Live Simply 2 : Chuseok
During this year’s Chuseok break, I went down to Jungseon, Gangwondo to meet ancestors. It is Korea’s ritual to go down to hometown, gather around with relatives and pray to ancestors. Although this chance is a once in a year event that allows me to meet relatives and wish ancestors for luck, I was reluctant to go not only because of the traffic but also because of hiking. I think this is because I am not familiar with rural side’s environment because I only grew up in cities. After driving for about 4 hours, my dad woke me up and told me that we have arrived at Jungseon and that I should go out and greet my relatives. Then, at the restraurant, I had an opportunity to talk to my grandfather about the changes in Korea’s environment. My grandfather is the second oldest of his 5 sons family and he told me that he and his 4 other brothers went out everyday around his house to play. When I heard this, I imagined 4 brothers all going to PC room and play computer games afterschool or after hagwon. However, this was not the case. As soon as the school ended, he and his brothers all went to mountains or rivers near their house and just spend their time exploring the nature. For instance, he would shower in the waterfall, play hide and seek in the mountains and encounter many animals in nature. After playing entire day outside exploring the nature, he would come back for dinner and go out again, without studying until late an hour till midnight. Also, he told me that there were extremely few buildings and cars that it was rather safe to work around the town and neighbors were very nice that he sometimes felt like his entire town people are his “family”. Moreover, he told me how he and his brothers will fall on a sleep in nature and how he made his own secret place in a mountain to hide stolen snacks from his brothers. I think that all of these experiences pave a way for him to start a job in Pest control company which has now grown up as the best in Korea ; he believes that without his frequent exposure in nature, his success could not have elicited. After listening about his everyday free adventure, I felt how lives back in the days were contrasting to those in modern days. For example, I noticed how these days, children do not spend much of their time in nature because they are focused on education and job that satisfy the expectations of the family. Therefore, it is easy to find children, even in their early ages, grow up with mindset that those who gain knowledge and money are the ones who study more and that it is rather useless to roam around. For instance, I sometimes feel bad and worried about my younger brother in 7th grade checking his powerschool grade every 5 minutes, staying up night with me and asking my mom to make him enroll in more hagwons. Although riding a car for 4 hours was tiresome and climbing up the hills made me feel exhausted, my short conversation with grandpa allowed me to realize that gaining meaningful experience and insights outside is equally significant. Therefore, I discarded my unwilling mindset and started to appreciate this experience as a fortuitous chance for me to have a wider perspective and value a role of nature in my life. This is why I focused on cleaning up the left over trashes after the ritual and I promised myself to seek for sometime in nature since I am one part of it. I believe that this experience is also related to the idea of ‘live simply’ because it illustrates how they can be amazed about how happy our life can become even without lavish and luxurious supports.