Friday, December 31, 2010

A Harrington Christmas in Korea: The Eve of Christmas

The day of December 24th was spent at computer desks in front of students carrying on as if there were not a holiday to be celebrated. Needless to say, a day spent in that fashion can be a bit disheartening. Fortunately, the Harringtons had the joy of anticipating the arrival of a dear friend from the USA and some equally dear 'expat' friends to share a meal with in the final hours of 'anticipating'.

So it was, in the evening of the 24th of December, Mike and Melissa Harrington made their way to Seodajeon to enjoy a dish of 'yachae bulgogi' - a sweet stew of sorts with thinly sliced beef and some of Korea's best side-dishes: japche, rice and kim (seasoned seaweed), and of course a variety of kimchi. Following dinner, the Harrington's accompanied their friends the Callaway's back to their home to watch a bit of a Christmas Classic - Elf. About 45-60 minutes into the movie it was time for the Harrington's to make their way to Daejeon station.

The subway ride felt longer than necessary but was made exceptional by a young Korean girl wearing a Rudolph hat, sharing a giant smile and wishing the foreigner's a 'Merry Christmas' followed by more smiles, a few hellos and the addition of her older brother asking where we were from. With bulgogi in their bellies and joy in their hearts, the Harrington's made their way above ground where they frantically searched for their first American visitor, Haleh. She spotted them first and within minutes all three were back on the subway making their way to a festive '519' home.

Once home, the trio chatted a bit, enjoyed a cup of tea, vitamin yogurt and the opening of one Christmas Eve present: a pair of fuzzy blanket-like pajamas. With heavy eyelids, anticipation for morning and warmth wrapping their legs, the three made their way to bed where 'visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.'

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