American Thanksgiving in Korea

Teaching on Thanksgiving

Well, obviously Thanksgiving is an American holiday and therefore I had a full day of work to look forward to.  Korea has their version of Thanksgiving called Chuseok, which I mentioned in an earlier blog.  However, that holiday has way more meaning/ancestor-related events tied to it.  So, for my peace of mind, I wanted to rectify this notion that Chuseok is the Korean Thanksgiving.  I mean it’s a day to eat, and that’s as far as the similarities go, in my opinion.  I gave my classes a powerpoint presentation that briefly explained why Americans celebrate Thanksgiving (the pilgrims and the Indians) followed by over 20 slides on all the food that is eaten.  Boy was I unprepared for trying to explain the taste/constistancy of some of these foods: gravy (like a thick sauce? No not sweet, no not spicy), cranberry sauce (like a bitter jelly, with a texture like tofu?), turkey (like chicken?), the different type of pies (um…sweet! And delicious!), pecan (it’s a nut…), and green beans (…asparagus? No, I don’t know why it doesn’t look like a bean…).  Well for the classes that cared and for the co-teachers that helped translate, it made for interesting questions from the class…also a lot of students sighing and going “ooohhhh  mashitta….”  (oh delicious).  I feel only a little bad for my poor students that had to watch this before lunch…

Thanksgiving in My Village

Well, the foreigners in my village (all 6 of us now with the new edition–which quickly dropped back to 3), decided that we should meet up to have a Thanksgiving of sorts.  What was kind of good for us, I think, is that all of us are Americans.   Being that we’re in a village (rather than a town or city), we had to get creative with the menu.  Each of us volunteered to bring something.  I volunteered to bring deserts (I guess that’s no surprise to those of you that are aware of my crazy sweet-tooth).  The newest girl to our town offered to host it in her place (which was awesome because she’s in a 3 bedroom apartment and the rest of us are in…some not-so luxurious accommodations).  She and the other female in my town are vegetarians and thus wanted a menu with something they could eat.  So one of them made deviled eggs (made with yogurt…not sure how that was accomplished) and homemade applesauce (which was absolutely divine!).  The hostess made tofu and rice.  The guy I talk to the most in my town bought fried chicken and kimbap.  The other guy, who is super cool and I talk to the most online, ordered pizza and pasta.  The pizza came with 2 liters of coke (2 1-liter bottles), and thus completed our meal.  We watched the Asian Games. (If you can’t tell by the title, its like the Olympics but only for all the countries in Asia).  The night of food and TV was great and it was interesting getting to know them in-person a little more.

Thanksgiving in Hadong

Getting to Hadong was quite the adventure!  I took a bus to Daegu then a taxi to the downtown area.  I walked to Home Plus, a giant grocery store/Wal-Mart type thing with some imported foods (because I needed to buy Pace salsa (yep it’s there), chips, mayonnaise, and mustard). I stayed the night in Daegu (got a hotel for 30,000 won~$30), and then got on the subway in the morning.  After the subway, I went to a different bus terminal in Daegu to go to another city where I changed buses and then I was in Hadong!  Quite the adventure, as I said.

So for this Saturday Thanksgiving dinner, there were a lot of us and, boy, were we diverse: 4 Americans, 1 Canadian, 1 British, 1 Irish, and 1 Thai.  It was entertaining to explain and share a Thanksgiving for the 4 people who had never experienced it before (and some got to experience new foods).  The food was absolutely amazing and very close to a real American Thanksgiving.  I made deviled eggs, which were eaten about 5 minutes before everyone chowed down on the actual Thanksgiving food and I brought some of the homemade applesauce from the girl in my town.   Thanks to an amazing hostess (with help from her boyfriend on the stuffing), they made: turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, 2 pumpkin pies, rolls, and corn.  Everything tasted just like it does in the states; thanks to imported seasonings and ingredients.  We watched the Peanuts Thanksgiving and a Full House Thanksgiving (from the first season).  Well this Thanksgiving was amazing—both the food and the company were well worth the long commute.

Thanksgiving Feast

Our feast…yum!

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One comment

  1. I was wondering how you spent Thanksgiving. Sounds like everyone did a great job making it an American Thanksgiving am so glad for all of you being all are such a long way from home. I can’t imagine you traveling all alone just gives me the shivers but more power to you for coping. Loved your article this time. Thanks again for doing such a good job keeping all of us back home informed with what’s going on.
    All good here getting ready for Christmas just love the decorations and lights. These are the highlights of my Christmas this year so far. We are going to Gatlinburg with A.Dee and U.Paul and Mikah for a Christmas vacation and of course see all the decorations down there. Should be very pretty. Take care God Bless Love you Gramma

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