8:33 PM Jmo 0 Comments

My heart is warm; even if my hands are cold and purple. These past few days have been some of the craziest, diverse, and all around lovely and life changing yet. I'm so proud of all of the chances I've taken to get to this moment. Everything has been worth it. And everything, every new street I turn onto and every new person I connect with, builds and enriches my life. Maybe it's because it's the Christmas season, but I've been feeling extremely thankful lately. Extremely thankful.

So far, Christmas in Korea has been nothing short of amazing. I guess it really doesn't feel like "Christmas" here. But! My Korean Christmas has put a new spin on the holidays and has given it a life of it's own. I feel like there's "Christmas" then there's "Korean Christmas". If that makes sense. I guess it's comparable to having a family-Christmas and then a friend-Christmas. The family is 없어요. But the friends are definitely 있어요. I've never felt so quickly accepted and part of a group. That's the amazing thing about being a foreigner here. You have an instant sense of community. And the holidays have really brought that out. Between my Christmas party, the play and it's after party, and the constant swell of cheery, sweater-clad, foreigners constantly sharing and offering it's been lovely. Definitely a Christmas to remember. And! It's not even over yet. It's only Christmas Eve here. Yes, I'm stuck at school. But! Tomorrow I have off and I will be having Christmas lunch with my new, lovely, English friend. Another thing I love about living here: This international community. Never growing up did I think to myself: I'd be able to read 한굴 (Hangul: Korean script) or one day I'll have Christmas in Korea with a Brit. Maybe I should've expected more of this. I did, after all, have thoughts of travel and adventure put into my mind long ago by my Grandma and our favorite National Geographic programs. One of our favorites was about black panthers and anacondas in the Amazon. -Maybe I'll make it there one day. I know she would love the fact that I'm going to Thailand that's for sure. I credit her with many of my travel goals and aspirations.
I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.

So Saturday was the play! After a mad rush on Friday night and Saturday morning to finish the set and final production details, it was showtime. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I was having too much fun to be nervous! Running through our show in costume on stage gave me endorphins beyond belief. I've missed that feeling sooo much. My cast and director were as lovely as ever and I've definitely added to my repertoire of life-long friends. There's nothing quite like getting ready for a show. It definitely bonds people. Those late night food runs, sharing cramped dressing rooms, putting on deodorant in the most random of places and situations, sharing clothing, sporadic warm-up games -all essential parts of the theatre experience. Everyone was giddy and goofy regardless of being exhausted.
The first show went really well and I'm extremely grateful to say that I had quite the crowd of support. At least 20 of my fellow EPIK teachers came out to see the show. All dressed up in their holiday attire. Adorable. In between shows, two of my fellow cast mates and I walked about the surrounding area in search of food. We made our way to this little hole in the wall 김밥restaurant. We were probably the first foreigners to have ever stepped foot in there. At first I was a little nervous because lately I've been feeling some slight discrimination elsewhere. But, these people were excited and gracious. The menu was small (only about five items) and the little gas heater in the middle of the floor kept us warm. We ate 비빔밥 and laughed our way through conversation. The second show had a slightly smaller crowd. We blame it on the weather. It was so cold I don't blame people. But the second show when just as well as the first. I wasn't nervous AT ALL. So strange. I just decided to have as much fun as possible and not to let anything bother me. I was having so much fun and energy in fact that during one part of the play, where I had to jump onto my costars lap, I nearly over-shot it and fell off! haha
My coteachers showed up at the second show and brought gifts! Mrs. Nam brought me flowers, Chani gave me a whole cake (which is definitely already gone...), and Mrs. Lee gave me...an umbrella! It's kind of an inside joke. I lost my umbrella a while back and have been too preoccupied with spending my money on others thing to buy a new one. So, every time it rained or snowed (Koreans use umbrellas for snow.) I would just put my hood up and they would be sooo concerned. (Koreans also believe that the pollution in the snow will make my hair fall out! haha) So! Mrs. Lee got me a cute little dog umbrella. Too cute. I will cherish it always.
After the play we all hurried home to get ready for our cast party. (I went out dressed as a Christmas version of Princess Leia; a la tinsel buns. And I may have received one of the best compliments ever that night: I was told that I looked like what Christina Applegate would look like if she dressed as Leia. Uhm. THANK YOU.) The stars aligned and the 12 Bars of Christmas was on bar #8 which happened to be the bar our cast party was at. So! I got to see everyone that I wanted to that night. People bought me drink after drink as a "well done!" and I must say I was feeling it. "She drinks a whiskey drink, she drinks a vodka drink..." -Chumbawumba. I was out til 6:30am and in bed til 1:00pm. It was a good way to end two months of hard work.
After my long awaited sleep-in, I rolled out of bed to skype with my family at my parents Christmas party. It was the first time our family Christmas has been held at our house and of course I missed it. But skype made up for it. It was lovely seeing my cousins, Aunt, and Uncle. I miss them and I'm so grateful for all of their love and encouragement. Though! I did have to dodge a few questions about potentially staying longer, my love life and what not. haha But that's ok. I would expect nothing less.

My adorable coteacher (the one that gave me the umbrella) has been humming/singing the Korean version of Silent Night all day today. Too cute. And I've essentially come to school today just to eat. From the moment I stepped in the door I've been eating. Carb after delicious carb. Mrs. Lee brought in a panini press and was making sandwiches and serving cappuccinos at 8:30am. Mrs. Nam brought in a pile of donuts and pastries and I brought it a green tea and red bean cake that I picked up on the way from Starbucks because I thought it looked Christmasey. And! I just got back from lunch...which, we had noodles, rice, and a sweet bun among other food items. I'm seriously on carb-overload. I know I've gained a couple pounds recently. But now that the play is done and school is done...I'm going back to being good. My pants feel tight. Woof.


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