Much like we enjoy a long holiday weekend at home, we equally (if not more so) enjoy them in Korea. Providing a nice break from teaching for a few days, it gives us a chance to recharge our batteries and enjoy a little more free time than usual.
This past Monday was a National Holiday in Korea: Memorial Day. While Memorial Days at home in the US are spent swimming in the pool, grilling out, and watching live music, Koreans tend to commemorate the occasion a bit differently. For the most part, people seemed to go about their everyday lives same as usual in Gwangju. There were memorial ceremonies, as well as tributes to the veterans and fallen soldiers. Aside from schools, banks, and post offices being closed, life seemed as ordinary as any other Monday.
There were a few more people out enjoying the nice weather than you would see on a weekday, as families took in the sights and smells of the nearby Chosun University Rose Garden Festival. I spent a balmy Monday morning playing tennis with friends while the oohs and ahhs filtered through the bushes surrounding the courts. Several interested children shyly watched as the foreigners hit tennis balls back and forth, but only a couple found courage enough to join us on the courts.
The rest of my day off passed slowly with the ease of knowing I had no schedule to keep to, nor any pressing obligations until tomorrow. I enjoyed a cup of coffee with a book in my favorite shop, ran some errands and did some window-shopping, and got a good bit of fresh air and sunshine. (Better to get it in before the monsoon rains start next month!) Despite having woken up early at my normal Monday time, I didn't feel tired in the least.
While I do enjoy my job and what I do, I won't deny that I enjoy my time off to the fullest. Already looking forward to the next break from school!