February 8, 2016

Happy Lunar New Year!

We used to take loads of pictures with Piri like this {where we're making a bunch of silly faces}, but not so much anymore. He kinda gets over it way before we start taking pictures. Hey.. I say.. if you're 80+ years in human age, you can do and care about whatever the heck you like. 

Today is Lunar New Year - Year of the Monkey. It's called Gu Jung in Korean.

We aren't really big on celebrating {although it is a pretty big holiday in Korea} but we like to acknowledge it and we usually make ddduk guk as well (even though we eat it also on January 1). Today though, there is no dduk guk {too lazy to make}, but we think we'll stop by the Korean market to pick up some rice cakes {I love the ones with honey inside}.

As a kid, I remember going to the countryside for Gu Jung where my grandparents lived and there was always something good to eat. All the kids played freely outside from morning to night, roaming the alleyways that was filled with old fashioned homes that had windows and doors made with wood and rice paper. The air was crisp and slapped our skin and we all ended up with bright rosy cheeks. It was so vastly different than playing in playgrounds in the city. So much better, although I probably didn't realize it back then.

The biggest event though came when we all got dressed in hanbok and bowed {full body bow} to all the adults and in return we got envelopes filled with money. I'm not sure if there was a favorite uncle or aunt who gave especially larger sums of money -- I don't think I cared too much about getting money and I didn't fancy wearing a hanbok either. I remember being embarrassed to wear it for some reason.

I am far away from family now to celebrate in this way, but I am thankful for my childhood and the memories I have of it. I sit here recalling back to the sights and sounds and the first thing that I feel is gratitude and appreciation that I had the opportunity to experience something like this and remember it enough to be able to retell it. 

I'll probably end up talking about it again with Yangkyu and we will end up comparing how different and similar our Gu Jung with family was. 

Happy Lunar New Year or as we say in Korean Sae Hae Bok Mani Bat Ue Sae Yo {wishing you lots of luck in the New Year}. 

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