two days

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It just stopped snowing, after two days of continuous flurries. Luckily, in Korea, nearly all the annual precipitation comes in July, so after two days, there’s only a few inches of fluff on the ground. It usually doesn’t snow more than a couple times in Korea,and this is the first year that I ever saw snow stay for more than a day.

Tomorrow is Lunar New Year, a major holiday in Korea. Today, millions of people will be/are stuck on the roads, all trying to leave Seoul at once. Especially the first-born sons must get back to their home towns to do “charae”, a ceremony for the ancestors of your lineage. Two bows are performed for the one’s passed on, then all heads are held down for a moment, while the spirits feast on the spread of food. It’s an especially stressful time for the wifes, who must prepare all the food and arrangements. They usually start days in advance. Most young Korean women try to avoid marrying the first son of the family, because they will be expected to do most of the work for holidays. Korean thanksgiving is a similar process.

When I first came to Korea, I had a horrible time dating! Part of it was culture ignorance, but I also finally figured out that I was the worst case scenario for a Korean girl. Not only am I the only boy in my family, but I have three sisters who would have potentially made my wife’s life not much different from a that of a servant. A saw a documentary once about how the Cinderella story originated in a small town in southern China. It makes sense considering that women tend to treat their sister-in-laws not much differently than the evil step-sisters. Not to compare myself to Prince Charming… but now that I am married to a Korean, she often exclaims how much easier her life is, married to a foreigner, than that of her friends. Her friends were so worried about her coming to Canada with me last year. I remember the gleeful expression on her face as she told them, “No, my life is so easy! I’m sorry for you!”

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