Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And Another Holiday Season Spent in Korea!

Celebrating Christmas!
While some of my friends have been lucky enough to go to their home countries for the holidays, I'll be spending mine here for the third time in a row! I may not have any family here, but I do have a good group of amigos I can count on to make things happen!

Thanksgiving Dinner on Yongsan's US Army Base
The first was my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Well ahead of time, I think in late September, a Thanksgiving dinner event was posted on Facebook. It was a bit early, but when I saw the good food options and the price, I had to sign up for it!

The dinner was held on the Yongsan Army Base, in a dinner hall. It was advertised by a couple of ladies as a genuine authentic Thanksgiving dinner. They were at least American, so I was expecting good food to be cooked in a way familiar to me! The best detail of all was the price: It was only 20,000 won. I just had to wire money into the organizer's account.

This was the first time they had the event, so there were some hiccups with the organization. We had to sign up and give up some personal information. However, when we got there, they just let us all in, probably because there were so many of us. Also, there was supposed to be a shuttle bus, but we ended up being forced to walk to the hall where the event was taking place. After arriving, we had to wait quite awhile for the food to be ready, so people got a little bit antsy.

In the end, we finally got our food, and it was great! All of the typical fixtures were there, like turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, macaroni & cheese as well as other options. It was buffet-style, and I was stuffed in no time. That certainly made it all worth it!

The December snow falling in Korea

In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there's the arrival of winter. In mid-December, it got really cold and it began snowing every so often, letting us all know that winter had truly settled in. When it snows, it's very pretty, and I admit that it's nice to look at. However, walking in it has been an unpleasant experience so far!

I say this because when it snows, it eventually gets stepped on and turns into slush. None of my shoes are truly waterproof! Then, at night, that liquidy slush freezes over. At that point I'm dealing with a ton of ice. They do pour salt on some of the roads, but it's much more sparingly placed on sidewalks and walkways. A couple of days I've had to basically ice-skate to work because none of my path was clear of ice. That's the main reason why I dread the snow.

On Christmas, I had the day off, but I don't have any extravagant plans. There was a Christmas party I was invited to, but unfortunately that didn't work out because I couldn't find the venue! The hosts got back to me too late, after I had already returned home.

Celebrating Christmas at work!
At work, we did celebrate the holiday. On the Monday and Tuesday before Christmas, instead of classes, the foreign teachers did some Christmas activities. In my class, the students wrote a Christmas card to a loved one, which they were able to take home. They also wrote a Christmas list to Santa, and finally the kids took a fun Christmas quiz in teams. When a team won, they were able to choose a prize.

Some of the Christmas light displays in Korea
I'm not the biggest fan of Christmas, mostly because I'm not religious, nor do I enjoy the commercialization of the holiday. I prefer to just spend time with the right people. That said, I can appreciate the holiday season. One of my favorite parts are the decorations that are around different places in Seoul. They're pretty, and there seem to be always crowds of people snapping photos. Well, it wouldn't make sense to complain since I do the same!

Anyway, that's all. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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