Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Holiday coping strategy for expats:

Merry Christmas, folks. Sorry for the lack of updates. I will explain momentarily.

Christmas so far from home and familiarity could be rough. I know Thanksgiving me gave me some random, unexpected anxieties that resulted in both positive and negative experiences, so I wanted to prep myself for the inevitable ups and downs of coping with the much bigger holiday of Christmas where I knew sadness was pretty much inevitable.

Here's been my rule for the last week: Accept any and all invitations where it is physically possible to attend (I had to turn one awesome thing down because I was working--boo!) to do stuff that sound even remotely interesting. Especially stuff that involves hanging out with cool people. The results? Excellent. I had some amazing times, no sleep at all, and didn't update my blog for days. I missed writing here (and I'm sure you all missed my witty brilliance, right?).

I may at some point share some of the cool stories over the last few days, but I will give you just an outline of the highlights:

Saturday night: Dinner with Yumiko and David at Rama and Bavana's (a yummy Indian food place downtown near cell phone street). Followed by coffee and chatting with Yumiko at Angel-in-us coffee until her boyfriend Jin-oo got off work and joined us. We had a nice conversation and I may have found a good Korean language partner in him. His English is pretty bad (like my Korean) so we could actually help each other learn more. I lost the napkin notes from our conversation, but I learned Korean words for scientist and other stuff. It was great. Next it was off to T-birds for drinking and dancing with Sarah. I don't even remember when I got home. It was late.

Sunday: Had a Christmas party at Kirsty's. I was responsible for vegetables so I had to go shopping and chop stuff up pretty much as soon as I woke up. I made it there at around the time I'd planned to be there (4 p.m.). It was lots of fun. I have pictures, so I may be doing a photo post about this one later on. I love the people I met there (and the ones I knew from before).

See how exciting Stealing Secret Santa was? God, I'm a dork.

After the party, Yumiko was headed downtown to meet Jin-oo for his friend's birthday party and invited me to come. Note the policy above to understand why I accepted even though I looked like crap and had a backpack full of leftover vegetables in need of refrigeration. However, I'm really glad I did because I had some fantastic times and met some awesome people (who I will forgive for being younger than me and calling me Nuna and Eonni all night) and got tons of practice speaking Korean. I even sang a Korean pop song in a noraebang with Yumiko! The girlfriend of the birthday boy was an Economics student at Yeoungnam named Seong Min who kind of wants to do a language partner thing, also. So that would be really awesome because she was a sweet girl.

Monday: I had some stomach issues all night (I think I ate meat in something at the holiday party or out with Yumiko) and couldn't make it to taekwondo, but then Anne called and we had a fantastic conversation so it was ok. I'll go back on Thursday.

Work was rough. Between the illness and being exhausted and having to work on Christmas Eve and a mild money crisis because I thought I had lost my money I was saving for next weekend's ski trip (I hadn't... I'm just an idiot), I wasn't even pumped up about our (Se Jin and I) big night on the town. But we went downtown, drank a ton of coffee, and then had fantastic times. Really--Christmas Eve was the best night on the town I've had in downtown Daegu (no details at this time...). Thanks to everyone involved.

Tuesday: Yeah... um so I got home at 6:45 a.m. and at some point had decided to go to church on Christmas Day with Se Jin (again, see this week's policy) so I had to wake up 2.5 hours later and attempt to look fabulous (guess who attends her church, right?) on no sleep at all. It turned out to be lots of fun. I sang Christmas carols and followed along with the sermon in the dual language Bible. Also, I participated in this cool tea-service communion for Christmas (yeah, I was the white person on display, but it's a small church and they were good people). I had my one moment of near crying because during prayers, I tried to think about all the people I love and wish them happiness for the new year which just made me miss them tons--but this was quickly remedied by Se Jin's mother who reminded me that I was her daughter.

After lunch and chatting with the Kwons, Se Jin dropped me off at the subway station so I could meet Kirsty, Laura, and Gil downtown for Christmas dinner (she had to go meet her professor from university). I was a little early, so I bought ridiculously expensive, fancy ski pants. Now I will have to find as many excuses as possible to use them...

Dinner at Dijon was exceptional. The company was brilliant, the wine great (by FAR the best I've had in Korea), and the food delicious. I don't even have words right now for how grateful I am to have met Kirsty and Laura, so I won't try. They are wonderful.

Afterwards began what I shall dub my Sex in the City phase of Christmas because I met up with Sarah, Becca, and Kelly (a friend of Becca's from the States who I met a couple times but got to know better on Christmas Eve and last night) and we had an evening of girl talk. Lots and lots of highly entertaining girl talk in several venues throughout downtown. There may have been some other strange things that happened--and there may or may not be photographic evidence of it that will prevent any of us from being elected to office in the future. But I'm not saying that's a definite fact.

Oh yeah, and I got tons of Christmas love on the handphone because that's the way things go down in Korea-town. As it were.

Now at least you know why I haven't been writing. I'm sorry, blog readers. I really do love you, too. I'm just about to drop dead from exhaustion and I have to work in about an hour. Please forgive me. And have some wonderful holidays of your own.

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