Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

I hope this finds you enjoying the holidays with friends, family, and loved ones.  Even though I am far from home, I still find ways to enjoy Christmas here in Korea.  While I might be solo (and Christmas a couple holiday in Korea) I did get to spend time with friends, enjoying food and laughter.  I also remember that while I am missing the holidays at home, I smile because this time next year I will be in NC enjoying my first state-side Christmas in 5 years.

To help alleviate some of the sadness, I called my family on Christmas Eve.  We ended up talking for about 3 hours (which thankfully due to Skype credit, is cheap!).  It made me feel better knowing that I will be seeing them all again soon.  And they are happy that they will have me home from my long stay in Korea.

My Christmas celebrations started early with some caroling in downtown Gwangju to raise money for charity.  Our group started small but swelled to about 30 people later on in the evening, all enjoying singing Christmas songs for surprised and happy Koreans who walked by.  At the end of the evening, we were able to raise 250,000 won ($240) for charity--a great success!

The next day was "Les Miserables" with Gail and Amanda.  The three of us sat in awe and utter silence watching the story and music unfold onstage.  I felt a little bad for the Koreans who were watching who had to read the subtitles to understand what was going on in the movie.  Though music is a universal language, there is just something special about being able to understand the lyrics in their original context than through a translation.

Afterwards we headed over to the Alleyway where the staff was setting up for the 2nd Alleyway Christmas Dinner.  Tickets for this event were like golden tickets to the chocolate factory; everyone wanted one and they sold out in roughly an hour and a half.  Thank goodness I just happened to be on Facebook the same time that the event was posted.  We played cards and 20 Questions while we waited for the other guests to trickle in and the food to be brought out.

Have you ever eaten so much food that you hated yourself for it afterwards?  That's how I felt after that dinner.  Everything was so delicious that you couldn't help but want to eat all the things and more of them.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, salad, stuffing, bread, carrots and peas, and cranberry sauce volleyed for space on my plate...and I definitely had to go back for seconds.  For dessert there was cheesecake with strawberry or orange topping.  Add to that some wine and it was divine.  It actually hurt when I got up to leave and go back to Suwon.  And I think I was still full the next day when the school took the teachers out for a pre-Christmas lunch!

Tuesday morning I slept in a bit after my Skype call with my family, then got ready for my second Christmas dinner in Suwon.  A local sports bar, Sam Ryan's, was hosting their own dinner that afternoon, and I had invited along a few new friends to enjoy it with me.  After all, who wants to spend Christmas alone?

The dinner at Sam Ryan's was equally as delicious.  Turkey, ham, baked potato with sour cream, bacon, and chives, cranberry sauce, cauliflower with cheese sauce, bread, corn on the cob, candied sweet potato, and stuffing.  For dessert there was apple pie with vanilla ice cream, and Christmas-themed cocktails.  At this point I think I felt like Violet Beauregard must have felt when she swelled up in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; you probably could have rolled me home for all the amazing food I had eaten over the past 3 days.  But it was well-worth it to have a little bit of home in Korea.  The meals and the company I enjoyed both times definitely made it feel more like Christmas to me.

*pictures from WeHeartIt*

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