One of the great things about being a teacher is that I get to go to lots of places that I would normally be considered too old to visit.
Kkumdori Land is one of those places.
It’s a theme park right here in my home city, and I’d never even heard of it until now, because I’m an “adult” and all I ever hear about are nightclubs and bars. The theme park was much more my kinda thing! Kkumdori Land is a perfect place to take smaller children, because although it does have a few rides more suitable for older kids like myself, it’s mostly very gentle and cutesy and fun.
Come, come, on water tree! said Jennifer, dragging Terri and me to the water log flume ride. I’d never actually been on one before! And while I’d be very enthusiastic about such a thing in the heat of summer, I hung back slightly today, looking doubtfully at the layer of ice inside the log.
Hang on, does a wave come over and soak us? I asked, not fancying spending the rest of the day freezing to death in the snow with wet clothes. Jennifer shook her head and pointed to all the children and teachers coming off the ride. They were all completely dry. Reassured, I got into the log.
Do I even need to finish writing this?
One tidal wave later, dripping, and with actual icicles forming in my hair, I clambered out of the log to much laughter. Oh, wow, aren’t you freezing? asked someone. What do you think?! I started to respond, but it was at that point that I slipped and fell over in the snow. Honestly, I love cold weather, but I don’t seem to have great survival skills for it.
Still, by the time I got to the top of the sledding hill, I had dried out, my knee had stopped bleeding, and I was only limping slightly. Then I realised that the snow at the top of the hill, where everyone was queuing to slide down, had become a solid layer of slippery awfulness thanks to the constant trampling. I miss my winter boots! Much the same as in Tallinn Old Town last winter, I couldn’t walk, or even stand up.
Alexxxxxxx! I howled dolefully, at last, clutching my sledding ring in my mittened hand and picking myself up for the tenth time. I had advanced about one foot, and the queue was only about 5 feet away – so close, and yet so hopelessly out of reach. Alex looked round at my shout, and burst out laughing as he saw the crowds of tiny little children scampering fearlessly and confidently past me, the teacher, trembling and rooted to the spot. To my relief, he strode over and grabbed my hands. Thank you – I started to whimper gratefully, but he grinned and cheerfully pushed me over instead.
Argh! You – you – you dangerous lunatic!!! I yelled, glaring up at his laughing face. Oh, quit crying – I got you safely into your sledding ring, didn’t I? he asked. So he did, I realised, and with much less squealing and falling and scuffling than if he’d told me to climb into it. Then he bent over and pushed and swooshed me across the icy nightmare until I was in the queue, safe and sound, and no longer dangerously on my feet. Glad to be of service, he said, going back to his own sledding ring. Jerry, look after Hayley teacher, will you? Jerry is the smallest and most baby-faced child in the whole school. He doesn’t even come up to my waist. And he looked at Alex, looked at me, and then nodded solemnly and put his tiny little hand protectively on my knee. Good grief.
For some reason, I went backwards the whole way down the slope and couldn’t get turned around, and then my legs flew up in the air, and all I could hear was the sound of the ring zipping over the snow and the air whistling past my ears, and the sound of my own squeals, and oh dear lord, you wouldn’t believe how fast those sled things go. It was the first time I’d ever tried sledding, and it was terrifying. I loved it.
And I get paid for doing this sort of thing now, too, you know.