I have to admit that I was a little down about Christmas this year. Sure it's great to hear the music and see the decorations, fun to watch Christmas movies, and generally a jolly time of year in general. But there's no way the holidays in Seoul can compare to a holiday spent at home with friends and family -- plus Starbucks doesn't sell its delicious Gingerbread Latte here, so that's just another stab in my heart.
That changed today (my feelings about Christmas, not the latte situation, unfortunately). I went with some friends to a children's Christmas pageant and seeing the excitement on the kids' faces and hearing all the familiar carols in an intimate space gave me such joy. And I remembered what the Christmas season is really about.
Before the pageant, we went for coffee at a tiny cafe near the church. Sitting inside this cozy place -- only three or four tables in total -- watching the snow fall softly outside and listening to an eclectic mix of '90s tunes (we're talking everything from "Beauty and the Beast" to Aqua), I felt an enormous sense of peace that's been sometimes hard to find in busy Seoul.
Later, walking to the subway through the snow after the pageant, that comfortable feeling returned. Part of it was the presence of good, new friends who feel the same way I do about the holidays and are determined to make this one count. Now having concrete plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day -- and ways to celebrate in the weeks before -- the season certainly feels more merry.
Plus, snow makes everything more beautiful. It even manages to turn bright, loud Seoul into a quiet haven of white dust.