Jun 172013

Guest Blog by Christina Galardi. I am teaching at a co-ed middle school in Gumi, South Korea. After the Christmas party last December, I have been coming back every week to spend more time with the students at Samsungwon.

KKOOM Volunteer Christina (right) with a child

KKOOM Volunteer Christina (right) with a child

Collect a purple straw.

Take a picture with a car that is not a Korean brand.

Walk into a store, ask the clerk how much it would be to buy everything and film the response.

WIth just 2.5 hours and counting, these and many more were the tasks ahead of teams of Samsungwon students on one sunny Saturday afternoon.

Samsungwon’s annual Christmas party rings in the spirit of the season with a touch of friendly competition. But the first spring party took it to another level.

Spring Shebang

Scenes from the KKOOM Spring Shebang

This was no ordinary scavenger hunt – it was Running Man (the popular Korean television show similar to America’s Amazing Race but often with a comic twist), Gumi style. Teams of five to six students of varying ages and one foreign teacher swept the neighborhood surrounding the orphanage to complete the tasks, drawing curious glances from storekeepers and passersby on the sidewalks. My team of girls set out on the mission with swift efficiency, barely allowing me to read the assignment for myself before they were directing the show, from counting trashcans in the park to picking 10 different types of leaves to finding out the total number of books in the local library. The pressure was on – but they were having a ball.

The competition was friendly but vicious – points were awarded for stealing numbered stickers off the backs of other teams and throwing water balloons. When all teams returned to Samsungwon, the students boasted about how many tasks they had been able to accomplish. Points were tallied and prizes awarded, but I’d like to think the memory of taking the town by storm in an unconventional way will last much longer. Just mentioning the party to the students during my visit the following week brought grins and acknowledgement that it was fun. I was glad to play a hand in both planning and participating in the event, and I hope the spring party becomes an annual affair!

For more writings, check out Christina’s blog: http://travelinggrits.wordpress.com/

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