Sunday, September 18, 2011

September I hardly knew ye

Cripes! The start of a new term at work, my internet throwing successive tantrums, a recent trip out of the country, and my general laziness and tendency to say, "Naw, I'll write something tomorrow" has led to an unintended two and a half week hiatus. Whoops. So I figured I needed to sit myself down and get something out before this month just completely passes me by.

First and foremost: Fall is here! It arrived exactly thirteen days ago on a Monday morning. How do I know this? Because fall is just that awesome. It comes with a crispness in the air and a coolness that you can feel even under the remaining summer heat. It's not pushy though like Winter which comes barreling in to set up camp for four months. It pops up, gives you a quick wink to let you know it's in town, and then lets Summer fade out. When I came downstairs that Monday morning I paused for a second and oh hey, there it was. Fall is the best season ever and I'm so so happy I'm abroad in a country that experiences a beautiful Autumn like the one back home.

And to ring in the harvest season, Korea celebrated Chuseok (추석) this past week. Chuseok is a three-day holiday that you'll hear most foreigners describe as the Korean Thanksgiving. Everyone goes back to their hometowns (or as most of my kids said to "grandma's house" wherever that may be) to spend time with family and in the words of my students to "eat yummy foods". It's one of the most important Korean holidays.

The holiday this year was from Sunday the 11th to Tuesday the 13th so a group of us girls from work took the opportunity to take a mini-vacation to Shanghai. You'd think that considering we'd only just started the new term we wouldn't be in need of a break yet but those first couple weeks are tiring so it was a more than welcome stay away. More on that adventure soon! That is when I actually finish up on Vietnam. Heh.

CDI always makes up missed class days though so I had to work both days this weekend which was not too fun. Luckily I only had one class today though that was out by 1:30pm so I'm spending the rest of the day relaxing and catching my breath. Literally. Somehow I came down with bronchitis and I have a real nasty cough and that obnoxious chest pain. Dr. Google and her associates however recommend basic home treatment like liquids and rest so I'm holding off on a trip to the pharmacy just yet. So far sitting next to my humidifier is helping a lot actually. In the event of needing more than just charades and coughing at the pharmacist though, this site seems to offer a decent Korean-English dictionary for medical terms. Or at least it's a Korean-English dictionary for medical terms. Whether or not those terms are accurate I haven't a clue...

So that's that in my life right now. I anticipate the next few months being pretty busy but I want to make sure to share some more of what's been happening lately. My first ever K-pop concert! Flying in style and delicious food in Shanghai! A visit to a house shaped like a giant toilet!

At least one of those adventures means I forever have the perfect ice breaker for awkward situations at parties. This really has been a successful year.

Trivia of the Day: Ganggangsullae (강강술래) is a 5,000-year-old Korean dance that was first used to bring about a bountiful harvest and has developed into a cultural symbol for Korea. It incorporates singing, dancing, and playing and is exclusively performed by women. The dance is mostly performed in the southwestern coastal province of Jeollanam-do. It is often associated with the Chuseok holiday and Daeboreum. Traditionally, this dance is performed only by women at night without any instruments. Young and old women dance in a circle at night under the moonlight. They go outside in traditional Korean clothing, hold each other's hands, make a circle, and start rotating clockwise. The lead singer sings a line and everyone sings the refrain 'ganggangsullae'. The song tempo progressively becomes faster. They sing about their personal hardships, relationships, and desires. During the dance, the women play a variety of games. The dance can last until dawn.


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  2. Thanks so much :) Glad you enjoy reading them!