For the first time in my life I find myself far, far from home on Christmas. While I’ve only been away for less than six months, my previous existence back home now seems like a vague and fuzzy hallucination. It’s a strange feeling when mixed with a holiday that evokes the most vivid of memories.
Christmas is growing in South Korea. Coca-Cola Santa lines the streets of billboards and video screens along the Gangnamdaero, storefronts displaying lights in varying colours, shoppers colliding in the streets. With the recent cold spell hitting Seoul, it’s beginning to feel a lot more like home.
We celebrated this year in the apartment of a friend in Sinmokdong. We huddled around a small tree and enjoyed a rather unconventional Christmas Eve dinner of MacDonald’s. On Christmas morning we woke up, made a homestyle breakfast of Bacon, Eggs, Toast and Pancakes. A long parade of Skype calls to the other side of the world to wish our families a Merry Christmas. It was a strange feeling of experiencing Christmas celebrations through a tiny window on a computer screen, but it somehow made me feel much closer to home than I have in a long time. Seven Nova Scotians and one Ohioan opened their gifts for the first time together and somehow managed to make everything feel like just another holiday at home.
Merry Christmas to everyone, wherever you are.