I have been in Korea for nine years but I will be celebrating my tenth Chuseok this weekend. My first Chuseok was in 2003 and it was unforgettable. Why is it so? Because my husband had to work until the day before the big event, we couldn’t get train tickets in advanced. We rode the train with standing tickets and since all the cars were full, we had to stand close to the door!
On my first Chuseok, which was less than a month after I arrived in Korea, I felt excited at first. My husband told me that it is one of the most special holidays in Korea. He didn’t tell me about the work associated with it. I was okay being told what to do in the kitchen but when I was told to serve food on the table, I felt really bad. That was then though and my perception about things have changed.
It took me time to adjust and accept my role as a “food server” during our holidays here. It took me time to realize that my sisters-in-law were doing so much more. My first sister-in-law had the most duties and she had so much pressure before, during and even after the celebrations.
I don’t view “Chuseok” the same way as before. I don’t dread it anymore. I think of it as a chance to bond with my sisters-in-law and learn more about life as an “ajumma” or a married woman in Korea.
To everyone, “Happy Chuseok”! It is truly a thanksgiving holiday for me. I just have so much to be thankful for!