A Very Expat Exmas

There is a word in the English language that has irked me for the longest time. Every year, it comes barreling into my life like a wild boar…and every year I am blindsided, because it seems to arrive earlier and earlier with each.passing.year.

I am, of course talking about Christmas. For those of you who are like:10_signs_10.gif

I have to regrettably say that I just don’t understand you.

For me, Christmas has always garnered a three-month long build up, involving but not limited to braving the over populated shopping centers. In addition to the debt you incur from having gone in the first place.

The only thing worse than that is knowing that the end result will be anti-climactic at best. That’s the real kicker right there!

Even as you spend at least an hour fighting for a parking spot, and then spend a considerable amount of time being shoved into walls and stepped on…you already know that the whole Christmas charade is going to be a bust.

You already know aunt Marge is going to get drunk and say wildly inappropriate things. You already know sister wonderful is going to make it all about her…again.

Which is fine by you, because it takes the attention off of your considerably impalpable life for a while. For you already know the inevitable conversations you don’t want to have:

why are you still single? (not me anymore)

when are you getting married? (me)

are you pregnant?

when are you going to finally: come home/ graduate/ get your life together and what on earth will you do after that?

Have you gained weight? You look fat.

Have you lost weight? What are you, anorexic now?!

Let’s talk about what you’ve been posting this on the FaceLook this week.

Why don’t you call as much anymore?

You know- that dress doesn’t look very good on you.


Maybe I’m just cynical because for me, Christmas has always equated to the most dramatic episode of Family Feud you’ve probably ever seen. You’re either in it as if you were Tom Brady in the Super Bowl; or watching it as his third-string backup who doesn’t even get to touch his “deflated balls.” If you are the latter: congratulations! But here’s what you will absentmindedly catch yourself asking:

When are we going to church? Translation: Let’s continue drinking this wine because I don’t even know where that is anymore… and I also want you to forget, but in case you remember I need to make this work for me.

Why are you making tur-duck-in? Translation: We always have turkey! What’s suddenly wrong with turkey? No one even likes tur-duck-in…just pick one animal!

Oh, hi? Um, I don’t think we’ve met. Translation: I don’t know you. Who are you? Who sent you? Why is this strange person grabbing my arm? Mom?!

When does the party end? Translation: Get me out of here. My social quota has been filled until next year, and I have netflix and chill date…with myself. Grey’s Anatomy won’t wait forever!

Oh, thanks! You shouldn’t have Translation: No, really. You shouldn’t have. Why would you get me this? Can I have the receipt…you know, to match and make it a set!

It’s literally just one painful interaction after another and on Christmas, they just keep coming. Don’t get me wrong, I love socializing and I find most Christmas parties to be enjoyable…it’s just that there’s so much hoopla made about one stinkin’ day that all my energy is used up by the time December 25th decides to rear its ugly head.

I’ve always said it and I’ll probably continue saying it until I’m as old as father Christmas himself…I love everything about true Christmas! Except for December 25th.


I love the time I get to spend with people who matter most. I love eating amazing food and enjoying their company. I wish Christmas was simpler than what it is in the states because I don’t like the pressures it puts on me. I don’t like the forced, uncomfortable conversations. I don’t like the utter chaos it bestows upon everyone.

Which is why I was so surprised that I had a really hard time this year.

2015 has been a difficult year to say the least. On top of that, it’s the first time in a long time I’ve spent it without my better half to assist me in avoiding the landmines Christmas always brings.

I finally got the Christmas I always wanted. A few twinkle lights outside. Entering a shopping mall isn’t a death sentence. Songs that aren’t Christmas related are played loudly through those malls. There’s no one to ask me all those uncomfortable questions…

There’s no one to ask me anything about my life who is genuinely interested in the answers.

That’s the worst part of it all! I don’t even get pleasure out of this “holiest of days.”( I know there are people I love reading this right now, and I’m sorry if you truly believe- I envy you for that, but I am not on that ship. I still love you!)

I miss my people. I miss waking up with the man I love on Christmas. I miss seeing the people I love happy. I miss telling inappropriate jokes at the adults’ table. I miss the people who really get me. I miss the people I don’t have to try and impress 24/7 and then feel anxious when I let my guard down. I have made countless friends in Korea and I love them all, but no one really seems to get me like they do from wench I came.

I miss the effortless ease of familiarity. Where I can feel free to be exactly who I am because I don’t have to try and make myself more social, more outgoing (and I’m pretty outgoing)- I’m enough as it. I miss hanging out with my people and not feeling forced to wow people with conversation every second.

It is what I get for wanting to leave the comforts of home. That is a decision I will live with, because I don’t regret coming to Korea.

So to kill my yule tide blues I saw a Korean interpretation of The Nutcracker. I spent actual Christmas with some fellow expatriates. I even cooked…and I cleaned. It truly was a Christmas miracle because I don’t even have a pot in my own apartment- real talk. It was the first Christmas in a long time that I can remember enjoying.

It made me appreciate the simple things we often take for granted. The morning and bedtime kisses. The “how was your day” conversations and knowing you could talk for hours and the other person wouldn’t mind at all. The hangry arguments on what to eat for dinner, and the most sincere apologies for the things we said when we hadn’t eaten.

So here is my wish for Christmas 2016 (lookin’ at you, baby Jesus): strike down upon thee, with a furious vengeance against any man or woman who dare utter the sinful words of “baby it’s cold outside.”

Because if I hear one more rendition of that yule tide date rape anthem one more time…I’m going to start a real war on Christmas. Before you get your jingle bells in a knot, let’s get something straight: at the moment, there is no actual war on Christmas because it’s EVERYWHERE!  So you bet your bottom dollar- there will be one if you don’t stop with that song.



Do you have any funny Christmas stories…ones that you question why you partake in the holiday in the first place? Let me know!

“Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!”



3 thoughts on “A Very Expat Exmas

  1. Remember that one, amazing, super-fun Christmas? You know the one.

    Also, I listened to the lyrics of baby it’s cold outside with my active ears this year for the first time. Totally rapey.


    1. Let the record show- Christmas or not, hanging out with the McGowan’s is always the best part of any day…but especially the best part of every Christmas! lawlz I love you turkeys!


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