Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chuseok (추석) on Namhae Island

I spent just one day at work this week (Monday), because "Korean Thanksgiving"or Chuseok (추석)--the Korean harvest festival--happened in the middle of the week. Since the celebration is based on the full moon, the time of the holiday changes every year. Last year, two of the three holidays fell on a weekend, which sucked--Koreans don't "observe"holidays during the week if the holiday happens to fall on the weekend, which is frustrating/speaks to the workworkwork mentality here TT With only one day off last year, I wasn't able to do much of anything except do a quick temple stay in Seoul with my co-teacher, Jenny.

This year fortunately enough, all three holidays days fell squarely in the middle of the week, which was great! My friends and I were able to travel to Namhae (남해) Island, in the far South of South Korea:

With less than 50,000 residents, Namhae is much like Jeju Island in geography, with none of the kitschy museums and a lot more farmland. And for all of you Lost fans: apparently Jin is from Namhae. Remember when he goes into the sticks to meet his fisherman father that one time? Yup, that's where I was!

Transition. I love my friends in Korea. Together, we are one weird-ass bunch, but I really enjoy the extreme randomness of our motley crew/realize that I probably would never hang out with these people, together, anywhere else but here. Though the attendees on these little excursions changes a little every time, this time around there was
  • Bob: 60-ish, American, U.S. Army Vet, ex-chef for Caribbean Cruises, with over 20+ years of experience teaching special education at home
  • Brendan: late 20s, American, devout Catholic, conservative, Glenn Beck/Ayn Rand enthusiast
  • Anthony: late 20s, Korean, lived in New Zealand for 6 years, worldly, patient, and kind to a fault
  • Matt: mid 30s, quiet, bookish Australian, current Namhae resident and our host for three days or so
  • Me: 23, American, derelict, washed-up misanthrope hobo woman
Some highlights:
  • Watching amateurs Anthony and Brendan attempt to civilly clean the tiny fish they caught, which Bob was able to make into a delicious, simple whitefish soup
Brendan and Tony: City boys gone country
  • Driving around in a rental car, visiting a few of the island's temples in the rain
Lovely, even in the rain


Brendan getting all artsy with his camera angles
  • Eating/drinking away the first rainy night at Matt swanky/huge apartment: Bob made American-style steaks and French fries the first night, with spaghetti and chicken parmesan on the second
Bob, the best chef ever
  • Hitting up Namhae's hopping bar scene (I counted three bars in total on main street), where I got to try Southern South Korean soju brand Good Day
좋은 means "good" in Korean
  • Hiking up to this temple, which was GORGEOUS

Spectacular view from the top

Islands everywhere

In the clouds

Eves + rock


  • Lounging around on a completely deserted beach for an afternoon
The water was cold

No screaming children for the win!
  • Listening to Southern South Koreans talk: they have a (barely perceptible to me) accent that Seoul-born Anthony found very amusing
  • This quote from Anthony: "Sometimes doing the naughty things makes me feel great freedom" (spoken as Anthony tipsily contemplated stealing a piece of yard furniture for Matt's apartment)
  • Feeling like a majorly spoiled city slicker the entire time, THROWN INTO THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE with no subway/restaurants/cafes
Altogether, a welcome getaway from Seoul with delicious food + fun friends + a slight sunburn

1 comment:

  1. HAHAhahaha!"23, American, derelict, washed-up misanthrope hobo woman" hahahahaha

    glad you had a great chuseok getaway. miss you! xo