Goodness, the time has flown by quite quickly these past few weeks! I’m still trying to grasp that it’s less than a week until Christmas. As far as my internal clock is concerned, I’m still in early December. Needless to say, time has gotten away from me. Living among Koreans and ex-pats during the holidays has been interesting and fun. As part of the curriculum at CFLEC we take the time to teach our students about the foreign holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) that are happening around the time that we have them at our school. So, I’ve gotten to dress up as Batman and now Santa Claus (St. Nicholas, one of the most hardcore saints in the history of the Church, with a penchant for punching heretics and caring for the poor) over the past few months (sadly, no Thanksgiving turkey outfits, so I’ve had to make up for it in attitude).
Thankfully I have a wonderful family here to celebrate the holidays, so we’ve had a Thanksgiving dinner, two Christmas dinners, and we still haven’t even finished the Christmas celebrations yet. There are some family friends from Germany that are now stationed at the Army base just north of Cheonan and I’ve gotten to see them several times (and eat American food on base! Woo!) and enjoy the company that they bring (plus it’s like having yet another set of adoptive parents). There are many wonderful people here and I’m glad that I’m able to spend the holidays with them. Soon we’ll be going ice skating (they will, my tailbone can’t take the abuse that ice skating tends to dish out) up in Seoul and having even more Christmas related fun.
This picture is from the games we were playing after the Thanksgiving dinner.
So, fun facts about Christmas in Korea. In Korea, it’s only been a nationwide holiday (where everyone gets off work) for about 2 years. It’s generally considered to be a holiday that is celebrated only by Christians and couples, and has no real cultural relevance to everyone else. Korea is a little obsessed with the whole couples thing, and Christmas has become one of the many holidays where that is emphasized. However, for all of the Koreans who are single, they have the option of saying, “I’m spending Christmas with Kevin.” This is in reference to the movie Home Alone, which is apparently a Korean holiday classic that is shown every Christmas, and many other holidays besides. Funny what things tend to become popular across cultures.
In other news, I also have recently been able to take a day trip to the south-eastern coast of Korea at Busan, and that was very neat. Apparently the world’s largest department store is there (Yes, I got some pictures of it thanks to sneaking up the elevator of a hotel right across the street) and there are a lot of neat museums and other stuff. I was only there for about a day, so I didn’t get to see too terribly much, but enough to know that I want to come back and do some hiking and see some more museums. If you want to see the pictures from that, check the end of this album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153227621700534.1073741828.668415533&type=1&l=fccfb14d55
I’ve also been given the allowance to grow a beard until Christmas, so I am taking full advantage of that!
Anyways, life is going well and I’m still enjoying Korea! I love all of you very much and Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! (Now here’s a picture of Korea in the winter)