After you leave home, you might find yourself feeling homesick, even if you have a new home that has nicer wallpaper and a better dishwasher than the home in which you grew up.
Those are some wise, wise words from Mr. Lemony Snicket himself. And if there is ever a time to long for drab wallpaper and bad dishwashers* I’d say that the time is nigh. The festive season. The time of endless family gatherings, delicious foods, tasty beverages and, being from the southern part of this fair world, summer.
[*Korean abodes most certainly have nicer wallpaper than any I’ve ever seen in South Africa, but I’m not so sure about the dishwashers, my Dad is ever so good at that and as back up there was always the electric-powered dishwasher, not yet widely available in Korea.]
Last week was Thanksgiving, which wasn’t a big deal for me, (although I did say ‘thanks’ and teach my students all about it) but it was a big deal for all of my American friends. They were dreaming of roast turkeys, pumpkin pies and football. It also, pretty much, marks the ‘one month to Christmas’ point. And then there’s New Year. So, basically a whole bunch of family fun and merriment. Except you aren’t at home, and you might be feeling a little sorry for yourself. Maybe just a little? This is my second festive season away from home, and here’s how I plan to deal with it, being an expert and all.
1. The Care Package. If you are very well-loved and cared for you can ask one of the people back home who love and care for you, to send you a package fill of love and tasty treats. It always feels wonderful to receive mail when you live abroad, especially if you have to go to the post office to pick it up. Ask someone to send you your favourite chocolates, festive treats or something that you can’t buy in your new home country.
2. Make festive plans. If you are one of those types of people who are super organised and love to rally people together, organise a Christmas party. All of your less organised and ‘leave everything to the last minute’ friends will love you. But seriously, when you are away from your biological family your friends are your new family, so make use of them,or be used (depending on your level of organisational skills).
3. Friends! Like I mentioned in the previous bit of expert advise, your friends are your family when you are far from home, so spend time with them. Hopefully some of them will love the BoneyM Christmas carol collection as much as your mother. And hopefully you can also tell him/ her: ‘Turn that wretched music off! It’s only allowed on Christmas day!”
4. Skype. From time to time, although you love your new-found family of friends, you will need ‘the real thing’, so just call them. Technology is a wonderful thing, so use it.
5. Embrace your new home. Do things that the natives do. In Korea Christmas is seen more as a couples holiday as opposed to a family one, so if you have a better half, hold hands, give each other giant teddy bears, or if you’ve been together for 100 days buy a ‘couples look’. If you don’t have a better half, well, see points 2 and 3. Natives of Korea also love to go around wearing ridiculously festive jumpers and leggings with reindeer frolicking across them. I must admit, it is very festive.
Follow these 5 simple steps to endless, if somewhat different, festive fun. And remember, the wallpaper is always brighter on the other side. Or something to that effect. And here’s to a fantastically, friend filled festive season!