Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas in Korea

Just like back home, the buildings of Seoul are illuminated with gaudy plastic and colourful flashing lights. But, well, it's always like that. 

Christmas has crept up on me relatively unheraldedly. Nothing happened until December, which makes perfect sense, and since then I've been subjected to a few Christmas songs (but no Wizzard) and some tinsel but that's largely the extent of it. The churches are the only places to put any effort in in terms of decorations. I'm not one to shun the concept of Christmas - though I can see where Ebeneezer's coming from I really enjoy the food and the couple of days off work - it's nice though not have it rammed in your face.

At school however, you'd be forgiven for thinking Christmas had been cancelled. (It literally has been for the teachers: the annual Christmas meal we'd been told about has been shelved.) The place is currently undergoing extensive renovation meaning the thick carpet of dust on everything is the only vaguely festive thing on show. It's festive because it looks like snow. I suppose I wasn't expecting much but when you mention Christmas to the kids they do seem genuinely excited, and it's a shame not to share in their childish mirth. Especially when however many thousands of wons were spent on the Halloween decorations. 

There are Christmas activities tomorrow but I've inexplicably been left out of the fun, I'm just teaching normal lessons. To compensate I'm bringing "presents" for my homeroom class and sweets for everyone else. Presents is in inverted commas because they're pretty shit: I just went to Lotte Mart and spent W12000/six quid* on seven stocking fillers. But my children are easily impressed. One of the presents is a set of castanets. 


*July exchange rates. I'm not mentally strong enough to check what the pound is worth at the moment.

It started snowing earlier too. I could've experienced my first white Christmas had I not been leaving the country on Christmas eve. Can't envasage much snow falling in Tokyo either. According to the internet it was 17 degrees there today. I'm taking my shorts.

1 comment:

Chi-Hé said...

"Luckily" the won is just as weak as the pound at the moment, so that exchange rate was pretty accurate.