What we did for Chuseok. We went back to the countryside for Chuseok. This is an important holiday in Korea and most people travel back to their parents’ or grandparents’ houses, often in the countryside. We lived with Hugh’s parents for 2 years, but we’ve been living in Seoul for a while. It’s comfortable for me to go back there because it’s familiar to me. But when someone is only used to living in Seoul there can still be some culture shocks when they visit other regions of Korea.

We went back to Hugh’s parents’ place with our friend Sara and my sister, who is currently visiting Korea. Travelling at this time of year can be crazy, so we made sure we caught a bus late at night to avoid the traffic. It was great to be back in the fresh air and nature, which I miss in Seoul. Sara also mentioned that it was probably the first she had eaten genuine home cooked Korean meals as well. Unless someone marries into a Korean family or has close connections to one, it’s hard to have the experience of eating home cooked Korean meals in that traditional setting. Hugh’s mother is a great cook, so we ate SO much. Baby Yul got lots of attention of course and Hugh’s parents were so happy to be able to spend more time with him.

We did the Jesa ceremony for deceased family members on the morning of the main day of Chuseok. There is a lot of food to prepare and once it’s set up we do the ceremony of paying respects. There is a certain way to set up the Jesa table, but apparently it varies from region to region. The food is all eaten later and doesn’t go to waste. Not all Korean families do this tradition anymore but it’s still an important tradition for many.