Celebrating the Holidays as an Expat

Ah, celebrating the holidays. A time for family, reunions, celebrations, and getting so stuffed you feel as though you're pregnant with a food baby. If you're not with your aforementioned family, it is also the time homesickness likes to rear its ugly head. I believed that with modern technology and the fact that I've only been an expat for two months would have helped curve said blues a bit, but even I found myself missing home. I feel like it'd be especially odd for those expats celebrating holidays in countries where said holiday isn't that big. Christmas is a behemoth of a holiday, but it is not traditional in Korea, and hence it does not hold the same feeling here as it might at home. In fact, I believe Christmas day is more date night and less family feast here, but given that I'm not in a relationship much less in a relationship with a Korean fella, I only know this secondhand. 
Anyhow, my main tip for beating the holiday blues is to spend as much time as possible with other people. Even if you think you're utterly exhausted, and you just don't feel like it, get your tush up and out and celebrate. Accept the invitations, travel a little, be with people. That's the fun of holidays, anyhow, eating the foods you know you'll love and laughing over silly things with others. I still feel totally lucky that I got a city where the expats all know one another, and there are even traditions here handed down from former Namwon teachers. From decorating the halls to planning a dinner Christmas day and escaping the city for the countryside for a small weekend, these are the activities I stepped into. 
So even though Christmas with my family was a short Skype session that involved my grandmother asking me about my dating life (and then chiding me for not having one) and saying hello to the majority of my family and being asked questions about the Korean life, I didn't feel as homesick as I thought I might. I spent Christmas Eve with my fairly new founded church community, laughing hysterically over the many skits and songs put on by everyone from the toddlers to the elderly (and yes, that included me being a part of a group singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"). I spent Christmas day gorging on delicious food in one of our villa's apartments, listening to the benefits of Christmas in the heat (from the South Africans) vs. a white Christmas (the rest of us). I went to Jeonju on Friday to buy my Christmas present for myself and to explore Gaeksa. With the rest of the villa and some others, I escaped to an adorable pension in Gurye (designed like a little Hanok village) for more festivities including lots of food, fresh air, games, and food comas. 
And now I'm looking towards six weeks of winter camp and then a long vacation in Cambodia and Thailand. I think this is where I insert #blessed. ;)

Hope you all had a lovely holiday as well!    

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