Thursday, September 23, 2010

추석 잘 지내세요! (Chuseok Chal Chinesaeyo! -- Chuseok Well Do It!)

'Lei ho ma!' from Hong Kong everyone! It’s Wednesday night here and so much as happened since my last post. We’ll get to Hong Kong in a sec…

First thing’s first—why it is that I’m even in Hong Kong:

I mentioned Chuseok (추석basically Thanksgiving for Koreans—as such, [like everyday] the Korean outfits blow North Americans’ garbs [pioneer’s hat {with the buckle on the front} and headdress obviously excluded] outta the water) in my last post (good luck following all the brackets).

From what I understand it’s time taken to give thanks for the past year’s harvest and also to remember past relatives and ancestors as well as honour the eldest members of the family. For the modern Korean, that means three days off work during which there’s a general mass exodus of Seoul to outlying regions with the purpose of visiting relatives both close and distant. For the average Korean woman, it means a shitonne (new word: shitonne: (n) derived from the two words ‘shit’ and 'tonne’ meaning a ‘tonne of shit’ [colloq. for a great quantity of people, places or things]. Note: the (correct) Canadian spelling of the word ‘tonne’ is the product of the creator of such genius to originate from (the best country) Canada.) of preparation while tending to everything else for the family her usual duties. Although I did read an article on the plane about how women are beginning to voice their discontent with the imbalanced gender roles during Chuseok (according to the article, during preparations, the men can usually be found playing cards or watching television)… soooo can I get a ‘whoop whoop!’ from my sister suffragettes?

Ok that’s enough.

Where was I? Chuseok? There’s way to pray (probably the wrong verb... remember...?), a way to bow, a way to offer the food to the ancestors… I learned the bow at school; you can see the children demonstrating the intensity of it below:

Here’s one more adorable picture for good measure:

The 9 children I'm adopting

…Vying for ‘Most Important Holiday’ along side Lunar New Year, Chuseok is definitely the first a welcome break for workers in Korea this year. So for the average expatriate, it means big travel plans or staying in Seoul and doing what he or she does every day he or she doesn’t go into work: partying hard. Rather impulsively, I switched camps from the ladder to the former just four short days before the break and consequently I’m now writing to you—of course with a stomach full of dim sum—from the wonderful ex-British colony of Hong Kong.

That’s how I got here. Next post title? Holy Shit, I’m in Hong Kong.

For now here’s a colourful, visual summation of my job description:

"happily" drowning in children

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