I was squirming in my seat. I think Mr Boyle could sense my discomfort. He started to lavish us with praise. It was a nice change from praising Jesus.
“You seem like well-educated and wholesome folks. If nobody has any objections, I think you would be a great fit here.”
Both myself and herself let out a sigh of relief, looked at each other and laughed. Nice one. That was the job sorted. We could now focus on settling in and planning our year. Then Mr Yun asked a seemingly innocent question.
“Are you married?”
I blurted out, “No!” followed by, “We are engaged though.”
He contemplated this.
“Have you any plans to get married?”
Herself told him that, yes, we had, probably in a few years when we returned home on a holiday. Fair play to her for not saying, “When we get back to our real lives.”
Mr Yun smiled at this, held his hands out in front of us, and then said that God would help us find a way, whatever the fuck that meant. He then instructed Mr Boyle to take us on a tour of the school.
The school was filthy. The floors were all marked and chipped. Paint was peeling off the walls. It stank of stale kimchi and feet. Mr Boyle brought us in to all the rooms, telling us which room was for which year. It turned out that kids aged from four years old up to eighteen years old attended Sunshine Academy. They had ninety students over all. The school day started at 8:30 and finished at 18:00. Long enough day!
There was quite a lot of religious iconography hanging on the walls. JC himself, and quite a few paintings of saints that I’d never heard of before. I found this only slightly odd.
Well, the school that I went to for my secondary education used to be a priest’s training college. It was also on the grounds of the bishop’s residence (they called this a palace. The Catholic Church sure know how to ingratiate themselves with their congregation!) Our school was full of oil paintings of old priests and bishops. Creepy photographs where teenagers looked like fifty year old men, pictures of Jesus and Mary and all the lads having the craic in a white washed Israel.
There were also a couple of warning signs hung up throughout the older kids classrooms:
Anyone found listening to Christian Rock music will be immediately expelled!
Proper order too, I thought, that stuff was absolute shite.
Mr Boyle finished our tour of the filthy cramped classrooms and led us to the back of the school and a big set of wooden double doors. I assumed that this was a gym, or a canteen. Wrong again, detective dickhead!
He pushed open the doors to reveal a pristine chapel capable of seating a couple of hundred people.
I let out an audible, “What the fuck?”
Mr Boyle shifted on his feet and proclaimed that this was the community church. We would have service here every Sunday and teachers were required to attend. “Praise band” would lead prayers here every morning before class, along with several church services throughout the week.
I decided to re-engage my skills of detection. “So it’s a very religious school then, Mr Boyle?”
He smiled warmly, with a hint of an apology.
“Of course. This is a missionary school for the church of John Roberts (fake name!) All our students will become missionaries and travel the world preaching the good word to the non-believers.”
An explosion went off in my head. I glanced at herself. She was calmly smiling, but her eyes, her eyes said, “LET’S GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!”
We both nodded politely and said “Aah, right. Great!”
Next time: Jewel of Denial