This Wednesday, in the USA, is Groundhog Day. But in much of Asia, it's the beginning of the lunar New Year holiday. In Korea, New Year's Day is on Thursday, and it's called Seollal or 설날, and it's one of their biggest traditional holidays. Like Korean Thanksgiving, it's a 3-day event so that people have one day to travel to their hometown, one day to celebrate, and one day to get home. People spend time with their family, eat particular traditional foods such as tteokguk, a soup with sliced rice cake which is eaten for good luck. Some people wear the traditional hanbok outfit and play games like yutnori and jegi chagi. It would be interesting to experience Seollal while I'm here, but I have different plans.
I haven't taken my winter vacation yet, so tomorrow I am leaving for Australia! I can't quite describe how excited I am to go to the southern hemisphere where it is SUMMER. I will stay with my dear friend Scott who I haven't seen in years, and we already have the 2 weeks fairly mapped out. I fly into Melbourne where he lives, and then we will take a roadtrip to Sydney. Recently in the Lonely Planet online newsletter, they named this Southeastern part of Australia as one of the world's Ultimate Driving Holidays.
Okay, gotta get packing!