This is the first time I have spent Christmas away from home. It has been interesting. I was not a part of our family tradition of dinner and a movie. And while that could be really sad, I was able to gather some thoughts and really think about the holidays this year. Spending a year away from home has been really telling and trying as well as rewarding at times. I have been able to travel and see a different part of the world, I would have never seen otherwise. And while many phone calls were made back home to wish them a happy holidays, there’s still a part of me that doesn’t quite feel like it was Christmas yesterday. Here’s how I spent my day: I stayed in bed for a good portion of the day catching up on much needed sleep from being consistently sick during this winter. Then went for a walk to clear my head and as I was looking around, it dawned on me that it was business as usual in this city, this country. I realized, this tradition is not only not that big of a deal here, but the more I kept thinking about all the things I was missing out on, the less I realized it was just an ordinary yet beautiful day…cold..but beautiful. I decided to make the most of my time off after such a busy couple of weeks of preparing the students to sing for the Christmas Concert, getting the curriculum completed and doing report cards.

I came home and made some dinner. Ended the night with a glass of wine and a good book. It was a peaceful day of reflection and quiet. Something I haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying on Christmas Day in a few years.

I am realizing more and more just how blessed I am to be able to travel like this for an entire year. Now that the time is getting close to an end where I will be leaving for home, I realize how lucky I have been to be able to have the freedom to just leave and explore. My family is healthy, happy and missing me, but the world is good today. No matter how much awfulness can be happening in the world, I have a lot to be thankful for this year for understanding friends and family whom I love and cherish. I can’t help but think about the family that are no longer here with us, particularly my grandparents who loved having family over for the holidays, but somehow being in South Korea has made me feel some what closer to them than I had in the past years after they passed. For that, I am truly grateful.

Merry Christmas to you and yours around the world!

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