Well, in the States, Thanksgiving weekend is huge! We get a couple days off, and several years out I have spent my time flying hurriedly through some assignment or another, be it Nanowrimo, my thesis outline, or you know, whatever.
This time, of course, I didn’t have time off, but I did have an excellent weekend, complete with some serious mountain trekking. (I don’t want to say climbing, because I wasn’t climbing, but walking, or hiking, even, seems a little less potent. It was definitely a TREK.)
First, I had an exciting Thanksgiving dinner, Korean style, in Songchong-dong, where my coworker’s sister lives. There’s a traditional restaurant there that serves duck, which is the closest thing to turkey (except chicken) that we could find. So we ate a really delicious, traditional Korean meal, complete with traditional Korean excessive drinking. (Which was not such a good idea on a Thursday night.) I think perhaps the goal of the traditional Korean meal is to cover every inch of the table in some kind of dish or bottle, and if the entire table isn’t full, then it simply hasn’t been done correctly.
The two girls on the left are my coworker and her sister. Then the guy in the back is Jannie, probably one of my favorite people ever. I don’t know everyone at the table, but there is Simon on the right, who went home this week.
Anyway, we had an excellent time chowing down. Here’s Becca and I… Native Speaking Queens of Little Fox, stuffing our faces after we just found out that we only have 4 (nonconsecutive) days off for the holiday season–as opposed to our contacted 5 (consecutive) days. But, as I hear, welcome to the world of Hagwon teaching. I giggle now to think that I specifically requested a hagwon job–but that’s international life. You never know until you get there. There are some things you just can’t plan for. “The Tao is content with the most base places, like water it moves to the lowest places and rests.” (I can never quote that right, but the meaning stays the same.) Technically Korea is Confucian, but these two things influence each other very closely. Korea is the country of zero complaints. You can’t complain to anyone to their faces. So the goal is to get things to change by talking around. Shame is a very powerful weapon, but if you yourself cause shame on another, the shame really lands on you. Thus everyone tries to fit into their own molds perfectly, and let society collectively place shame on the people that can’t.
Or so I imagine. It’s easy to imagine that society moves as one consecutive unit when you are quite outside of it. Anyway, more on my Jirisan trip later… for now I just wanted to post about Thanksgiving, and give you some pictures. There are Jirisan pictures posted on Facebook, but I’ll put them up again here in a few days.