Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! (Or, The Return of the Prodigal Blogger)

I'm back! It must be a Christmas miracle! It's been a few months since I've written for this blog, and for any possible readers who have possibly noticed, sorry!
Because I've not written in a while, I have a couple posts-worth of stuff to write, but this post right here and now is going to be about my own here and now.

Being on this side of the world has a few advantages, namely, holidays are sorta twice as long: I'll be able to vicariously experience Christmas again on the 26th when I Skype my family on their Christmas morning since there is such a time difference. I wonder if my little package got to them in time?
My own Christmas here has been wonderful. There has been a perfect amount of snow in the English Village to make it look like Hogsmeade and feel nice and holiday-like. I was also able to get work off on Christmas Day (thanks to my weekend boss having a heart), and I was able to go to church and visit with my good friends.
This picture is of the mentioned "Good Friends"

After work on Christmas Eve I traveled to Seoul to spend time with the other single people from church, and we had a nice dinner and a fun gift exchange. I spent the night with a very kind and generous family in Seoul, so getting to services in the morning was really quite easy and quick, which itself was very good because I woke up about 13 minutes before I had to leave (more on that story if you ask for it...actually, no, it's a boring story that goes like this: my phone [alarm] battery died in the night and I thus overslept). For the record, I showered and even still made it to church on time!

My plans for Christmas evening is to go to dinner with many of the people from work to a restaurant called "On The Border" and it has nothing to do with the Korean border it sits so close to. It's actually a Mexican restaurant, and REALLY good. I know this because I had Thanksgiving dinner there last month. Anyway, because I had a few hours before dinner time, and I don't want to go back to EV and then come back to Seoul, I decided to go back to the church to play piano or read or whatever to pass the time. I did have the idea to write a blog post, but then again I've had that idea since September. Turns out, I was bumped off the only piano left by the time I got here because the Korean branch is having a Christmas thing here tonight and they needed the piano. I felt ok about relinquishing the piano because a group came in with a cello, a clarinet, and probably other instruments that I didn't notice because I was grabbing my stuff to leave. I searched for any other piano, but failed to find one, so I found a mostly comfy chair in the main foyer just off the chapel to do the unthinkable: write a blog post.

So here I am, writing this thing. The Koreans are rehearsing for their Christmas program and it sounds wonderful; the arrangements for the carols are amazing, and the pianist is phenomenal! I'm a little jealous. Speaking of Piano stuff, I finally watched and heard someone play Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# minor, and it made me happy to know that it is actually possible to play and that a person with only 10 fingers is fully capable of playing it. It gives me hope. Not that it's the most challenging piece, but of the pieces that I want to learn, it's probably the trickiest. (How does one manage the thumbs?!)

All in all, it has been a wonderful Christmas. I've been able to Skype with my family and spend time with my friends, as well as have really good food that I even helped to make. I think I've been able to have a meaningful Christmas this year because it really wasn't about the decorations or presents - I didn't have anything more that an advent calendar made of plastic wrap and ribbon and candy to decorate my apartment with. I only even watched the first 20 minutes of A Christmas Story (I did watch Flick lick the flagpole). I listened to Christmas music and stayed in touch with family and friends. I wrote a few cards, I read Luke 2. I sang along to carols in church. What more could I ask for?
This Christmas has been wonderful! I love you all!

P.S. My mom said I should post some pictures that I took at the Seoul Lantern Festival last month, so here you go! It was really pretty, and they were all just lanterns!

This one mimics the entrance to a famous palace in Seoul.

This very life-like lantern is an example of a modern, mid-twenties American, with traditional Korean Children playing the background.

Tiger. Tiger, tiger, tiger....

This lantern was really huge, maybe 25-30 feet tall!

Lanterns in a tree...obviously...

I kid you not, this enormous peacock flapped its wings and belched flames. Flames!

Merry Christmas!