Wednesday 7 December 2011

'Tis the season

Christmas is a difficult time to be away from home. It's the ultimate celebration in the west of family and together-ness. My family, as I've mentioned before, are scattered around the globe. So in the past 6 or so years we've only had one Christmas where everyone was in the same place. Christmas is the ultimate time for homesickness to strike, and this year will be the first Christmas morning that I wake up alone (my previous two Christmases abroad I've been with the people I'm spending the day with). Christmas abroad, in Asia, is strange. It's not totally ignored, there are lights around the place, and Mariah Carey blaring out from shops left, right and centre, but the atmosphere isn't there. There aren't hundreds of people in all the shops, Christmas gift packs, seasonal adverts on tv, christmas special of tv programmes to watch (except for after the event online), hundreds of boxes of chocolates around my house that I'm not allowed to touch until Christmas eve.

Having said that, one thing that I really like about Christmas abroad, is missing all of those things. Realising how much I do enjoy this season, and how much more special all those little details will be when I am able to experience them again. When I was in China, I realised that something that really made me feel Christmassy was sitting on the sofa with my dad in front of the fire him either cracking nuts or peeling one of those massive oranges and me trying to steal a segment or nut because I can't be bothered to crack/peel my own. And then I began to think of more and more things that I missed; making mince pies, or being dragged to Candlelight carols at my mum's church, or Noddy Holder screaming Merry Christmas out of the radio every day, and my mum moaning about the rediculously big fake tree my dad bought years ago that takes ages to assemble, and driving though Abridge looking at all the lights adorning the houses (and the house round the corner from mine that has cornered the market in Christmas lights). I'm very lucky to have great friends and family at home who send cards and gifts out to me to make sure I'm not forgotten. So although it's not a traditional celebration I'll be gathering with friends this year, eating and drinking too much. I want to make the most of this Christmas abroad, because like the one I spent in China, I want it to be one I can look back on with fond memories.

At the beginning on November we returned to Lotteworld where we witnessed their Christmas parade, so I've been delving into the pictures and videos from that day to get into the spirit. Preparations are already in place; I've decorated my apartment with tinsel and fairy lights, sent my special post home already, have paper chains hanging from the ceiling of my English classroom, received my first Christmas card from a student and will stop at the post office this evening after school to pick up my first Christmas parcel. So here's to a wonderful Christmas in Seoul!

Christmas arrived curtesy of my friend Amanda :-) 
I actually squealed with delight when I opened this card! (thanks Nic!)

My mum's trademark smiley face

Can't catch me...

Oi Santa!

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