Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Chuseok!

This has been my second Chuseok in Korea and, as always, we go all out at Maple Bear! My kids got all dressed up in their hanboks, we played traditional Korean games and we talked about what families in Korea do for Chuseok. The top three ways to celebrate?

1. Play games. Preferably computer or nintendo, but if these are not available then the more traditional Korean Chuseok games- Unori, for example, where you throw sticks up in the air try to be the first to make it around the game board (that's the jist, I think).

2. Go to your Grandmother's house. This is totally accurate. The Friday before Chuseok you can pretty much count on bumper-to-bumper traffic from one end of the country to the other. There is a mass exodus of the entire city of Seoul as the 30 million inhabitants go back to the countryside where many of them are from to spend time eating and socializing with their entire family. My married Korean girlfriends tend to not look forward to this as much as their husbands. Why? "Because I have to cook all day long," my teaching partner, Jessica says.

3. Make songpyeon! This is a favourite for parents and children alike. If you, for some reason, have been reading my blog for awhile, maybe you remember my songpyeon experience last year, where I made the chewy Chuseok treat with my kinders. It was great! You start with warm rice dough (precooked), make a bite sized ball of dough, flatten it out a bit, and fill it with all sorts of stuff. Most popular fillings? Bean paste (sweet beans), honey, sesame seeds, raisins and nuts. We are, after all, celebrating the harvest season.

Here are some pics of my second Chuseok experience at Maple Bear:

Pretty Sally in her pretty hanbok.

Miss Jessica, explaining the concept of "Unori" to the kids.

Me and the hanbok'd maidens.

Jessica and the hanbok'd fellas.

Afternoon kindergarten- Sally, Rachel and Seri.

If you read this blog you will know about my "favourite picking" policy as a teacher. As long as the other kids never find out, no problem right? Right Eric?

The maybe not-so-traditional game of "get the ring around the pylon".

We made Korean style hackey sacks. They were the best part of our Chuseok celebration.

Toby in his hanbok. He likes to cuddle.

Bright Kim showing off his Chuseok baby picture to his friends. He was quite a fat little baby.

So how did I spend my holidays...? Nothing major, just visited the super cool, semi tropical, volcanic island of Jeju off the south coast. More on that later. Happy Chuseok!

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