Christmas Eve in Korea…we’re far away from anything resembling our “normal” Christmas. Its freezing cold, in a village where English is limited and with few resources for presents/entertainment and making anything particularly Chrismassy.
So what do we do to entertain ourselves? Well…
This morning we headed to Ulsan to have a coffee in a cafe (wow) and to see the new Mission Impossible movie (awesome). Little did we know that the central downtown area had gone nuts with Christmas Spirit.
As you can tell, its CRAZY busy. The streets are packed with people and fake snow is being shot from the top of a crane onto the crowd. Like its not cold enough.
Other weird shit going on.
A random boxing match where real boxers (we think) were challenging members of the crowd and then teasing them mercilessly as they danced around the ring.
Photos with Korean Santas.
A guy that actually looks more like Santa than any of the other impostors, engaging in a spot of performance art (the first bit of “culture” we’ve seen in Ulsan!).
A huge screen projecting crowd images – look closely!
And shops with heaps of sparkle.
And more crazy Christmas Eve hoards.
When it got too cold and too busy to hang in the streets anymore, we hopped on the 205 back to the village. We popped into the bakery to grab our loaf of specially made wholemeal bread and some coffees whereupon our lovely friends The Bakery Family presented us with a gift – a gorgeous cake!
Chuffed to bits we arrive home, crank up the ondol and start creating some Christmas magic of our own. We discovered a crappy Christmas tree in a box lurking in our cupboard so dragged it out. Alas, no decorations and nowhere in our village to buy them. Time to get creative. Ah, the Kiwi DIY spirit is alive and well in Deoksin.
Our first attempt was to attack the tree with the two party poppers that came attached to our cake-present.
Sadly, H-J’s popper lacked any contents so the end result was a bit shit to say the least. “What else could we do?”, we pondered. Time to improvise.
Right. Much better.
Next on the agenda was to open Santa’s mailbox. This week at school Dan lead his kids in a “write a letter to Santa” activity. There were some interesting and surprising results so to entertain ourselves this Christmas Eve we thought we would read all the letters. For those of you who are concerned, DON’T PANIC – we’re emailing through the requests to Santa tonight as we read them. And laugh at them. And now for your Christmas delight, we present the Top Ten.
At number 10:
And, due to its topical nature, at Number 1:
Smart phones, cash, reindeer, pencilcases and yo-yos were the most requested items. We’re really not sure why the kids are so keen on obtaining Santa’s reindeer! And what use they will be put to…The mind boggles really.
The last thing on the agenda for the evening is to construct a trifle in an as-close-to-the-real thing way as possible. It has required a little effort to collect the ingredients but we’ve got there mostly. H-J’s school gifted her with a sponge roll cake thing as a Christmas present yesterday (after a day of hell – ew) so that will provide the sponge component seeing as we don’t have an oven. Custard will be made from scratch the old fashioned way with milk, egg yolks and sugar. Nothing so fancy as vanilla though. Sherry/ginger ale is being replaced with some weird strawberry “wine” stuff we found at the bakery. Strawberries were easy thanks to the local supermarket. And randomly we discovered and had the foresight to buy gelatin sheets while in Busan a couple of weeks ago!
It will no doubt look exactly like this (thanks Cuisine magazine):
Well, that’s it from us today – nothing more to say than:
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM KOREA! We miss you all heaps and hope that your day is full of sunshine, BBQs, presents, friends, family, cold beer and good times.