There is no time I miss Korea more than during the holidays. One of the two major holidays in Korea is 추석 (Chuseok), the Korean thanksgiving. In this year’s lunar calendar it’s this Sunday, September 30th.
Chuseok is a day for Koreans to remember our ancestors (we have a special ceremony) and celebrate the year’s harvest (figuratively too). When we lived in Korea, my family would go to our grandma’s house for the weekend and visit our relatives who live nearby. We would literally make the rounds- going to seven or eight houses of our different relatives who each fed us a full traditional Korean meal.
For dessert, Koreans eat a special kind of dduk called 송편- Songpyeon (picture source). The shapes vary from region to region. It’s always fun to gather in the kitchen and mold these little rice flour dough and put the fillings (sweet grains and honey) inside. They are then steamed over a boiling pot.
I so badly want to go home. I haven’t celebrated a Korean holiday at home for the last seven years- Chuseok or the Lunar New Year. I checked airplane tickets to fly out and they are about $1700 last minute. Not bad, but we have another exam coming up. And I can’t just fly to Korea last minute, missing classes and getting jet-lagged both ways.
I have no family here in America which means both Thanksgiving and Christmas just fly on by for me. We do “celebrate” it but not the way Americans do- or the way we do back home in Korea with our families. Sometimes during the holidays I feel like The Little Match Girl looking into everyone’s happy family moments from the cold snowy outside.
So I’m in Philadelphia. Thinking of home. Happy Chuseok everyone.