Today is Korea’s Independence Day (March 1st), and it represents the beginning of the movement to win independence from Japan. On March 1, 1919, when Korea had been occupied by Japan for ten years already, Nationalists tried to read the Declaration of Independence. March 1st represents Korea’s Independence Movement. While all governmental offices were closed and Korean flags were hanging from street lamps on every road, much of the country simply treated the day just as any other day to work and consume. Considering how nationalistic Koreans are and quick to distinguish themselves from their Japanese neighbors, I was quite surprised that this holiday is not celebrated with more grandeur. My host dad, for example, went to work, while my siblings were excited to have one more day off of school before the new school year begins. No parades, no parties, no commemorative coins. Nothing close to the festivities of American Fourth of July (which I missed in 2010 and will miss once again this year).
And this is how South Korea is commemorating March 1st with the North: flying propaganda-laden balloons over the border
On a different note, tomorrow is the first day of the new school year! The school year in Korea starts in March, unlike the US. I’m sad that my two-month paid vacation is coming to a brutal halt. After experiencing the warmest winter days that Los Angeles has experience (87 degrees in February, people!), I’m pouting about the rainy wind and overcast weather in Cheongju.
I guess a health report is overdue. My ACL surgery was quite successful, thanks to the genius of my surgeon. Thrice a week, I dutifully went to USC for physical therapy (and devoured Al pastor tacos from LA food trucks afterwards), and I am happy to report that my recovery is far speedier than any other patient my therapists have seen. Of course, they were reluctant to say it to my face lest my ego inflate and implode. j/k! Running is 5 weeks down the road, but I can walk up stairs (though not down), ride a bicycle, and do mad lunge/squat combinations. I hope to be able to run on the beaches of Jejudo, the island where Fulbrighters will be convening for a conference in one month’s time.