Adjusting to the beginning of the school year has been chaotic: a flurry of summatives, virtual club meetings, and changes in sports activities have exhausted both students and teachers. Yet, the upcoming Chuseok break will illuminate and provide a time of composure to all those who are weary. While students are expected to maintain their studies and loosen up during the following week, Chuseok break for teachers will be a period of relaxation and leisure time with family and friends.
“I am more than grateful to have my time off,” said Leslie Gregori, an AP English teacher. “During Chuseok, I am going to stay in Itaewon for a few days, starting from Saturday. The remainder of the time will be filled with grading summatives and preparing for the next AP English unit. Unfortunately, I will not be spending time with my family because they are all in the States, but I am appreciative of how much Chuseok means to the people of Korea.”
With the given situation of COVID-19, this year’s Chuseok will be different from the past years. Quarantined Chuseok will prevent families from gathering, limit outdoor activities, and restrict traveling openly during the holiday. The Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea has released official statements predicting the increase in COVID cases, especially if families travel to visit relatives. Yet, Chuseok break in lockdown will be a great opportunity to escape the tight school schedule, especially after the inconsistencies in virtual learning and in-person classes.
“I will be going to Busan with my family,” said Ginna Schultz, Communications and World History teacher. “We are taking the train to Busan and staying at an Airbnb near the Haeundae beach. I am kind of sad because my family visited Busan last year and we were expecting to travel abroad and explore the countries in Asia, like Japan or China. Even though we get to travel to Busan, I feel responsible to make sure we keep our masks on the whole time during the train ride and continue to wash our hands regularly. I also heard that most of the shops and restaurants would be closed due to the holiday and COVID, so I am just looking forward to enjoying leisure time with my family.”
Rather than traveling out of the country or exploring activities outside, there are alternative choices of pursuits to enjoy during Chuseok break in lockdown. Quarantined Chuseok will grant meaningful and worthwhile time for those who have not spent time bonding with their families. In order to reduce the number of COVID cases, in-home occupations will be far more efficient than venturing outdoors. Sharing troubles or concerns about life, sharing homemade foods like songpyeon, matching puzzles with cousins, and watching movies with loved ones will brighten Chuseok up.
“Over Chuseok break, my family and I went to Sokcho for 4 nights,” said Carly Santos, a high school counselor. “We went with some other friends who have a daughter around the same age. We hung out, ate lots of seafood by the sea, went for long walks by the beach, drives along the coast, went on walks through Mt Seoraksan. We returned to Seoul for two days where I caught up with two SIS Alumni. Then for the last couple of days of the holidays, we spent it at the RYSE hotel in Hongdae. We just went to lots of different restaurants, bars, and cafes and hung out in our hotel which was pretty fancy! I definitely recommend traveling around Korea! It is so pretty outside of Seoul and exploring different neighborhoods was lots of fun. Finding nice places to eat and drink and spending time with my family is always special to me!”