Merry Christmas!

Christmas is finally here after a month of heavy snow fall, Starbucks “holiday” coffees in delightful seasonal cups, and cheap Daiso decorations that punctuate shops and apartments both big and small.

I’ve spent the past month bundled up in sweaters, heavy coats and thick scarves, and “cute,” oversized ear muffs, wishing I was at home in front of my family’s fireplace. This year has been lovely, if not a little lonely… and I can’t help but think how nice it would be to sit with my mom in front of her giant Christmas tree, drinking coffee while watching our dogs play.

Here are some pictures leading up to my second Christmas away from home…

snow

According to scientists, holiday cheer is proportionate to the amount of snow on the ground

It has been so cold here (it’s a miserable 7°F currently) that we have resorted to wearing our winter apparel during class. I hate being cold; but I especially hate working while being cold. I ended up having to buy a seat heater for desk-warming in between classes. These temperatures are not helping my mood, that’s for sure.. haha

classroom coats

As my kids would say, “Teacher, so not good!”

My students made snow-people and snow-“angels” in between classes and occasionally tried to pelt me with snowballs after school let out. Little did they know that I was more than happy to chase them down and tickle them in the snow.

snowman

A micro snow-person made by 7-year-old Wendy

Sometime last week I decorated my Holiday Cactus with small ornaments and lights, hung up Sigma’s stocking, and wrapped presents for my family. I was trying to find some holiday spirit, but all I ended up finding was the bottom of my wine glass.

Xmas Cactus

My measly contribution to the holidays…

We had a kinder “Christmas” party at school. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch was played and my co-teacher and I let the little ones snack on the whipped cream and almonds that were meant to decorate the cakes they were making for their parents. Being the multi-taskers that they are, the kids were able to open presents from “Santa” while still picking their noses and sucking their thumbs.

5-year-old holiday spirit!

No Christmas season is complete without a trip to The Nutcracker, and so my friends and I set out to see a Saturday performance. Little did we know that the trip would be both disastrous and hilarious… At least we managed to get a nice, festive photograph of ourselves to mark the occasion.

nuhggj

Group photo in front of the Christmas display in the gallery of Seoul Art Center’s Opera House

Another Christmas party was had… although this one was a bit more grown up (while we might have been drinking mulled wine and 막걸리 (makkeoli), the host happened to be wearing dragon PJs… hehe). After gorging ourselves on breakfast foods and wine, we had a white elephant gift exchange. My contribution (a third-instar stag beetle larva) seemed to be a hit:

White Elephant Gift Exchange

White elephant gift exchange: grubs as gifts!

As Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are big “date” nights in Korea, and since we all know I am striving for assimilation (!!), I participated in all of the fuss and went out with a friend from Songtan on the 24th. Our plan was to get dinner at a local Indian restaurant before seeing Les Miserables. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t realize that over 750 seats for the movie would be sold out… and so we ended up at a western bar that was in the area to drown our sorrows. In celebration of the season, the bar owner poured free drafts during the house band’s renditions of traditional Christmas songs.

… and this brings us to Christmas day…

After enjoying a mug of Christmas coffee with my close friends in Cheonan, Sigma and I opened presents with my family over Skype– and smiles were had all around!

Sigma overwhelmed by her presents from Santy Claus

Sigma overwhelmed by her presents from Santy Claus

Santa Sigma

Sigma wanted to model her seasonal apparel… ^^

I ended up *really* participating in the holiday by going on a second date Christmas night. Some light shopping was had before getting dinner at a local Italian restaurant. Even though I tried to do the holidays “right” and get in the “spirit,” I still found myself missing some of those back home… that was to be expected, I suppose.

Christmas "Date Nigh"t in downtown Cheonan

Christmas “Date Night” in downtown Cheonan

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