Happy Peppero Day

So yesterday was Peppero day, one of the many silly holidays in South Korea. Well, I think they are silly anyway, but who am I to talk? The United States has an entire month dedicated to ice cream. I participate in Peppero day every year. I think it’s a fun way to interact with students almost as fun as Halloween. There may not be any dressing up but everyone is eating cookies and in good spirits. The holiday has only been celebrated for 15 years. One of my adult students told me that it wasn’t around when he was in elementary school but by the time he was in high school it was a very popular holiday. He also told me that it is for children and that he had never received a Peppero gift because he didn’t have a girlfriend in high school. I tried to convey that Peppero day is no longer a couples holiday. It is now more like Halloween even though it may have started off closer to Valentine’s day.

Another student delighted me by explaining that 11/11 is a day for tall people to give food to short people to help them grow taller. My youngest students inquired for the pencils, pens, colored pencils, flutes, wands, and long rice cakes I was also giving to them. Apparently anything that looks like a ‘1’ can be given as a gift, I had never heard that. I gave all my students Pepperos and then old students stopped by to eat some as well. I was also given some but they didn’t last long!

Happy Peppero day! May you grow as tall as the Summer days are long. 🙂IMG_1916

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Buddha creates a three day weekend and multiple parades!

I doubt that Buddha was born with the idea of lotus lanterns and decorated temples. Most of our students are Christian and few celebrate Buddha. Most students see it as an opportunity for additional sleep, food consumption, and TV with mom time. Taking this into consideration, there were many people at the festival we went to. The Lotus Lantern Festival takes place in Seoul. 300,000 people march the streets of Seoul with glowing lanterns and animated parade floats (there was a dragon that breathed fire!). 30,000 of these people are not from Korea. It was startling to see all the outsiders. Living in a small foreigner community I forget that there are hoards of us here, just not here in Gochang. (In Gochang, I often fight the urge to wave and smile at foreign tourists I see at the fortress.)

The following weekend (last weekend) was Angus’ Birthday so four of us headed to Busan. We go beach! Beach nice. Beach fun! After a five hour trip and one bus change we ended at the empty looking Dove Hotel Good Stay! Good stays are hotels that have received an award from the government about how awesome it is to stay there. Well I guess they got the award a few years back. It looked like they had a cafe at one point but it closed. This actually concerned me at first. It looked like the hotel had closed down- which would suck because we had paid for two rooms for two nights! Luckily it was not closed but there was some confusion about our rooms and what we had paid. I left this conversation to the boys and took a walk outside.

When I came back we all climbed into a half elevator, even with the attendant. When I got in the elevator doors closed on me, hard. These doors had it out for us. I believe by the end of the trip everyone had gotten smashed by the doors.

Busan was awesome. We went to the beach- I love the beach. Jim brought a baseball so we played catch! We went to a giant aquarium and shopping mall! We saw The Great Gatsby! The mall closed on us while we were at the movies so we had to get three security guards to help us get our stuff. We went dancing and bar hopping. We went to an arcade. We ate delicious food. We had a blast!