For those who spent it at home with family and friends - I hope it was a very special and beautiful holiday.
For those of you who like me, were away from home for whatever reason, I hope you got to spend it with good company and made some awesome memories!
I cannot really believe I'm writing a Christmas post. This year has flown by somehow, and it feels like yesterday that I was concerned about being away from home for the first time but was reassuringly telling myself not to think about it. Now it's come and gone and it really wasn't all that bad :) Let me start at the beginning...
We went to Seoul a few weeks ago for Nicola's birthday, to go and see Phantom of the Opera. It was the first time (other than Lotte World I guess) that I really felt like maybe it was Christmas. Seoul had many decorations up, Starbucks had their Christmas cups out...it was cold and festive. Now I've had this chat with Su, who is from England, and we were saying that there's nothing quite like a cold Christmas. Last year I was in Europe for the time leading up to Christmas and it was magical; I loved having hot chocolate and crepes and all the nice things to warm you up while exploring the Winter Christmas fetes and markets. Coming from SA, the weather at this time is always warm and time is spent by the pool, relaxing and being outside. So that's what I'm used to. But I really love the atmosphere of a Winter Festive Season and being in Korea has been no different.
(Phantom of the Opera was mind-blowingly awesome, by the way).
|This is us in a subway in Seoul|
After that came the Christmas party on Saturday, hosted once again by Adina (the hostess with the mostest) and this was a lot of fun. We had a 'white elephant' present exchange where my penguin hat got stolen but I was rewarded with an awesome wrist warmer, used for napping at your desk! Everyone brought an array of yummy foods, we drank egg nog and were merry. Afterwards we went into town for dinner and some drinks, then went to Jecheon's new "club", King Kong, where one of the Jecheonians was DJ-ing and we danced the night away.
Once we were done with school, it was off to Emart to buy all the food stuffs for our big dinner the next day. Afterwards, we went to my place to decorate cookies, listen to carols, and watch a Christmas movie. It was really nice to chill before the storm...we were also treated to some authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate thanks to Jeanette which was delish! I thought it was an excuse to wear my onesie again too, and although I still wasn't feeling all that festive, it was a lovely evening spent in the company of great friends. It had started to lightly snow, which made me super excited as my only wish was for a white Christmas!
|Decorating cookies. Esti got really creative...*clears throat*|
I must take my hat off to everyone involved. They did the most outstanding job. We had roast chicken and pork, mashed potatoes and sweet potato mash, peas, roast veg, 2 kinds of stuffing, cauliflower and brocolli with cheese sauce, sausage rolls, gravy and yorkshire puddings. For dessert we had pavlova, apple crumble with custard and spiced cream, mince pies and cookies. Angela made egg nog and Esti made mulled wine. It was a feast. I know it sounds like an average Christmas meal to some but everything was done from scratch - pastry, alles. Nothing was pre-made and store bought. The amount of effort that went into this meal is actually making me feel a little emotional typing this out. Su and Esti did a wonderful job of hosting, thank you. And thank you to everyone involved - we pulled off the best Christmas away from our homes that I think any of us could have hoped for. The night was spent chatting, sharing stories, taking a rest after all the food we ate and ended with a Home Alone screening at Tom and Anna's (they have a projector, it is awesome). I got to skype with my family, including my grandparents, which was amazing and the box of presents to open really helped the day seem that much more special.
|The meal - minus the yorkshires.|
|Su, me and Esti <3|
|The beautiful Angela and Estelle|
|Angela and Nicola's amazing pavlova|
|Some of the cookies: made by Su and decorated by Nic and me|
|All of us. Merry Christmas|
Being away for Christmas wasn't easy. I felt like I was pushing thoughts of home aside, and focusing more on the fact that I was getting a day off from school rather than the holiday itself. But in the end it was such a beautiful day, spent with my Jecheon family. And who could ask for better? When you live abroad, your friends become so much more than that - they become the family you rely on to make days like these feel special. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such awesome friends.
If I'm sounding sentimental and emotional it's because I am - boxing day blues have hit, feeling exhausted from all the festivities lately and I realise I have a limited time left with these beautiful people. How lucky I am.
To everyone back home who sent messages and wishes, thank you. I appreciated it immensely. I hope you all had a wonderful day.
As we prepare to see the new year in, I am grateful for everything Korea has given me, most of all my little family away from home.