Living so far from home and with access to a minimum amount of holidays there is an abundance of things that you will miss out on. Unfortunately, it’s these special festive times where you will feel the cruel pangs of homesickness the most. However, you will find that the temporary family which you build up around you are all experiencing the same thing. Like a real family, there is an admirable act of uniting through these essential traditions.
Everyone wants to celebrate their own traditional holidays, unfortunately you will most probably have to work through the actual day, but many people chose to observe the date in their free time. The chances are that you will find yourself celebrating not only your own special occasions, but also the traditions of the friends that you make.
Even though the experience will be diluted by the fact that it is not being celebrated in the native country, perhaps the food is lacking a special ingredient that you can’t get. Also, there will be no drunken uncle sat in the corner, he will appear in an extended Skype later. These celebrations will become the most distinguished ones because they are so different from the norm.
I have been lucky enough to experience my first ever American Thanksgiving here in Korea. Seven of us crammed into a tiny living room space, most of us sat on the floor balancing plates overflowing with Turkey and stuffing on our laps. We drank wine and played card games.
For Christmas there is a secret Santa planned and also a pot luck meal. Whilst the build up to the 25th is very different to previous years, there is still a special anticipation as I await Christmas Day. Each day I open my advent calendar (shipped over from the UK), and I feel the excitement grow. I’ve realised that I can celebrate my own beliefs and festivities no matter where I am in the world. Albeit quite differently than when I am at home.