Friday, 18 October 2013

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

Presents. Who doesn't love them? I am a big present person. I love receiving them and sending them. Christmas is one of my favourite times of year not only because it's Christmas but my birthday is at that time of year, too. I love seeing what Santa or my Kris Kindle has given me. Ripping open the paper, or pulling the tissue out of the bag, never fails to delight me! I hate that my Mam keeps telling me that I should have outgrown Santa by now and that from this year we won't get "Santa" gifts anymore! I think with having my nephew this should all be continuing and not fading away!

Last year's haul!
Since coming to Korea, I've gotten a new appreciation for presents - and not just the ones at Christmas or my birthday. My family have been really good about sending me things like Barry's Tea (thanks to my Mam and Aunt), as well as goodies like my favourite chocolates or deodorant. However, my favourite things are the unexpected packages. This time last year, I knew my Mam was sending me deodorant so I was looking out for my package but when it arrived, I was absolutely thrilled to receive Hallowe'en decorations in addition to my deodorant!

This year's haul

On Monday, when I arrived in there was a stack of post on the table in the teachers room. I never look at it because there usually isn't anything for me. However, a few minutes later with a delighted smile on his face, my Principal handed me a white package. I grabbed it, recognised my Mam's handwriting and hugged that package tight! I was so excited that, even though I needed to prepare for my classes, I immediately ripped it open (carefully of course) and took out 4 packets of Hallowe'en decorations! I'd mentioned to my Mam recently that I needed some photos of Hallowe'en to use for a class and could she have my siblings email them to me. I never expected that not only will I have an amazing PowerPoint to show my kids but also a blooming fantastically decked out classroom! I can't wait to have this class at the end of October! 

My cousin
Even better than opening a package is receiving the gift of someone's presence. I was only in Korea a few months, and my Mam had been visiting her family in the US. when she arrived home, she called me to say that she had heard that my cousin, Princess B, was coming to Korea for a month and that she'd stop to see me and another friend of hers who was living and teaching here.  I was so excited, I decorated my house with a few welcome signs and informed anyone and everyone that she was coming! B stayed a week with me and it was amazing as she is such a brilliant, inspiring girl and on top of that, such an easy guest to have. I missed her terribly when she left as in the short time she was with me we got into a routine that felt completely natural: She kept my floor swept and I did the dishes. She really clicked with all my friends and thanks to her, I got to know Swaglu, who has since become such an important part of my life. Her encouragement of my adventures and advice on improving my life, whilst not always followed, is always remembered and kept close to my heart.

This last week, on Friday my brother told me that he was thinking of coming for a visit and on Saturday sent an email saying that he'd be coming next week. I was so thrilled I was dancing around my room, squealing "Joe is coming! Joe is coming!" and popping off text messages to the besties to let them know. I immediately began searching Skyscanner for reasonable flight prices and sending off print-screens to my brother. That evening, I got to talk to him and was a little disappointed to find out that it wouldn't be next week that he'd arrive. Thanks to my reading to quickly, I mistook his meaning to let me know next week when he'd arrive to him arriving next week. However, he hopes he will be here by the end of October/beginning of November for two weeks. I can't wait as I haven't seen him since I left for Korea over a year ago and he was doing mission work in Liberia when I was home in August. I now have another thing to look forward to this month besides Hallowe'en!

My brother and me.
So you might think I'm mad to still want Santa gifts, and you'd be in good company if you do! You might think I'm mad to be this excited that someone is coming to visit me - but having someone who is a piece of home whether they are a brother or a cousin, puts a different dynamic on your view of Korea and allows you to see everything anew through their eyes. It gives you the gift of innocence - similar to the innocent joy a child has at Christmas - as they gaze with unfamiliar eyes on the sights, sounds, smells of this country. I can't wait to experience it with him.

PS I should point out, my family is always good about sending little presents. When I was in college in America they would frequently send letters or packages to me. A huge thank you to anyone who has ever sent me a letter, a small parcel, an email or even just their love - I appreciate it all and it makes life here all the sweeter.

PPS - this post was inspired by the song "My favourite things" from Sound of Music.

PPPS - the first 5 people to comment on this post will get a small Korean gift from me.


  1. Yo blog was different didnt really know what to expect its cool cause wat you are doin makes a change in others life you are positive in your blogs this is ANTONIO

    1. Thanks, Antonio! That's really sweet of you!

  2. This brings me back 25 years to my freshman year in college. Living only 3 hours from home, I didn't get care packages, but I vividly remember how much I looked forward to the very long letters that my best friend from high school would send. We wrote tomes to one another and they were as good as boxes of things from home. In spite of the convenience of email, I miss getting (and sending) handwritten letters.

    1. My family always send little notes when they send a package and my mom sends frequent letters which I love to receive, too! I will send you your little package soon, Julie!

  3. Hi,
    I have a language learning blog, and I have made a couple of Korean alphabet charts. Now I'm giving them away to people who have Korea-related blogs. If you want to post them on your blog, you can just go here and grab them:

    I just ask that, if you don't mind, you put a link back to my page.

    Have a nice day!

    SpeakOut! Languages

    1. Hi Ryan,

      Thank you so much for commenting on my blog! I would love to post a Korean alphabet chart on my blog as it would be really handy, and of course, I would link it back to you. I am doing an incentive on my blog that the first 5 people to comment get a little gift, so if you pm me on my Facebook page, I will send you your Korean gift:

      Thanks again for reading my blog and commenting on here.


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