21 September 2008

Chuseok- Korean Thanksgiving

I had a week off in September. This was a nice break. I decided to spend my time relaxing and exploring Korea. When ever we have time off  from Changnyeong English Camp our boss likes us to write a report on what we have done with our time. Our reports are sent to the local county office. I am not sure if anybody reads them but I guess it is good that we have to write them because I can post them on here!
Chusok Thanksgiving Holiday
Rebecca Rhone
15th September – 19th September
Chusok, also known as the Korean Thanksgiving, is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Chusok means a great day in the middle of August. It occurs during the harvest season. Thus, Korean families take this time to thank their ancestors for providing them with rice and fruits.
The celebration starts on the night before Chusok and ends on the day after the holiday. Thus, many Korean families take three days off from work to get together with family and friends.
The celebration starts with a family get-together at which rice cakes called "Songphyun" are served. These special rice cakes are made of rice, beans, sesame seeds, and chestnuts.Then the family pays respect to ancestors by visiting their tombs and offering them rice and fruits. In the evening, children wear their favorite hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) and dance under the bright moon in a large circle. They play games and sing songs. Like the American Thanksgiving, Chusok is the time to celebrate the family and give thanks for their blessings.
Diary Entry
Monday15th September
Today I spent the day in Daegu with my friend David. We decided to take a trip to down-town on David’s scooter. I was extremely surprised when I saw that down town was tremendously busy. Most of the shops and restaurants were open for the holidays. We ate lunch at a traditional Korean restaurant. After lunch I thought it would be exciting if we spent the day at Woobang Land. I love amusement parks and I have always really enjoyed frightening rides. In the late afternoon I and David took the Sky lift to Woobang Tower. This was really nice as the journey to the Tower was incredible enjoyable because we were able to see a great view of the city. We had some drinks in the Tower’s main restaurant and decided that we would come back to Woobang Tower the next day to eat at the restaurant as we thought it would be pleasant thing to do.

Tuesday 16th September
I slept in till early afternoon today, which was lazy of me but I guess that’s what holidays are for! David and I went on a little explore around Daegu on Davids scooter. It was nice to get out of the city and see more of Daegu’s countryside. It was very pretty and the weather was lovely. After our exploring we decided to go back to Woobang Tower. The restaurant was closed but there was still plenty to see and do. I noticed that the Sky Jump was open and I became intrigued. The Sky Jump is a certified height of 123meters approximately 10 seconds fall. It has been described as “base jumping by wire.” I was incredibly nervous and extremely excited at the same time. Would I been able to go through with the jump? I decided to go up to the platform where other people were taking the jump. They looked exceptionally frightened but they also looked like they were enjoying themselves. I decided to pay for my jump. It was forty thousand won. Shortly after I paid I was given a jump suit and harness to wear. There was no turning back now. As I walked to the edge of the platform I suddenly was overcome by fear, no excitement just pure fear! I was absolutely terrified. Before I knew it I was falling 123 meters. The adrenalin kicked in and I was having a fantastic experience. As I reached the floor I couldn't believe what I had just done. It was out of this world and I can’t wait to do it again soon!

Wednesday 17th September
This morning I woke up at 10am. David had to go to work today so I decided to go shopping in Daegu and then travel back to Changnyeong. I spent the day wondering around the shops buying some essentials for myself and gifts for my   family.

Thursday 18th September
Today I woke up at 9.30. Chelsey and I decided to go to Busan. Cheslsey had not been to any beaches in Korea yet. I thought Haeundae beach would be the perfect beach to visit first as it is gorgeous. We arrived in Busan around mid-day. We headed straight to the Haeundae where we spent the majority of the day. We went swimming in the sea and built a couple of sand castles. When we realized we had gotten a little sun burnt we decided it would be best to have some dinner in the shade and then make our way back to Changnyeong.
Friday 19th September
Today all the staff at English Camp decided to go for a meal together in Changnyeong. The meal was delicious and we all had a great. Over lunch we all decided that were interested in buying scooters. I have wanted to buy a scooter for a while but have never seemed too got around to purchasing one. We decided that we all would shop for scooters together in Daegu on Saturday. After the meal I decided to spend the rest of Friday in Daegu. When I arrived in Daegu I met up with David and we decided to look at scooters. We went to a couple of scooter shops and had no luck. We decided to call it a day and to continue to look the next day with the other staff from English Camp. I was very excited with the prospect of purchasing a scooter of my own.

Overall I had a fantastic week and I am very grateful for the extra vacation. I was able to go and sight see and do activities that I have been meaning to accomplish for a while. I also feel that this extra free time allowed all the staff at English Camp to become more comfortable and relaxed with one another. As well this vacation allowed me to recharge my energy batteries which were inevitably needed! Thank you once again.  

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