Technically starting yesterday, Chuseok (also known as Hangawi) is a three-day Holiday celebrating the harvest. Traditionally Koreans celebrate by spending time with family, visiting ancestral hometowns, and eating traditional foods like songpyeon (a crescent shaped rice cake steamed over pine needles). Chuseok is seen around the city with the numerous flags lining every major street, local park festivities, and children walking around wearing hanboks. Chuseok is also a time to give gifts, and many of the teachers received gifts from their students (or their students parents). I got instant coffee and lavender-scented hand lotion. I clearly need to smile at these kids more, or give them better scores on their tests.
As one of the most important Korean holidays, Chuseok is one of the three breaks I am expecting to get this year. Conveniently it lined up with National Foundation Day this Wednesday, so I have a five day weekend! Since we have no ancestor’s graves nearby, my coworkers and I are celebrating through a variety of manners. While I skipped out on a couple of the nights out and the War Memorial yesterday, I joined them for a trip to Everland today. I also have plans for a Twins game tomorrow (LG Twins, that is). I also have done my best to get some dancing done, which will be continued Wednesday night.
Everland is certainly an adventure. As one of two amusement parks in Seoul, it draws a huge crowd the day after a public Holiday. It also often gives discounts to foreigners, so a flash of your passport or Alien Registration Card (ARC) can save you a quick 10,000w. Once inside Everland is not much different from any other amusement park. It had areas with different themes: “European Adventure”, “American Adventure”, “Zoo-topia”, etc. However, unlike any previously visited amusement park, I went on a roller coaster at Everland. My first roller coaster. Ever.
…it wasn’t actually that big of a deal. Yes, I liked it. No, it was not a life-changing experience. However, due to this blemish on my previously clean slate of roller-coastering, Everland will always hold a place in my heart.
The rest of my Chuseok plans involve the Twins game tomorrow, maybe a night out with friends, likely some dancing, hopefully some sleeping, probably some running, and definitely a bowl of fruit loops.
And for those of you that care, I guess it’s only fair to give you a short update of my life not yet immortalized in this blog. Here it is: Yes, I’m having a lot of fun here and don’t plan on coming back tomorrow. I do not have a phone yet, that should happen next week if all goes well. I have gotten connected with a great church that a friend from work goes to. I do not speak Korean yet. Fortunately, I am starting classes at said church this Sunday. I’m dancing as much as I can, which so far is just weekends. I may start dances classes soon as well.
Anything else I should add? Any specific thing you would like to hear about?