Alas, there is still a bit of Christmas in Korea. There is the occasional tree in a store window, some kids are mentioning it at school unlike at home where every kid is hardwired into Christmas over drive right now. My foreign co-workers and I switch between groans about missing home and squeals when packages of presents and cards arrive from home. Groan- no real tree or ornaments, squeal- one week 'til Christmas! Groan- No roast turkey or grandma's baking, squeal- our first day off months! One of my coworkers has begun playing Christmas music in our teachers' room to try to feel Christmas-y. I think he has the Xmas blues the worst.
On the up-side, this will be my first of hopefully many Christmases with Matt. I've done a bit of holiday decorating around our apartment. Last Saturday, we went on a hunt for pine boughs. Unable to find any pine the woods behind our building (bamboo just doesn't feel so Christmasy), I made an ethical decision that I needed the pine from that apartment complex's landscaping more than they did and that they probably wouldn't miss the shopping bag's worth I took. I spent the rest of the day making a wreath, paper snow flakes and arranging pine boughs and candles in empty glass bottles.
This is the wreath I made out of fresh hijacked pine on our front door. It's a little lop-sided, but it gives it character.
This is my "Christmas Altar". I threw a blanket on our TV, which we hardly watch anyway and added a few festive touches. I found directions for making these snowflakes here. I made the little Christmas tree by balling up little pieces of magazine paper on a cardboard cone with double stick tape. Its intended size was about twice as big, but it was a slow process so I cut it down. Below are some presents from my parents and grandparents and a card from Utah! We are excited to open them Christmas morning.
Matt and I have decided to forego gifts for one another in exchange for a weekend in Seoul. We have been in Korea for seven months, but have yet to make it to the ultra modern mega city of Korea. We are going in search of art, western food, a theater show, and hopefully some Christmas lights and decorations. All of these things can be sparse in Gwangju. We will take the train up early Saturday morning.
On Christmas day, we will get together with our friends for some wine, food and probably a secret santa exchange. I miss you all at home and it'll be a blue Christmas without you.....