Monday, November 19, 2012

The U.S. Embassy's Thanksgiving Dinner

So festive!
Who: Fulbright ETAs, members of the Korean American Educational Commission (including the director, the all-powerful Mrs. Shim), and important people from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul (including the ambassador, Sung Kim).

What: An early Thanksgiving dinner, with food and performances. There was tons of food, traditional Korean songs (Arirang) and instruments (gayageum), more food, and more performances, some by current ETAs: hip hop, Irish step dance, poetry, poi, and more.
The performance of gayageum, Korean zithers, at the National Folk Museum of Korea.
Where: The National Folk Museum of Korea, after hours! It was after closing time, but some of the galleries were left open for us to wander through on our own, which was excellent. Also, the museum itself is gorgeous and is located in a beautiful, historic part of the city.

Why: The embassy and the KAEC wanted to keep everyone's minds off of the fact that, this coming Thursday, we will actually be spending Thanksgiving away from our families and friends, which is kind of sad. On the bright side, we have our Fulbright family, our Korean families, and that fighting American spirit that will get us through. Plus, they happened to have tons of American food lying around that they needed people to consume. ;) Turkey and ham, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, baked pasta, pumpkin pie, and so much more... yum!
It was great to catch up with Fulbright friends, a whole month after our Fall Conference.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, what are a few things I'm thankful for? Let's see... I'm thankful, first and foremost, that I am healthy, active, and alive. I'm thankful that I have a loving family spread out across two continents and friends who are just a few Facebook clicks away. I'm thankful to have a stable job that I absolutely love. Discovering a thirst for teaching has been a real joy over the past few months; I'm glad that I get to do it in the context of Fulbright. I'm grateful for the friends I've made in Korea and for my host family's generosity. My life here could have been a heck of a lot more difficult than it has been, so even though it's not perfect, I actually have nothing to complain about.

I acknowledge, further, my privileges as an American and a native speaker of English, as these are statuses that come equipped with rights I never had to earn, respect that I don't always deserve, and job skills that I didn't have to pay for. As long as I am in Asia, I should be aware that being Asian and being male are also privileges of their own. These are good things that I should not take for granted.

I'm thankful that I own a camera and can take photos of beautiful things. I'm thankful that I can take the GRE while abroad (even though I'm dreading it...) and that I have a say in my own education. I'm thankful for books and for writing and for the ability to create stories out of my mere imagination. I'm grateful that Koreans keep complimenting me on my Korean ability even though I know it's still not very good. I'm thankful for chocolate, tangerines, yogurt, persimmons, and Korean street food. I'm thankful for the bad TV shows I watch, the good music I listen to, and the fun and interesting blogs I read. I am grateful even for my ability to watch, listen, and read.

And lastly, I must accredit my utmost gratefulness to God for being a provider and a source of love who will never leave me. Thanks, God! Happy Thanksgiving!

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