Christmas eve here in the ROK and I am sitting at my desk eating Christmas cookies, at WORK... I am not religious but it should be a sin to work the day before such a sacred holiday! The only thing sacred about this day is the threatening words about war coming from our neighbors to the north. The girls in my office are all chatting excitedly,in Korean of course, so I can only guess what they are talking about but I would bet it is not about war or anything so serious, it seems to be a topic that is rarely discussed. And in the spirit of Christmas, even though alot is on my mind, today I do not want to talk or think about it. It's my favorite time of year after all and I need to do everything possible to make it feel festive, being the Korean culture doesn't help much.
This week I tried my hardest to spread Christmas cheer, from candy canes, to Christmas carols and presents; I even showed the original How the Grinch stole Christmas to every class. (Thanks Auntie Em!!) I had the students write letters to Santa, make Christmas cards and sing deck the halls over and over. But the excitement felt by American children was never there, regardless of the sugar high they got from the candy canes. Christmas is just celebrated differently in Korea, I have been told since it is a western holiday that came with the Christians it is not a very big celebration here, with no special traditions or days off work apparently. (seriously, I only have a regular weekend back to work Monday, such crap!)
But either way, in my true fashion, I brought the Christmas spirit to Shin Nam Sang Elementary and my own little world at least. Friends held a Christmas party at their home complete with white elephant gift exchange this week, we are having a big Christmas dinner with friends and all you can drink wine this evening, and Eric and I have hung stockings with care and filled them with presents. We will celebrate the big day with Eric's Korean friends having party in his season room at the ski mountain, since my students do say "Christmas is for lovers." But the holiday season would not be complete with out a trip down memory lane with the Nutcracker ballet. We will go to the National theater to see my 20th annual Christmas tradition! Wow, that sure makes me sound old but really I have just been going since I was 3 (and missed one year on account of snow). Regardless of what is going on in the world, Christmas still comes for this girl, it is comes just the same.
Wishes for a safe holiday season here in Seoul and much love to all my wonderful friends from around the world.
Missing all my family and friends back home and wishing you a Merry Christmas and joy in 2011 from the Republic of Korea ♥ ♥