It's the first weekend of my week-long Chusok holiday! Chusok is apparently like the Korean thanksgiving. Most people go spend the day (this year, the actual Chusok day is Tuesday the 25th) with their families, so traffic is pretty bad that day, I guess. A lot of the SIS teachers use this week to travel, but I decided to stay in Seoul, mostly because it cost so much to ship my stuff over. But it's nice to have some time to relax and see Seoul.
It's traditional to give presents to family and people who work for you on Chusok, so at Costco and GS Mart, there are all sorts of Chusok gifts you can give. It's amazing what kinds of things are available to give! They have gift packs of almost anything you can think of: alcohol, socks, handtowels, tuna, oil (canola, grapeseed), tuna, Spam, soap, toothbrushes, etc. My boss, Mr. Kim, got presents for all the teachers, which was very nice...12 gigantic Asian pears! So every teachers has got pears coming out of their ears. We're all bringing a pear to lunch, eating them for breakfast, etc. I just have one left (I gave 6 of mine away and 2 of them went bad before I ate it), but it's been a struggle! Then, a few days after we got the pears, someone (I'm assuming a parent) got 10 pounds of sweet potatoes to give to all the teachers! Luckily I found someone else to take mine right away...I'm not a big sweet potato eater!
It's also pretty common to give Chusok presents to teachers, especially elementary teachers. I didn't get anything this year, but a couple of years ago the school had to put a limit on how much teachers were getting. One of the teachers I work with has a husband who teaches 1st grade at SIS and apparently he would get a TON of stuff. So much that she and he would have to make a couple of trips to get it all home! Not anymore though.