How wonderful it is to have people love you


I'm not upset that I'm not at home with my family celebrating Christmas. But it's an odd phenomenon to experience Christmas in a country where the festivities are just as big of a deal, but the meaningful/emotional/intimate characteristic of Christmas is completely absent. Here, Christmas is a time to spend with your significant other. It isn't uncommon to ditch the family to hang out with a boyfriend or girlfriend. My friend even told me that she was told to not even step outside if she doesn't have a boyfriend to spend Christmas with...isn't that sad and so absolutely misconstrued?!

Anyway, at the beginning of this week, I was feeling a bit anxious in how I was going to spend my Christmas. Mark will be taking advantage of his rare vacation time by soaking the rays in Thailand for a week with one of his good friends, Nick. And, frankly, I refuse to heed the advice of the Koreans by staying indoors just because my significant other isn't in the same city as me. While going through a list of things I could do, I became slightly envious that my family will be in good 'ol California, where the sun isn't shining but the weather is definitely warmer. Then, they'll be off to Mammoth for some amazing skiing, complete with smores and hot chocolate in a toasty cabin. To be honest, I felt a little left out.

But, my friends, my family reminded me (yet again) why they are the best, the most loving and most amazing family I could ever hope for. They sent stockings to me, Mark and Jamie, full of winter goodies. If you've never received a stocking from my mom, you have no idea what kind of game she brings to stocking stuffers...she takes it to another level. In past years, I've received everything from foot powder to a digital camera (I'm just talking about the stocking, people!). This year was no different: honey, organic agave, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tea, canned jalapeno peppers, SPAM, dark chocolate and perhaps best of all, an herbal garden starting kit (SEE?!?!).


[My mom knows me well...Trader Joe's teas are my favorite!]


[What was inside the stocking]

And the best part is that I have two loving families. Mark's mom also sent us amazing stockings, reminding us that we're all spending the holidays together in spirit. In that stocking, I received a hand-knit scarf and hat, slippers, peanut butter cookies, jewelry, beauty supplies and ice cream-flavored Jelly Bellies :)

[The Jelly Bellies are missing for, um, obvious reasons ;)]

I was so touched by their love that I decided to eliminate this pressure of making Christmas "special." It'll happen naturally, regardless of what I decide to do, because my life is filled with love from the people directly around me and also on the other side of the world. The plan so far is to have an early breakfast with Mark before he heads off to the airport. Then, I'll meet up with Jamie, go to Dongdaemun market, come back and spend the day being creative and crafty. We have a few projects up our sleeves and we can't wait to share them with you when we're done.

We thought about taking a bike ride along the river, but with it being 5 degrees and all, I think that plan is being scrapped. There's a skating rink in Gwanghamun, but it's outdoors so I doubt we'll have enough courage (yes, I consider it courage to brave this ridiculous cold weather!) to do it. I'd love to bake throughout the day but unfortunately, I don't have an oven and there aren't any affordable toaster ovens that I can find in time. Oh well, we'll figure it out :)

I'm really excited for this coming week. I have a feeling it's going to be relaxing yet festive. And best of all, I know I'll be glowing from the love I received from home all week.

I hope all of you have a beautiful Christmas. Enjoy it and remember why we're celebrating Christmas in the first place.

Until next time, bisous xoxo...

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