My celebrations started last Saturday when SnB held a curry party & yarn/book white elephant gift exchange. Riah and Caroline made curry, Audrey made cookies, Siobhain made naan using a wine bottle for a rolling pin, and Jen and Robin helped to empty said wine bottle. I wrapped presents since we wanted dinner to be edible. Everyone brought nice things for the swap, so it wasn't very white elephant-esque, but we had fun and I have a quite a few new books to add to the pile of books I need to read before I go home.
Top: Siobhain making naan with a wine bottle; Left: Caroline showing us her new apron and festive Christmas nose; Right: Riah sampling the curry.
Then, on Christmas Eve Eve, I went to Ansan after work for pho, spring rolls and Vietnamese coffee with Marie and Greg. Traffic was horrible, but I made friends with the six year old sitting next to me. I was the first foreigner he had ever seen, and at first he just stared, but he grew more confident as the bus pulled away from the station and he started making faces at me. I started copying his faces, which he thought was hi-larious. After a few minutes of crossing his eyes and rapidly shifting his jaw around, he decided to stick his finger up his nose, watching me with bright eyes to see what I would do. I briefly though about copying him (standards, what are those?), but we were being watched by the ajeosshis sitting across from us and I was going straight to dinner, so I settled with sticking my finger beside my nose, which luckily was sufficiently funny enough for my friend.
Friday was Christmas Eve and I wished my 6th grade classes a Merry Christmas, but I was corrected. "No, Teacher. Merry Christmas Eve." After school, I went to a candlelight service at the Seoul International Baptist Church near Itaewon. It's next to the base and a lot of parishioners were soldiers and their families. Most of the foreigners I see are teachers in their twenties or thirties, and this was the first time I had seen a non-Korean family in almost a year. American children are giant compared to my wee, slight students. After the service, we took a cab to Itaewon, hung out in What The Book until they closed, then went to the Thai restaurant upstairs. Mmmm, Christmas curry. I've never been a fan of traditional Christmas food and I was thrilled for the excuse to spend my holiday eating SE Asian food instead.
Then on Christmas Day, Caroline, Siobhain, Audrey, Riah and I went for Indian and Doctor Fish in Gangnam. We bought ourselves a Christmas ice cream cake, sang Christmas carols (different ones, at the same time), and then used our cake to reenact the current political situation of the Korean peninsula. The cake was divided into five sections. Riah was South Korea, Audrey was North Korea, Caroline was China, Siobhain was the US and I was somehow Sino-American relations, which meant that I spent a lot of time supplying North Korea with rice and cow (decorative cranberries) which North Korea turned into bombs to throw at South Korea. The chocolate decorations served as the DMZ. Tunnels were dug beneath it. I started making "Phew Phew" noises to simulate bombs, which is when the Koreans sitting next to us started taking our picture. My parents called me while I was waiting for the bus home and I pulled a Waegukin Smash to talk to them while they opened presents.
Failboats in public. From (left → right) Siobhain, me, Audrey, Caroline and Riah
Mid-conflict on a delicious peninsula
Merry Christmas, one and all.