better than to sit through a fire drill. Next time, you should just hide!"

I tried to assure her that this was quite exciting for me and I'm glad I got to see it. I mean, for goodness sake, I was taking videos! She gave me that look that she does once in awhile with her head tilted to one side, like, I don't understand you. But she smiles sweetly and seems to love me anyway.

Do you understand now why I carry my camera with me always?

The kid on the gurney never actually made an appearance. I'm not sure what happened to him.


C.Guty said...

Since student teaching started I have had 6 fire drills. Not one of them was as exciting as this!! Awesome. Love you guys!

Karalee Rhuman said...

This is the best! Sounds like the most interesting fire drill! Your story made me laugh. Hope you are enjoying life there! Thinking of you and Jeremy today!