I subscribe to a blog that is written by a family friend back home, and at the end of every blog post she lists the 'Wikidates' - Wikipedia's list of holidays celebrated around the world. I read through the blog yesterday and when it came to the Wikidates, I smiled in anticipation. But my smile was in vain. It wasn't there. I quickly jumped over to Wiki to check - maybe she had made a mistake or hadn't grasped the significance of the date (though I couldn't see how this would be possible - 11/11 is so obviously related to this holiday, I don't understand how anyone could ignore the significance). And then I saw that Wiki hadn't mentioned the holiday either. How was this possible? 11/11 should be world renowned as Peppero Day!
None of you have heard of it either?
How is that...
What's that you say? Before coming to Korea I had never heard of it either.
Wait? Are you telling me there was a time when I wasn't in Korea?! I have a faint inkling that you may be correct, but it certainly doesn't seem that way.

Yesterday was Peppero Day, and for those of you who aren't in Korea, I suppose I should explain what that is exactly. A Peppero is a chocolate covered breadstick - in America they are apparently known as Pocky, but for South Africans, they are Chocstix. The 11th of November is celebrated as Peppero Day because the date (11/11) looks like four Pepperos placed next to each other - DUH! The day itself is rather like Valentines Day where you give Pepperos (which come in various flavours and varieties) to the people that you like, love or respect. Like Valentines, a lot of people think that the holiday is completely contrived and commercialised, but in the case of Peppero Day, they would probably be right. I mean, come on - a day for giving out a specific gift marketed by a specific company? Does it need to be more obvious? Lotte has pretty much taken over the world (or South Korea) and a couple of months ago even the GSMart near my apartment was converted into a Lotte Mart.

But I am not complaining too much - I benefit from Peppero Day after all! From 8:30am onwards, I was rewarded with Peppero in various shapes and forms, and by the end of the day, I couldn't look at or even smell another Peppero without gagging. But despite Peppero Day being filled with gifts, the best gift that I got from a student arrived on my desk this morning delivered by one of the students from my after-school class. She ran into the office and placed it on my desk before rushing out of the door blushing profusely before I could even say thank you. I opened the letter to find this (badly written but) heartfelt note:

"Hello. How are you. What's up. I'm Kang Chan Mi and from Mongolia. That is my English name Anna Belive KKK. Am... am am am.... (which I assume is translation from the Korean ㅋㅋㅋ which is like "hahaha") A foreign country be laborious! Me too. Run out freind KKK. But you many favor. KKK ^v^ You teaching many grammar. Next write many a letter. I want study to many time. The foregoing more give lessons many time. You knowing beauty every time. Don't abandon. Don't stop keeping. I believe you ^v^ I love you"

The letter came with a picture that she drew of me and her labeled: "Thats you. Have you big eyes. Thats I. I have small eyes." and a printed photograph of herself with a heart around it saying I love you in both Korean and Mongolian. While the letter was really badly written, I think that the sentiment behind it was more important than the bad vocab and grammar. It still made me smile to read it, and I will bring it back home with me and treasure it. So what if the kids learn nothing at all from my lessons - at least they like me :)
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