This week is a one-day work week! It's Korean Thanksgiving, or Chuseok, on Wednesday. On this holiday, people go back to their hometowns to spend time with family. They visit ancestors' graves and make offerings of food. Then they eat a large meal with many side dishes. The signature Chuseok food is songpyeon, traditional rice cakes. There are many different kinds, and can be plain or include sweet sesame filling, nuts, fruit, or red bean. We made songpyeon as a staff today at work since we had no classes. We made the green kind, which is rice flour with mugwort for color. You make balls, shape them, fill them, pinch the ends together, then steam them for about 20 minutes.
Oh, notice how I'm wearing a hat? Yeah, still pretty upset about the haircut. Sigh. Anyway, you can see the difference in color before and after cooking the green songpyeon.
The grocery stores feel the same way that they do right before Thanksgiving in the U.S. Crowded with people and big displays and a sort of palpable buzz. Here they sell lots of boxes of fruit, mushrooms, spam, tuna, and other assorted gift packs.
For those of us who don't have family obligations for Chuseok, it's the perfect time to take a little trip! I'm going to Jeju Island tomorrow, which is off the southern tip of Korea. I first read about it on my flight from Seattle to Seoul in the in-flight magazine, wondering if I would ever go there. It is touted as the polynesia or Hawaii of Korea. Beaches, lava rocks, traditional female divers, striking cliffs, and the tallest mountain in the country. I've heard good things and I'm pretty excited.
I'm trying not to let the negativity of the last couple days permeate my week any more. If I wanted to focus on the negative, I would point out that it is supposed to rain all week. On my BEACH holiday! When I am supposed to finally go CAMPING for the first time this year! And that I'm going with my ex boyfriend, because we already had tickets and plans and well, neither of us wanted to go alone or waste the ticket money, so... It's pretty ironic considering it's the "honeymoon" island and prime destination for couples. Instead of getting frustrated, I'm trying to take a lighthearted approach. I'm working on my attitude adjustment. And having a few days off will probably help. Wish me luck!
And Happy Chuseok!