Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Duh Beu-Ray-Ee-Beu and the Pig

The rabbit and I met-up with one of my favourite hagwon students last Friday. Pig needs no introduction to most who read this site. He was one of my most delightful students in my first year in Korea, and I have a feeling that we will be life-long friends. He does have two big brothers as it is, but I can safely say that I feel much like a third - even when I was his teacher, though he did work hard for me and made great strides, I think we were more buddies than anything else. I'd pass him cherry tomatoes through the teachers' room / classroom window, and he'd lead the students in pulling-out my white hairs at break time. I could go on.

Anyway, it was great to see him. Being that the weather is still bordering on shabby and it's no longer really "holiday" time, theme parks didn't really seem like the way to go for this visit. We had a blast the previous Christmas with some old friends at Everland, but we were hoping for something a little more low-key this time out.

Pig suggested a movie - "all movies are exciting!" he said, so we could choose whatever we wanted. It had to be True Grit. When is a kid like Pig ever going to get a chance to see a movie like this in the theatre? He would have to be dragged there kicking and screaming by the likes of me.

True Grit is called "The Brave" (더 브레이브) here in Korea - quite possible because the proper translation for "True Grit" simply wouldn't fit properly on a poster. Fair enough.

We met for burgers at Krazy Burger (tufu burger for me) in Suwon Station (an old haunt) for lunch, and then zipped-on over to the movie theatre.

So - the big question is what did Pig think of True Grit? Well, that's a tough one. Pig has a great deal of energy, as anyone who's had the pleasure of meeting him can attest to. He is also a Korean child, which means that his free time is precious. He is asked to focus for more hours each week than most of us working adults, and as a result, when he does have free time, he does one of two things: indulges his new origami addiction, or fills his time with computer games, internet surfing, and generally succumbing to the affects of the world's shortest average attention span. When kids like Pig go to the theatre, they likely head for a blockbuster action movie. It's pretty much Avatar or nothing - and even then, the tree of life down time must have driven him right 'round the bend.

In the end though, I think Pig really liked True Grit, though I think it was a bit of a revelation for him. Early on, right around the time when Maddie Ross was first proposing to hire Rooster Cogburn and after Pig had checked his smart phone about 5 times, Pig turned to me and asked when the movie would finish. I was beginning to regret this experiment, but the feeling didn't last long. Once things got going (Maddie, horse and all, jumping into the river to show her own true grit), Pig was all over it. He laughed when he was supposed to, and the few times I was confident enough that I wouldn't distract him by doing so, I caught a glimpse of him from the corner of my eye and he was absolutely fixed on the screen.

Pig had never really seen anything like this - a "real" story from a place and time he'd never been to and had never really been asked to expose himself to. I think it was the unfamiliarity that opened him up, and the characters that got their hooks into him. He had a lot to say about it when it was over, and the rabbit enjoyed it thoroughly as well. Pig's first Western - proud to have taken him there.

It was also a lovely treat to see Pig's family, if only incompletely and for a brief time. His father was away, and his artistic middle brother was currently engaged in his first year of compulsory military service. That left Pig, his mom, and his older brother, Peter, who was happy to join us in a couple of rounds of Rummikub - a family game and a gift from the rabbit and I for Pig's entrance into Middle School. The little guy will be wearing a school uniform for the first time this week.

We were also treated to an impromptu serving of fruit and kimchi-jeon (Korean pancake) from Pig's mom, as well as some big brother end-of-visit encouragement for me to read the Twilight series and to see the films - Peter had, after all, read and seen them all several times. I inquired as to whether Peter was on "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob". He seemed to give the question serious consideration before professing that "Men need to be strong, so I suppose I like Jacob the best. But Jacob has a relationship with Edward and Bella's daughter in the end. So that's wrong."

True 'nuff. And thank you, Peter for sparing me from having to read the books, myself.

All in all - a grand day out with the Pig.

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