Happy New Year!

Tue Jan 20, 2004

Er, that’s happy Lunar new year, for those who are scratching their heads at my apparent lapse of chronological acuity. This means a cinq jours vacance pour moi, a much needed vacation, yes oh yes oh yes. The reason I haven’t written for a while is because I’d just be complaining about stuff and quite frankly I have better things to do. Things are going okay I guess, those boys in the morning class are really good and should actually be a couple of levels up, but somehow they got put in the lowest level, probably because they were really shy at first and were assessed incorrectly. Today was cool, all the kindergarten kids dressed up in their hanboks (traditional costumes) and learned how to bow correctly to their parents. It’s a sign of deep respect, but it’s also a request for money and good fortune. The parents then present them with some money in a red envelope. I took some pictures I’ll put up on the site soon. Then they made mandu (dumplings), sang songs and played traditional games. In the kitchen Alice dropped all the mandu they had made on the floor, but this incident quickly became an incident that never happened if you know what I mean. I hope I didn’t eat it for lunch though.

Our Won Jang Nim gave us the most inappropriate New Years gift….a wholesale box of pears. Not little Western-style pears, but big Korean-style soccer-ball sized pears, about twenty of them packed in a 20kg box. Most of the teachers couldn’t lug it home on the bus, most of us live alone and don’t need twenty pears and were quite miffed at Won Jang Nim’s cheapo present because obviously her husband’s friend works on a Pear farm and was getting rid of some stock. But we couldn’t disrespect our director so we took ‘em and will be making Pear jam, Pear pie and Pear fruit salad for the next few months. Well…I won’t, but you get the idea. I asked Debbie if there was going to be a cool Dragon parade for the lunar new year like they have in Chinatown in Vancouver, but I’m becoming such a wilfully ignorant anthropologist graduate, of course they don’t have dragons in Korean culture, that’s Chinese. They don’t have anything really cool happening in the city for New Years as far as I know…. and in Paju….well, let’s just say I wasn’t sorry I missed the recent black bean festival.

Actually it’s been snowing quite a bit on and off over the past week or so and right now it’s snowing heaps. It really makes things look quite pristine and in Guemchon all the garbage on the streets is transformed into these wonderfully intricate white hillocks, quite beautiful and quite odourless. Out in the woods and up by the graveyards it’s really nice, lots of virgin snow where no-one dare tread.

By the way, for those of you in Vancity, this means you dad (can I have a ride from the airport pleeeeez!!!!) I’m flying back on the 25th February. The children’s graduation is in the morning and in the afternoon I fly out! Crazy ‘ey, they’re really not keeping me around longer than necessary.



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