Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Most Exciting Pumpkin Carving Ever

I promised my English Conversation Club class yesterday (Tuesday) that we would carve pumpkins today (Wednesday). Well, I hadn't really been planning it, but they were so excited! How could I refuse!? "Teacher, I've only seen pictures! I've never done!" Well, damn. I think I have an obligation as a Fulbright to change that.

So, I ran around like a mad woman today (Wednesday) digging up cooking gloves (they were horrified at the idea of actually touching the pumpkin innards), knives, spoons and, of course, pumpkins. Well, balancing four pumpkins on my scooter was going to be practically impossible, so I had my co-teacher drive me to the market where we found a vendor selling pumpkins. I bought four of the tallest ones I could find.

Korean pumpkins are lighter than American pumpkins. And shorter/more flat. Which makes it really hard to carve a cool face. So I searched high and low around the market, from crazy ahjumma vendor to crazy ahjumma vendor to find the tallest pumpkins.

My class was so excited. Their friends were peering jealously from the door before their teacher yelled at them for being late to class. My students were anxiously opening their pumpkins and scooping out the seeds.

I heard, "Ah! Teacher! Teacher! Bugs!"

I turned around, as if in slow motion, to see tiny yellow maggots leaping from the pumpkin seed pile across the cluster of desks while their female liberators shrieked and jumped back. One girl was slashing away at them with the knife. Oh boy, this was going to be fun.

By some grace of God, I got the pumpkin, the seed pile and the maggots all into a garbage bag with a bunch of high school sophomores shrieking around me. All in a days work, I suppose.


  1. OMG. This had the making of a true disaster, but you saved the day. You are the hero. [I would have been shrieking too]. What no pictures? Happy Halloween from afar.

  2. I didn't know that you would be able to find orange colored pumpkins in Korea, as I had not seen them until I came to the states. Hope they got to carve the other ones not contaminated with maggots (Yikes!!). Happy Halloween!

  3. There is more to say here than "you go girl". After I wrote that I continued to think about this experience. Bugs aside. You know, those kids will never forget their pumpkins and may even carry on the tradition. I think yu have made an impression on Guyre Amy!