Merry Christmas!!

couple christmas photosMerry Christmas everyone! We’ll be celebrating the day with homemade cinnamon rolls, Christmas movies, good friends and delicious Italian food. I hope you all are surrounded by the ones you love this holiday season and celebrating in style. We miss our friends and family so much around the holidays but are eternally grateful for the family that we have found here in Korea!

 

An Unconventional Holiday

couple christmas photos

When you hear ‘Christmas’, imagery of decorated houses, strewn Christmas lights, cinnamon candles burning, cookies in the oven and a constant flow and family and friends typically comes to mind. It probably comes as no shock that Christmas in Korea looks quite a bit different. Although we celebrate it as a time to draw close to family and friends and celebrate Christ’s birth; for Koreans, it’s the most romantic and date driven day of the year. If you have a special someone in your life, Christmas Eve and Christmas are celebrated much like Valentine’s Day in the States. There are even some popular areas in Seoul and Busan that shut off all the lights at midnight on Christmas so couples can kiss in the dark.

So what does Christmas look like for us? Not quite the same as back home but something that I have grown to love all the same. I try to keep all the traditions I can from back home such as homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning like my dad makes every year, or making homemade decorations since they can be expensive and hard to find here. But there is one thing that I actually love about being an expat in a different country during Christmas and that’s being disconnected. Disconnected from the ads, the crowds and the commercialized version of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with all of this, I’ve just been able to view it from an outsiders perspective. And I’ve grown to just enjoy getting back to the root of what the holiday means to me, without all of the other distractions that are so easy to fall into. All the ads plastered everywhere promoting the latest and greatest, parents stressed out to try and pay for a Christmas their kids will love and the pressure to buy buy and impress.

Living in Korea, Jeremy and I have been able to lead a much more simplistic lifestyle compared to back home. Most of our disposable income is spent on travel, majority of our furniture was found in the trash (ok, this is a little extreme for most I agree), and many things are not available here so we’ve learned to live without many of the products and conveniences of home (although we never complain when boxes full of American goodies get sent in the mail). It’s been a sort of big ‘reset’ button on our thinking towards spending, need vs. want and how we view consumerism. And these views have followed into the holidays. Living in Korea has shown us that you don’t need a fully decorated apartment, pile full of gifts under the tree, or many other things that signify ‘Christmas’ in the States to truly have a great holiday. What’s most important to us is time spent with those you love, enjoying holiday traditions while making new ones of your own and most importantly to Jeremy and me is celebrating the birth of Christ. All you need at Christmas are the ones you care about…and peppermint hot chocolate never hurt either. I hope you all have a great Christmas and get to celebrate with the ones you love!

 

Oh Christmas Tree

Just a few photos from our tree excursion.
Us, our tree and our tiny little clown car.
Merry Christmas Charlie Brown! I’m starting to actually like the Charlie Brown trees more. Guess it will save us money at the tree farms when we get back to the states and we don’t mind taking the rejects.
We finally got a cute picture of Zeke with the lights! I love my little family.

Honeymooners

Today marks two whole years since I said ‘I do’ and inevitably it changed my life forever. It’s the day I said ‘I do’ to a traveling lifestyle, syrup Saturdays, and a never-ending list of new things to try. To the marriage veterans, two years is nothing; they look back at when they’d been married for just two years and laugh at when they thought they had everything figured out. But as self-proclaimed life long honeymooners, every year is a landmark. It is another year that we proved the negative marriage stereotypes wrong. I am definitely not an expert on marriage nor do I ever want to come across as one. I know that each day is different, each day is a new and wonderful challenge, and each day has its lessons to be learned. Speaking of lessons, here are some that we’ve learned in our two years of marriage:

-Starting a serious discussion late at night is never a good idea. Beds are for sleeping, couches are for talking.

Always make more food. I learned this the hard way. I figured a meal that I made for myself when I was single would surely be enough for the both of us. Wrong.

-Long drives through the country rice fields are the best for long talks.

-Always remember to turn off the water heater after hubs gets out of the shower (ps our water heater needs to be turned on for each use, best and worst thing I’ve ever experienced)

-First one up makes breakfast. Aka hubs.

-All things said out of hunger should be immediately forgotten.

-Prayer, prayer, prayer.

This pretty much sums up our two years…

Happy anniversary hubs! Here’s to many many more! Even though neither of us can remember very much of the vows that we wrote, we do both remember promising to always be partners in adventure. I think we’ve done a pretty good job so far. I can’t wait to see what the next 70 plus years has in store for us.

merry merry christmas

this december has been surprisingly cold outside. when we first came to korea it was cold but we were told not to turn on the floor heat in the apartment because the cost of it was so high. (apartments here have heated floors instead of central heat) so we plugged in an electrical heater and thought nothing more of it. turns out, it was just as expensive if not more so. our bill was the highest in our building (something i’m slightly proud of) and a government official was sent to our house to find out why we were wasting so much electricity. i guess we know better for next year.

charlie brown christmas tree

we were debating whether or not to get a tree but the holiday season just doesn’t seem the same without one. we went to homeplus (the local supermarket) to look for one. we saw a lot of decorations and decided to come back the next week to pick some out. by the time we got back to the store, around the 10th of december, everything was sold out. they had a sad looking fake tree and some bulb ornaments left. we decided that we would try out luck at finding a tree out back, and by out back we mean the mountain that sits behind our apartment complex. the mister did an amazing job at finding the perfect charlie brown tree and even made a stump holder for it. i was in charge of making homemade ornaments and decorations…never again. it was kind of like our idea to string popcorn for our tree last year. we made it half way around one side of the tree and stopped. i enjoyed the first hour or so of making the ornaments and then wanted to give up. i have never folded so much paper in my life. you would think i was majoring in origami. but now it’s done and over and we’re going to try to save all of them for next year somehow so we can sit back and enjoy more of the season.
christmas lights
korea is predominantly christian but when it comes to christmas there’s not a lot of celebration. the day is more seen of as a day to hang out with friends and your significant other than it is to be with family. we spent the day making crepes and mexican food with friends and watching old christmas movies. the perfect way to relax before heading back to work the next day.

these are salt dough ornaments that are really common to make with children. we tried them with our kindi classes too.diy salt dough ornament

the amazing bottom that jeremy made for the tree

homemade christmas tree bottom

we’ll be heading to japan tomorrow and we can’t wait for a getaway! i’ll be sure to get pictures posted when we get back! merry christmas!