Sirens, Air Raids and Panic

Working in South Korea, is a constant adventure. I mean when I first decided to come here, the first reaction from most people was.....but why do you want to live where Kim Jong is in charge. I smiled and replied, well first off, that is not his name, and secondly, that is North Korea. For the more informed people, they still were wondering why I wanted to put myself in harms way. The answer to that was my first installment "Living in the Shadow of Nukes".

So now that we are all calm, I can get into what I was actually writing about in the first place. The threat is there, no doubt and there is also the threat of natural disasters. And let me tell you, that the Korea (South) is prepared. The only problem is, that no one bothers to tell the foreigners.

Over the intercoms there is an announcement, all the kids are quiet....suddenly they get up and exit the classroom, "sorry" I ask "what is going on?", to which a student replies "Bombs teacher, North Korea attack!"

Well as you can imagine I was rather nervous, I ran to the door to see my fellow teacher getting food from the vending machine. I soon found out that it was in fact a drill, but no one had thought it prudent to warn me.
You think I would have learnt my lesson from that, but on another occasion an air raid alarm went off and all my kids ran out and that also caused me to almost take a bathroom break right there and then.

My phone has rung on many occasion with emergency alert in bold and the rest in Korean, I mean, come on! You can't do that, just the subject of the message in English. I have now worked out that it is to warn you of military drills, so as not to alarm yourselves.

It is funny how these things can all alarm you at first, but as time goes on you emerge yourself into the Korean way...Just not caring about the threat that is there. They have lived with it all their lives and I am sure it will be the case for many years to come.

It is little things like this that make you realise how you are no longer affected by the differences in the culture and way of life, but in fact you have become a local. Minus the fluent Korean of course...I am getting there...just look here "I Now Know the Benefits of Knowing Korean"

I can say that everyday there is some sort of military drill that flies over my head. I have seen aircraft that I thought were only concepts in Command and Conquer. But it all just seems so natural now. However the next time there is a drill at my work place, I do hope that someone tells me before hand....I just bought these pants...

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