Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thanksgiving in Korea

Thanksgiving was different this year.  This was the first year I wasn't home for Thanksgiving.  I've never missed a family holiday before, so this was new for me.

This year, I had to work on Thanksgiving.  It was just a regular day here in Korea.  I was at school, teaching lessons as usual.  There was no Black Friday shopping.  There was no turkey.  There was no decorations around my city or school.  While my mom was talking about Thanksgiving preparations and the family's plans, I had to remind myself that I wasn't going to be there.  It was a little sad, but I reminded myself of how lucky I am to be experiencing this life in Korea.

Since I have other American friends here in Jecheon, all of which were in my same situation, we decided to throw our own Thanksgiving dinner.  Most traditional Thanksgiving food/ingredients we were able to find easily at a local supermarket.  Other things were impossible  to get.  For one, turkey is near impossible to get here; it can be found in big cities like Seoul or Busan, but if you can find it, you better be prepared to pay a hefty price for it.  Therefore, turkey was nixed from our Thanksgiving list.  Instead, we had roasted chicken, which wasn't a bad substitute at all.  Other items we were able to make for our Thanksgiving meal (with no problem) were: mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, rolls, corn, fried chicken, salad, banana cream pie, apple crisp, sangria (wine) and pumpkin soup.

The substitute turkey: roasted chicken!

Things which took a lot of effort and/or outside help to get/make:

  • green beans (my friend had a can of these which she saved up for months)
  • corn bread (my friend had a packet of mix which she also was saving for this occasion)
  • stuffing (had to be legit homemade, no boxes of stuffing here)
  • macaroni and cheese (had to be homemade / cheese had to be bought in Seoul at the foreign food market)
  • gravy (had to be homemade, no canned gravy here...Koreans have no idea what gravy even is...)
  • **pumpkin pie puree cannot be found here, so unfortunately we had no pumpkin pie
Even though it was a lot of work, we successfully pulled off a real Thanksgiving dinner in Korea.  We were working with limited space (a studio apartment) and a small oven (no huge American ovens here).  We all stuffed ourselves, and had tons of leftovers, so the next day we heated everything up and finished it off.  It was amazing!!  I was soooo proud of all of us!  It seemed impossible to do, but we made it happen.  

My friend's apartment and the space we had to work with.  Limited counter space and the oven is the white square on top of the refrigerator.

My plate, filled to the max!

The finished product!

We did it!!!

After our Thanksgiving, I went back to my apartment to Skype my family.  Even though I couldn't be there physically, I was there through Skype (on both occasions...for the Souders' Thanksgiving and the Holland Thanksgiving).  I got to "see" and talk with all my family and it was the next best thing besides being there in person!!  During family holidays, my mom goes picture crazy, and we always get a family picture.  This year was no exception....we still managed to get one! Check it out below!

Annual family Thanksgiving photo! Love you guys!

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