Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Korean holiday: Chuseok

[Pst, have you entered my latest contest, yet?  It's a quick Price-is-Right type of thing.  Give it a shot, winner gets a letter from me.]

I'm done with my work week already, as Thursday is a huge national holiday here in Korea: Chuseok - the Korean Thanksgiving. We also have off the days before and after the holiday (Wednesday and Friday), thus creating a five-day weekend.  I'll be staying at a hostel in Seoul tomorrow through Sunday with some other UW TTGs.  I'm really excited to explore the city (without having to commute in and out each day), but I do wish I were in better health.

I had the feeling I was getting sick (a cold) on Sunday, and apparently drinking airborne, orange juice, tea, and hot soup all day was not enough to scare it away.  I took it easy after school yesterday, and am doing the same now.  Although it's not the best timing to be sick during a holiday, I'd almost rather be sick now than during a whole week of teaching.  School weeks are so exhausting!

On Monday I had the Special Class by myself for the whole hour and forty minutes in the afternoon (after a full morning of four 6th grade classes), but somehow there was not time to finish everything I'd planned, and the students were much better behaved than last Monday.  So I'm feeling less worried about that class than I was before, but perhaps this week was a fluke.  I think about five students were absent, so that could have had an effect on behavior.

Today at lunch one of our dishes was a typical Chuseok treat: songpyeon (송편), pictured below.

Source: The View From Over Here
They are rice cakes stuffed with a sweet filling of ingredients such as honey, different types of nuts, cinnamon, black beans, and sesame seeds.  They're good!  I didn't find out what they were until after lunch though, so before I took my first bite I had no idea what sort of flavor to expect.

After my morning 5th grade classes with YJ, she told me to leave early that afternoon (no specific time).  Then she asked what time I finished class, and I told her that I had the two afternoon daycare classes today (which would end at 15:20).  So I just kind of brushed it off (was I to leave right after my daycare classes?) and we went to lunch (this is at 12:10).  After lunch, my co-teacher told me she would be leaving early that afternoon, so she showed me where to turn off the power strip when I leave, and reminded me to close all the windows as she and I normally do at 16:25 every day.  She didn't say anything to me about leaving right when I finish the daycare classes.  As I was setting up the board and materials for daycare, she left for the day (~ 13:30).

The bell rang to start class at 13:50 and it was just me, myself, and I in the room.  I waited for five minutes, then peered in the hall and could see YJ locking up her office to leave early.  I walked down and a third grade teacher (who sometimes speaks English to me) was helping YJ lock up.  I told him that I should have had class at 13:50 but nobody came.  (I was unsure if I should contact someone, or if they just forgot to tell me classes were cancelled.  My co-teacher has done a good job so far though of notifying me of any schedule changes in advance, but she was gone at this point.)  He just said oh, and have a good holiday.  I feel like he probably said "Go home early", but again nobody had specified at what time.  His room was all locked up, so I assumed they both were leaving for the day as I headed back to my empty classroom.  I decided to pack up my stuff, erase the board I had prepared for the class I didn't have, and assume that my 14:40 daycare class would not show up either.  So I left school around 14:15.  It felt a little strange, but I think it was okay to do.


Since I will be away until Sunday, I'll leave you with some photos I took this past Sunday on my walk, to procrastinate take a break from my lesson planning.  I do live in a town with buildings and stores, but on this particular walk I was exploring the streets through some farms/gardens near my apartment but away from town:


One more thing before I sign off -- is it just throughout the community of EFL teachers in Korea that this youtube video is so popular lately?  Has anyone else seen The Fox yet?  Take a look:

I guess the song was made as a joke, I don't know much more about its creation.  Some Korean teachers are showing it in their English classes, and I've read on a facebook group that some students are having trouble pronouncing "What's the fox say," and it sounds more like "What the f^@#" to native English speakers.  Haha enjoy!
• • •


  1. I don't get the craze at all, but I heard on the radio last week that this song is becoming pretty popular...

  2. It's from a norwegian comedy duo (brothers). They had a talk show and have other songs (some better than others, see the link below) and shenanigans (think The Lonely Island mixed with a Jimmy Kimmel/Fallon hybrid), like taking over the radio in taxis and singing about the passengers. My team is going in animal onesies to an upcoming tournament party, so they are pretty pumped about the dancing/singing opportunities that this video is making available.


    1. Ah, I didn't realize there were two in the group. Thanks for the link and keeping me in the loop! Sounds like great tournament costumes for a reenactment of this song -- have fun!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. You can only watch hulu in the USA, unfortunately!