A week full of work and a workshop together with my colleagues in Germany is over and I started the second half of my trip back home: vacation.
I will spend a week at my parents home to relax, meet friends and the entire family. Besides I have trips to several places on my mind but this depends on the weather and what others might have on their mind.
In Seoul, several departments stores, shops and offices have put up some Christmas decoration during the last weeks and you can see lots of advertisement for Christmas sale activities. However, my feeling is that Christmas is mainly an event from commercial point of view. Other festivals like Spring Festival or Chuseok have a much higher importance and people mostly focus on them.
Here in Germany, Christmas is definitely one of the most important periods during the year. People prepare their homes with lots of lights, animals or snowmen as decoration. Trees with candles or chains of lights can be spotted nearly everywhere.
In cafes and restaurants you will find menus with special dishes traditionally eaten during Christmas season and coffee is enriched with the flavors of cinnamon, honey or cardamom. Supermarkets updated their range of products especially by ingredients for baking and there is nothing that you can think of you will not find.
At my home, my parents also decorated each room. Especially the living room has the most intense atmosphere. In the evening you can see the enlighten trees through the windows and next to a book shelf you will the Christmas crib right next to it.
When having a coffee on Sunday afternoon, there will be a plate with home made cookies and stollen. When being a child and still going to school, I was waiting for the end of November when she usually started making the cookies. The older I got, there more I enjoyed doing it together and from her I learned a lot. Without her hints and tricks, I would not have been able to prepare some traditional Christmas cookies for my colleagues in Seoul last year.
During the next days, I will try to enjoy and absorb as much of the atmosphere as possible and hopefully this will last when being back in South Korea.