Saturday, September 17, 2005

Chuseok Weekend..

It's 추석(Thanksgiving) weekend here in Korea, and supposedly the most important of the holidays--even more so than Christmas (which is not really celebrated, I am told.) Last night, I gave Susan, my director, a Chuseock gift--a crystal necklace and earring set that I found in downtown while running errands Friday morning. She adored it! The teachers gave her a cosmetic gift of some sort---and in turn, Susan gave us each a big box of Paris Baguette sweet rolls and 50 Won to play with. It's sort of like Christmas, I like it!

I realize my last post was really dreary--who can blame a teacher wanting to make sense of everything when everyone is speaking in Korean? I've settled a bit on my feelings, and decided to spend my last work day (before the holidays) REALLY trying to listen and interact in Korean.. well, sure enough, it didn't work too well. But I talked quite a bit to my co-workers in English, and everyone seemed rather giddy because of the holidays.. and perhaps too because I was interacting with them consistantly between my class teachings.

I realize also that I've had to make a change in the way I see these people. They speak Korean because they're used to it. I'm the foreigner, so I'm the odd man out--but if I speak to them consistantly in English, will they not be forced to practice it? Right. Like you can't tell your significant other they have to lose weight by telling them. You have to go out and exercize with them. Likewise, I can't just tell my co-workers to speak in English. I have to take their hands and speak English to them. It's the only way they'll practice it, and the only way I'm going to stop feeling lonely and pitiful from listening to nothing but Korean all day.

Good remedy? I think so. Thank goodness I can think clearly occasionally. I'm off to Andong this weekend to visit with Seungbo's family---I surely don't want to be home alone on this Thanksgiving weekend! So we're sure to eat lots of good Korean food--hopefully I won't make a fool of myself trying to speak Korean either. Later everybody!! ;)


spark said...

good luck with the korean. i understand what you mean about feeling like the 'odd man out'.
having been born in seoul (30 years ago)...i am to return this october. my grasp of the language is poor. my comprehension and speaking is at a grade 2 or 3 level.
i figure i will feel just like you when i arrive.


ps. as a side note, my pal ryan says that the korean language looks like lab sorta does.

Chelsea said...

Thanks, Spark. So are you Korean-American, or..? Where are you living now? I think even if you have a pretty good understanding of the language,it'll be just like riding a bike--you'll be back in the saddle in no time :)

The Korean language as lab equipement--I might have to agree: you have to treat it delicately, but when you have a good handle on it, you'll be surprised at what you discover!

spark said...

I am Korean-Canadian, born in Seoul in 1974, moved to chilly Edmonton Alberta at the tender age of 1. From there we moved to the much warmer climate of Calgary and then in the midst Grunge rock we moved to Vancouver B.C. - I still live in Vancouver and work 'making internet' for a large financial institution.
My favorite color is blue and I think cats are cute.

Getting ready for this trip - I have been reading many, many blogs, they have been very informative and amusing.

I should go make some internet now.