Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in Korea

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas is not a big holiday in Korea like it is in the states, but we do have the day off.  I've heard it's almost more of a couple's holiday here - a do something sweet with your significant other type of day.

For me, today just feels like a regular Korean December day.  A Saturday or Sunday at home, to be exact.  You might think it's sad for today to not feel like Christmas, but it's actually a lot easier this way.  This has been the case for my other two Christmases away from home, as well.

2009 - Christmas in Madrid, Spain

My first year away from home for the holidays was in 2009 when I was studying abroad in Madrid.  On Christmas Eve I went to my friend Asad's house for lunch.  We made pizza and fries, went for a nice afternoon walk, and then watched the movie "Taken".  We cooked lunch together again on Christmas, and then he worked on scholarship applications while I did research for a paper -- so I really didn't feel like I was missing out on the holiday, since it didn't feel like a holiday to begin with.

Christmas lunch with Asad, 2009

2011 - Christmas in Válor, Spain

My second year away from home on Christmas was in 2011 when I was teaching English in Madrid.  I'll never forget that Christmas, because I was at a 2-week HelpX gig in southern Spain and we actually did celebrate the holiday.  The weather was glorious; I soaked up the sun and played fun Christmas games all day long with new friends.

Christmas Day hike, Válor 2011

2013 - Christmas in Korea

And today, on my third year away from home on Christmas, I stayed home and enjoyed the break in my week.  I did some G+ Hangouts in the morning with the family and boy, and tried to make it feel like Christmas.  After opening some boxes during and after the video calls, I set up my Christmas cards on display on the fridge -- my heart burst full of gratitude.

That positive burst sparked some productive cleaning followed by cooking.  I watched "A Christmas Story" while cooking in the kitchen, my next attempt at making it feel like Christmas.

That afternoon I wrote letters, read, blogged, and watched some Grey's Anatomy.  That night I had a G+ Hangout with Hannah and Hermann in London, during which we played a board game (Associations: The game of quick connections).  Last Christmas we played the board game Sorry via G+ when I was in Wisconsin and they were in London, so it feels like a new Christmas tradition.

Playing Associations on Christmas, 2013

It still didn't feel like it had been Christmas when the day was said and done, but that's okay.  It was a great day.  Being away for big holidays makes them all the more special the next time I am home to celebrate them!
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