Today, we went to Everland, which is basically like Disney world minus the characters. When they told me I would be accompanying the kids, I wasn't too excited - I'm not generally a big fan of theme parks - but I was glad for the break and I had been wanting to see Everland. Stephanie, Ryan and I were going to go over Chuseok, but Stephanie and Korea had it out and she ended up in the hospital and couldn't go.
The place is huge and has three different sections. We were in the sections with the roller coasters and the botanical gardens. The kids were really impressed by the roller coasters but since they range in age from 4-7, they couldn't really go on any. There was a kiddie one that everyone went on except for two of my Apricots who I had to physically restrain for the ten minutes the ride took because they kept wanting to wander off. I have a whole new appreciation for those little loops on the back of backpacks.
We rode the roller coaster and a ride where they spun you around in plastic jets and you could use a lever to move yourself up and down. I had to go on that one because they wouldn't let some of the kids ride unless they had an adult with them. This seems to be how all of Korea works. Kids can do whatever they want - ride in the front seat of a car unrestrained, for example - as long as there is an adult nearby.
We ate lunch at this cafe that I think was supposed to be English themed (it had a lovely view of the rose garden and the sign said it was a 'coffee and tea trading post') but the waitresses, though they were wearing long skirts with aprons that could be considered old-time-y and British, were also wearing blazers with loopy embroidery reminiscent of the American West. On top of that the walls were covered with beautiful art nouveau prints which are decidedly French (hence the name). It was a nice place, with a patient staff who were never too far away to clean up a spill (and there were many).
We saw several parades while we were there; the costumes were extraordinary and... ridiculous. Extraordinarily ridiculous. I wish I had gotten more pictures of them but my camera decided it had had enough halfway through and claimed it had no batteries left. The kids loved it, of course and were stunned into stillness, which I appreciated.
I was surprised to see that a lot of the performers were foreigners like me. I asked Lynn about it and she said that a lot of the performers were from Uzbekistan and Russia. I had to wonder what their lives are like, living in a foreign country in order to act silly and entertain kids. And then I thought, their lives are probably a lot like mine.
We ended things in a haunted house - the theme for the months of September and October was Halloween, except it was more like someone heard the idea of Halloween, decided to do it in neons and pastels, and made it so that everything was happy and smiling instead of scary. Nevertheless, I went through the haunted house with Kevin on one hand and two Kiwi girls, Julie and Tay on the other. It was dark but all that was in there was glowing panels with happy or silly ghost faces that would move only if you pressed a button. The girls were a bit scared but poor little Kevin was terrified. At one point, when the girls were arguing over who got my one hand that was not holding Kevin, the poor little kid just gave up and put his hands over his face and stood perfectly still so nothing would come after him. I took pity on him and got us all out of there as fast as possible. He still wouldn't let go of my hand for a solid hour after that.
Halfway through the day, I had asked Lynn when we were getting back. Kindergarten ended at 2:15pm and I had to be back for classes at 2:40. Lynn casually mentioned that they would probably get on the bus about 3:30pm and be back at school by 4:00pm. I briefly wondered if they expected me to make it back to school on my own somehow (not as far fetched as you might imagine) before Lynn explained that Debbie would be taking my classes today.
So, essentially, I had the day off to go to Everland. On the other hand, it DOES NOT feel like I had the day off. It feels like I spent the day running around a theme park chasing after children with the attention span of ferrets with ADHD. I will eventually get some pictures up here but, right now, I am too tired to even write a interesting or witty blog post. I will sleep on it and then return with more interesting things to say.