affording Chirstmas

While listening to the radio, a woman was being interviewed about the rising costs of keeping one's home warm through the winter months. She went on about how the rising prices of gas was affecting her financial stability and that this year, she was unable to afford Christmas.

The entire story was extremely heart breaking, and I couldn't help but hinge on the words she said - not being able to afford Christmas. C'mon people! Isn't his a perfect example of how consumerism has tainted the true spirit of this holiday season? It made me question what kind of society we've become that one has to afford this holiday. A time that originally celebrated the birth of Christ has become so enormously huge and commercial that people aren't able to pay enough to celebrate it? Isn't it the gathering of family members and loved ones that make this season so special? It seems that this year in particular is much more focused on buying rather than gathering...or maybe this is me being back in the States and forgetting what life is like to pop into the shops in December.

And let me continue by saying that I'm as guilty as anyone else about consumerism. In fact, the other day I walked out of the mall toting more bags than I could carry, and although I'm so excited to give presents to my loved ones, it makes me a little sad that the entire idea of Christmas or the season in general, has become so gifty (? -- I'm not sure what word I'm looking for here...)

Anyway, it's two days until Christmas and I'm very excited to spend time with my family and friends, to stuff my belly with delicious food and be merry and bright. I think of Christmas in Korea, one day off of work and nothing overly commercialized. There, both Christ and Buddha's birthdays were celebrated equally, for one day, without all the hustle and bustle that we have here. Friends went on vacations, families ate nice dinners, I celebrated in a parking lot around a bucket of fire with Sung Pyo playing the sax and Ryan Vail playing crappy Bob Dylan covers. The big holidays are celebrated in the fall and spring and aren't fixed around Religious calendar days. Instead, gifts are given in honor of family ancestry and lunar new year celebrations. Maybe it seems more appropriate? I'm not sure.

Despite this questioning rant, it is almost Christmas and I'm off to Holland to stay with the family. There's an awful windy snowstorm standing in my way and I hope the drive isn't too icky.

To anyone who reads this,

Merry Christmas
Happy Kwanza

Stay well and warm.


Frank TV is really dumb.

I had a slight missing-of-Korea moment the other day. Actually, I miss many things about Korea , but the last tme I was walking through Chicago I saw this:
which made me really miss Korea. And all the tiny little coffees. And even Chris and Cam, the twins who were permanent fixtures of the place. And the man with silver caps on his teeth. And the perfect hearts they designed in the frothy milk of their lattes. And the free internet. And my coffee card on the wall. And these are only things from one little place!

I also think I'm kind of dumb because I didn't realize Lavazza was bigger than Korea.


In other news, my family celebrated my granny turning 90 and it was an enormous amount of fun. I saw cousins I haven't seen in 14 years and their children, I ate more food than at Thanksgiving, I revisited the church of my childhood, and I did many other things that I cannot think of right now - things I don't normally do over my weekend...which might be why I feel so exhausted today.


Another contributing factor to me feeling tired is that last night was my roommate's birthday celebrations. He turned 24. We had a nice party with lots of food, decorations, a chocolate fountain, wine, and catch phrase. We didn't get a roommate picture, so maybe next time.

I'm tired though so I'm going to go to bed. I have a heated mattress pad so I like to spend a lot of time warming up in it.