(Eating my favorite snack)

"KC Teacher, do you know fire eggs?" Leo asks.

There's time to kill before our five-minute break, and there's no point in teaching anything new so I don't see the harm of answering questions. Usually they ask, "Why are you not married? Do you like Korea? Why are you so hairy?" So I go ahead with a question about fire eggs.

"Fire eggs are those spicy, egg-looking rice cake thingies? Sure. They're delicious." I answer. A few of the kids snicker.

"KC Teacher," my cute little darling Sally starts to say.

"No really." I interrupt my cute little darling for no reason except I want to hear myself talk about something I want to talk about. "Korean food is spicy, and some Americans don't like spicy food. I can handle some of it, but fire eggs aren't that bad."

Now more of the kids are laughing. Jaemin isn't drawing dragons any more as usual. He's actually paying attention to me.

"KC Teacher!" Sally starts again, and I cut her off just as fast.

"I like the way fire eggs taste. At first, I didn't know if fire eggs were for me, but that red pepper zing changed me. They're pretty much my favorite snack right now."

The kids who aren't roaring with laughter are staring at me in horror.

I look at myself in the window, "What, do I have some fire egg sauce on my shirt or something? I think I ate them last night." I check my shirt as well as I can. Nothing.

"It's true. Bring me your fire eggs and I'll eat them. If they're too hot though, I might cry while they're in my mouth. But that's half the fun, isn't it?"

The bell rings. I excuse them. Half my student run out of the classroom while the other half flips open their cell phones to chat or play games. This is nothing new, but for once, none of them are sleeping. I stroll to the teacher's lounge and some of my kids are still laughing. I see Leo talking to one of his buddies.

"KC Teacher. Tom wants to know. You eat fire eggs?"

"Yup. All the time. Sometimes I can fit four in my mouth at the same time."

Leo falls against the wall laughing while Tom's eyes bug out like he's choking.

"Make sure not to run in the hallway. Later boys." Leo still can't control himself, and I feel I'm being watched as I walk into the teacher's lounge. I fill my water bottle.

After a few minutes of peace and quiet I hear, "KC. Can I talk to you?" It's the boss. I've waited for him to scold me for accidentally teaching the kids the word "crappy," and I've already prepared my explanation. And, it's really not that bad of a word.

"Sure Gus, what's up?"

"Why did you tell your children you eat the fire eggs?" my boss asks. He's Korean yet speaks great English, but sometimes he gets his words confused and puts definite articles in front of almost everything. So sometimes he says stuff like, "Did you fix your the computer?"

"Because I do. With a toothpick. You know, you buy ‘em on the street. Delicious."


"You know, the snack: dok-bok-ki."

"I know dok-bok-ki. But that's not fire eggs."


"Fire eggs is the balls."

"Yeah. Rice cake balls. I swallow those things like they're going out of style."

"No KC. The fire eggs are your balls. You know," and my boss grabs his crotch and jiggles.

"Um." I bite my cheek and look to the floor. "So did I just…"


"I didn't mean that."

"I know."

"Do the kids know that?"

"We might get calls from the parents, but I will explain."

"I mean, I really don't. I thought fire eggs was another name for that rice cake snack. I mean, can you see how I thought that?" My boss nods rapidly and pats me on back.

"Fire eggs means your balls," he says again.

"Well, I learned something today. And that's a pretty cool term for balls too. You know, as an aside."

"Please do not mention the fire eggs any more in class. Thank you."

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