Annyong! It’s almost Lunar New Year here in Korea (Jan. 26), which means the entire country is about to usher in the Year of the Ox.
Seollal, as it is called, is arguably the biggest holiday in Korea. Families leave their hectic lives in the city and head to the countryside to visit parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and in-laws. They give large boxed gift sets of oranges, apples, rice paper, perfume, plum wine, lotions, soaps, and even Spam. How Spam made it to Korea is beyond me or my comprehension. But it’s here, and sold in bulk at the Lunar New Year.
Families dress their children in hanbok, or traditional dress clothes; they play traditional games–hundreds of years old; they visit, bring food, cigarettes and alcohol, and bow to their ancestors’ burial mounds in the mountains (what happens to this food and drink I’ve yet to figure out..my kids always look at me like I’m crazy when I ask).
Women work around the clock to serve their in-laws–cooking, cleaning, boiling, frying, and entertaining. It’s not New Year’s for them. It’s Labor Day.
But for me, a Westerner living in the Far East, it’s a time to really start to my New Year’s Resolutions. Because, you see, they never seem to go the way I plan the first time around. On Jan. 1, when they are supposed to go in effect, they usually start with a bang and fizzle by the second day. Yep. Not even a week for me and they’re out the window.
This year I promised myself I would run more diligently. Get my butt away from the computer, away from my camera and books and delivery food and Grey’s Anatomy and the Daily Show and just get out the door with my running shoes. It’s easy from there.
But now that I’m in my second year of celebrating the Lunar New Year, I think I’ve got it figured out. See, the first month is just a “soft launch” of my resolutions (I accidentally called them reservations when I explained this theory to Whit today and I think there is something to that). It’s Lunar New Year when they really start.
So for all you out there who are a little too much like me and lack some serious discipline and follow-through, well, I’ve got good news. That was just a soft launch! So get back to the drawing board. Re-write that list (this time make it more practical). And let’s resolve to make our resolutions a reality.
PS..if this time doesn’t work well then there’s nothing more I can do. I guess it was just a failed product and it’s a good thing I had that soft launch to at least try it out.
PPS. My sister Kathryn is coming for a visit TOMORROW! Loads of photos and good memories to be posted soon.
PPPS. I wanted to punch a child today. Is that wrong?