korean-pears

4

Evergreen Farm

This is the busiest farm I have ever been to.  We had to wait about 20 minutes on line for the tractor to take us to the picking spot.  When it was time to board the tractor, they packed it like a can of sardines.  I felt like I was on the 7 train during rush hour.  When we got  to the picking spot, they restricted everyone to one row with security hawking to make sure you didn’t cross into another section.  It was my first time there and I was hoping to get more of a middle of nowhere vibe; but I must admit, the pears are delicious!  I ended up buying five pears for $14.

Chuseok gifts

Even before I came to Korea, I already knew that it was appropriate to bring a gift during visits.  I considered fruits like Korean pear because I have seen my parents usually gift fruit.  When I saw the price for it in Orange Mart in front of Ewha, it was 55,000 won for a nicely wrapped box set.  However, other students recommended me to buy something lighter, so it would be easier for me to carry in the subway.  They also said there is a lots of bakery in almost every station, so I decided to buy something at Pyeongtaek Station.

When I arrived at the station, I sent a text to my uncle saying I arrived.  Then I went to Paris Baguette right away to pick out a cake or bread set.  Right when I was about to pay for a bread set with three flavors, my uncle surprised me.  He was right next to me saying why I was buying bread.  My uncle said I shouldn’t have tried to buy anything, and he immediately paid for it.  Then he said that I am a student and that he and my other uncle understands even if I don’t gift anything.  He said he’ll tell everyone I bought the bread set…and I should “lie” about it.

The thing is…honestly, it comes from my scholarship money.  My parents also provide me some money to buy my family gifts, meals, and to give them money in envelopes during my grandfather’s death anniversary or other holidays like new year.  I also understand why they don’t want me to give them gifts…my father is the youngest and he takes care of their mother in the U.S.  But but but…they always send us money and other gifts from Korea.

Example of some Chuseok gifts I saw at the mart:

  • Fruit set (ex: korean pear)
  • Tuna gift set
  • spam set
Volunteering at a Korean Pear Orchard!


So after the night I shared my heart with some people around me, I felt so much more lighter, and the next day, the Principal also shared some of her life wisdom with me, and gave me some peace and passed on some faith into my heart. It was very comforting to hear so many stories of how life moves and things change, and always for the better.

Later in the day, the Principal had organized a volunteer outing to a Pear Orchard to help a farmer; due to the typhoon that hit around the beginning of the month of September, many of his expensive precious pears fell off the tree onto the ground and were all over the orchard.

It’s very interesting to find that the far was only 20-30 minutes away from the school by the school bus. Because Korea is pretty small in terms of landspace, everything is close by; so having agricultural land next to recreational and residential areas is not surprising.

I’ve been on fruit orchards before because I went apple picking and pumpkin picking with my family back in New York, but working on this far is a little bit of a different experience. At first it was difficult because there were tons of insects everywhere..flying, crawling, wriggling, biting, stinging, you name it..And I’m expected to dig through thick bushes to find the fallen pears..

And it was laborous work to crouch and find hunt for these pears because if you just stand up straight, you risk knocking pears off the tree. Pears that fell off the tree decrease in dramatically compared to the big fat pears still hanging on the trees which are worth tons of money. Still, I wasn’t really crouching because I’m short enough to walk around or at least bend my knees a little. Finding the pears turned out to be pretty fun after awhile because it felt like I was on a treasure hunt and on a race to fill up the crates with pears as fast as possible.

I also liked the laborous bonding time with the students. Everyone had their own parts to fulfill and everyone was very cooperative and working with the same heart. The boys were in charge of lifting the heavy crates and the girls were in charge of scavenger and the unwrapping the hundreds of pears that are found. We even got to eat some fresh korean pears which was deliciously sweet!! Definitely cannot compare to the ones imported into the States..

Right now these pears cost almost $100 for like..6-8 pears that are the size of a toddler’s head..ridiculously expensive! People tell me it is because right now is around the time of Korean Thanksgiving holiday, and due to the typhoon, not too many pears are available on the market.

It was such a refreshing experience to work on the farm. It was a bit hot, and a bit dirty to work, and verrry exhausting at the end of the day. But I felt very happy and joyful at the end of the day for two reasons. For one, I was able to be with the students, spend time and chat with them outside of the classroom and school environment. And another reason is that, I was be able to experience being in the outdoors again; just breathing fresh air, laying down on my back and looking up at the bright blue skies with big white clouds, listening to the sound of the water splashing in a stream nearby…Definitely something precious to a NYC girl who’s lived pretty much my whole life in a metal and steel crowded city.

Happy Chu-seock♥

Today is Korean Thanksgiving day.

Even I did not visit my grandparents, I called them how I love them.

Lots of apples, Korean pears, other fruits, and gifts make me smile:)

Especially pears! They are soooooooo damn big.

Some are bigger than my head!

And really delicious:D