Happy Seolnal!

Today at school we celebrated Seolnal (more commonly known to non-Koreans as Chinese or Lunar New Year). Like Chuseok, it is a three day holiday that involves cooking and eating traditional foods, wearing a hanbok, and paying respects to ancestors. It is celebrated on the first day of the lunar calendar, which is February 3rd in 2011.

First we played games: archery, tuho, and yut. I had to hold the target for archery since we couldn’t find the stand, which was both fun and scary. 🙂

Next we made dumplings, known as mandu in Korea.

Then we made “lucky bags”. The bags were to hold the money the students would receive later.

Sebae is a traditionally observed activity on Seolnal. First all the students bowed to the teachers and we wished them luck and a happy new year. Then each class bowed to our director and she gave each student money.

Last we went back to our classrooms and I had my students make wreaths with all twelve of the Chinese zodiac animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. I also had my elementary students do some activities yesterday; check out my themed bulletin board:

And I received a tea and jam set from my director and a bag of treats from one student. I love presents!

2011 is the year of the rabbit and I was born in the year of the dog (1982). So apparently I am loyal, faithful, honest, distrustful, often guilty of telling white lies, temperamental, prone to mood swings, dogmatic, and sensitive. What about you?

I realized I hadn’t posted anything about our new school. We moved over Christmas break so we are now in a brand new location! I love the way it is decorated: bright colors with murals and poems on the walls. I also love having my own classroom (I have my own computer and can decorate it as I like and keep it clean!) but there are some downsides. The kids are always bothering me during breaks and there aren’t many convenience stores or restaurants near the new location. We have also expanded from four classrooms to six so we have two new teachers.

Weird Korea Part 5: I quickly learned not to write the students’ names in red. They will get very upset if you do! It means they have died. I am even kind of superstitious about it now; I won’t write even my own name in red. I was thinking about writing a name in red for a photo to go with this post but I don’t want to risk death!

A new post by yours truly on Your Korean Adventure:
Gangnam Cat Cafe

And oh yeah, we finally changed our blog name to my favorite Korean phrase: 맙소사! 🙂

Off to Malaysia!

-Jen Pace

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