Christmas in Korea

December 26, 2011

Being in a new country has allowed me to experience a new kind of Christmas! People in Korea don't seem to care too much for the holidays; department stores are decorated to the nines, and I hear a lot of Christmas music, but I generally don't sense a Christmas-y spirit. Although much can be said about this seeming lack of spirit, it all probably boils down to the fact that I'm in a different country without my friends and family so... it's just not a Canadian Christmas!

Winter finally came to Mokpo sometime mid-December with the first real snow fall.

The view out my window.

Stepping out of my building on my way to work...

My school's foyer has been transformed!

Some of my students getting into the Christmas spirit!

Festivities began a few weekends ago when the local bar, Moe's, hosted the "80s Ski Lodge Holiday Party". This was a pretty great night; I dressed up in my finest winter tuque and saw a lot of faces I hadn't seen since August.

Much to my surprise, I was able to send (not-so-festive) Christmas post cards and gifts home in time for Christmas day! (As a bit of a side note: Canada Post could learn a few things from Korea Post. My package was delivered on a Friday and reached Canada by Tuesday morning... I wouldn't count on receiving a package within Canada this fast.)

On Wednesday morning I Skyped with my family to supervise the construction of our annual gingerbread house. I'm typically the project foreman but I was very happy that Meghan so graciously took over the position :)

On Thursday night Patti and I baked up a storm.

Sugar cookies

Oatmeal cranberry & Oatmeal chocolate chip


Gifts for my coworkers

Christmas Eve
I woke up Saturday morning to a Skype date with my favourite ladies (Sheryl, Teg, Meg, Britt, Mad, Amie, Karlyn, Carolyn, and Jenn) who got together in Oakville for the annual Christmas gift exchange. This ended up being a marathon of a Skype date (nearly 6 hours)... was complete with a preview of the pot luck dinner, gift exchange, and drinking games (11pm for Canada was 1pm for me so I essentially had a beer for breakfast).

It was a noisy room so I got some alone time with Meg, Sheryl, and Teg :)

I headed over to Patti's in the afternoon where we completed the rest of our baking:

Mini cherry pie!

Lemon meringue

Christmas Day
On Christmas morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn to chat with Matt and his parents before he headed off to work.

At a more decent hour, Patti stormed me with her iphone which contained my whole family wishing me a Merry Christmas :) We Skyped for a while as they watched Patti and I unpack our Christmas stockings from my mom!!!

Quick turkey prep was followed by delicious waffles and candy cane lattes.

We spent the day bumming around and preparing our awesome turkey dinner.

Which was followed by the main event: dessert

Later that night I Skyped with my family again to watch them open presents on their Christmas morning. I'm sure they loved having to narrate everything that was happening :)

Monday morning
On Monday morning, I had class as usual (no Boxing Day for Korea) but made a date to Skype with my dad's side of the family for our turkey dinner (easily the most difficult thing to miss on Christmas day). No pictures of this; it was pretty stressful since my school's internet didn't want to connect on my Mac! I was able to make do with a mic that I "borrowed" and chatted with them for a while before my classes began.


Overall it was pretty tough being away from most of my family and friends on Christmas (more than I imagined) but having Patti (and her amazing gravy-cooking skills) made the holiday so much easier.

My Christmas was also made brighter by the many amazing Christmas cards from amazing friends and family:

In day to day news, my students had their final exams last week so I didn't see them at all; I just came to work to desk-warm until noon. I'm only teaching 5 of 20 classes this week so I'm just showing remnants of the pre-exam movies. Rough life, I know.

Next week I will begin teaching my winter classes which will last for 3 and a half weeks until vacation time when Matt visits at the end of January (32 days away, but who's counting?).

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