This Thanksgiving Day passed without a turkey to be seen. You'd be surprised how little Koreans are aware of our North American bird the turkey. It didn't bother me so much last year when Thanksgiving Day came and went. This year, it sort of got under my skin. Sure, I miss my family and not being able to be with them back home in the states on important holidays can make a huge difference. However, there was something else that irked me.
This past Halloween, the kindergarten I worked at made a big event of the day. We ate candy and dressed up as little monsters, princesses & superheroes. We traveled in our little buses to the homes of a few students to receive candy from parents. We made it to be a day that encouraged the kids to see it as an important American holiday.
Now, do remember that I really gave up on Halloween in my teens. My family didn't particularly agree with the whole celebratory aspect of Halloween and what it stood for. As children our parents participated as do most American families. However, as my sister and I grew up Halloween became less important. Now my sister has children and is married to a minister. The pictures I saw on my networking site (facebook) showed my little nephew and niece dressed up for Harvest Night The Christian re-interpretation of Halloween for kids. Not a bad idea if I may say so.
Getting back to Korea. Here I was with a bunch of Korean kids attending an American based private kindergarten that was showing them an American holiday. Not an important holiday. Mostly an excuse for children to eat more candy than they should & adults to dress up in strange costumes and get drunk.
Then Thanksgiving came around. An important holiday in my mind's eye. A day when families from across the country and Earth gather back together all under one roof. It's a day to remember why and for what each family and person should be thankful for. Here in Korea... it was forgotten, for the most part in my kindergarten.
Sure, I made an extra attempt to inform my students of Thanksgiving Day. The school however, down played it. I worked, as most Koreans did on Thanksgiving Day. As I went through the day. I felt robbed of my National identity.
There is another day in Korea that is very similar to America's Thanksgiving Day. It's called Chusoek. On this day, all of Korea migrates to their families to celebrate the harvest. It's one of two very important holidays here in Korea. Chuseok & the Korean New Year which follows the lunar calender.
This is the background and the logistics of my Thanksgiving Day. At the end of the day I was drinking a bottle of whiskey at the western bar that never forgets my name.
This Thanksgiving I am especially thankful for life, liberty & family. I'd also like to thank all my friends who are in some ways an extended family away from home.