The Dr. Seuss TreeI’m definitely in the Christmas spirit this year. I’m determined to, damn it!

I’ve put up the Dr. Seuss Christmas tree–the same one my grandmother shipped here from America last year. Only this time, I have enough ceiling space to put it up, and it doesn’t look too shabby. Friday, after work, I bought some lights and cheapo decorations for it, and it started looking good. It was a transformation of Charlie Brown proportions.

Eun Jeong was at her mom’s most of the week. She returned home to an amazing sight. Not only was there a decorated Christmas tree. I had gone to the plant store and bought a poinsetta, a red and green cactus plant, and a replacement for her recently deceased water plants. It wasn’t until I arrived home that I realized the water plant was fake. I had also baked a batch of buttery Christmas cookies, which tasted just like my grandmothers’.

Christmas Cookies

This blew her away. She loved the cookies. Loved the tree. Loved the snowman on the bathroom door. So we went to the New Core Outlet to shop for more decorations. We mastered the art of getting tasteful decorations on the cheap. We got home and decorated the tree. Eun Jeong, having fallen in love with her first ever Christmas tree, treated the affair like she was a professional designer. In the meantime, I made some mulled cider for the cold evening. I have the Christmas tunes playing on Winamp constantly.

By the way, after fifteen years of trying, I have finally given up. I can’t stand Mannheim Steamroller. I know other people say that Chip Davis is a genius, but I feel that each Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album makes Christmas music sound even goofier than it already is with the signature goofy Mannheim Steamroller bass line. And if you’ve heard any of Mannheim Steamroller’s music, you know what I’m talking about.

The temperature plummeted this week. We had a great snow for a bit. It does make it more interesting watching it from sixteen stories on a mountain.


Things have been happening rapidly, and many doors have opened since our attendance at the conference two weeks ago. I can’t go into details now because things are still developing. They could be really big or could just end up as nothing.

In the meantime, the usual weird stuff happens. On my way to work, I stopped by a Family Mart to pick up some ramyeon for lunch. The lady at the counter gave me a cell phone battery. I thought, “Cool. Special promotion. Free cell phone batteries with noodles. Maybe I should get a cell phone to go with this battery (since I’m the only person in Korea without a cell phone).”

Then I looked closely at the battery. It was used. Why was she handing it to me? Did she thing I lost it? Did she think I knew the person who lost it? Did she assume that all the foreigners knew each other? Or do we all just look the same to her?

So I have a cell phone battery. Better get a cell phone, I guess.

Eun Jeong got hired for her first gig as an English teacher. The career as a Japanese tour guide wasn’t going anywhere, so she’s been spending the past few months preparing to switch. She doesn’t start until January, but I’m excited. We’ll get more money… heh heh.

Oh yeah, on the court battle with Unnamed Hagwon story, the latest thing is just that we have to wait. The freezing of Unnamed Hagwon’s assets have been approved by the court, and it’s still going to be a while before it actually goes into effect. Luckily I had gotten my Alien Registration Card before the deadline.

Nonetheless, I’m still not lucky in that department. The ARC is not needed for much other than registering with the Education Board and getting a cell phone. Joy, our manager, was heading down to the Education Board to register me when —

“Um, Joe, did you see your I.D. card?”

“No. Remember, I handed it to you this morning.”

“Oh, no.”

So I’m without an Alien Registration Card again. I’m heading down to Immigration with Chris on Friday to apply for a new one. I should be angry, but Joy was so shaken up and humbled–almost in tears–by the whole thing that I felt there would be no point in getting angry. Just another inconvenience, and I get those daily.

At least I have the tree.

Christmas Tree

Don't make mistakes other travelers have made!

Get regular emails with insider tips on how to maximize your visit to Korea. Sign up now!

Tour Tips Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!