Before Mama came I had asked one of my students Simba and then later Paul to help me get a special surprise for Christmas Eve. For those of you who know me, I love surprises. I love planning things and planning a surprise is even better!
So the day started out that we were going to go back to Insa-dong for a little bit to pick some stuff up, and then continue on our way to the final destination. But before we left, we wanted to give our Fruit Lady a Christmas present.
She is so friendly and nice. Plus her shop is clean and full of fresh fruit. So we got her a box of cookies and a Steps to Christ in English and Korean. She was really happy to get them, plus we were able to finally get a picture with her (thanks to Mama!).
Doesn't she look adorable?
In Insa-dong we ate lunch in Starbucks and got a hot chocolate so that we could sit in there, it had been drizzling and we didn't want to eat our lunch outside. Then we traveled to the Performing Arts Center to see....The Nutcracker!!!!!!!
When I was in elementary school, for a surprise Mama took me to The Nutcracker on Christmas Eve, so this was a special reminder of that even. But this time the surprise was for her!
Inside was dazzling.
But I couldn't relax yet, because our student Paul had to get the tickets under his name and so we had a paper from him explaining it. I held my breath, hoping everything would be okay.
I wanted this picture taken to remind me of the relief it felt to have those in our hand. I have a series of events that I've been to where getting our reserved tickets hadn't work, and so being in a foreign country I was extra nervous.
They had little set up areas for photo ops, and we took advantage of them, even though we aren't children.
It was still fun to sit in there and feel the excitement of seeing a ballet in Korea! After all, what could be a better surprise than a ballet?! (At least in my opinion)
Before we were told we couldn't take pictures, Mama got this great picture of the curtain. It was a beautiful tapestry and so unique to us.
The ballet was beautiful. For the snowflake dance, they had fake snowflakes falling and it was gorgeous. The sets were fantastic as well as the dancing. There was a mix of Korean and Western dancers. Clara was Korea and the Nutcracker was white. It was a really special and fun evening together.
As we left we were excited and planned to go out to eat to celebrate the wonderful evening.
Then...we got on the subway. Now, Matthew and I have ridden very packed subways before, but this was a totally new experience.
This picture does not do it justice, so I will explain to you that when we were trying to get off at a stop, there were so many people trying to push in that we could not push out and had to go to the next stop.
I'm not prone to claustrophobia but if you had any bit of it then this would be terrible. As it was, we were smashed into our neighbor and boiling hot, even though it was freezing outside. We longed for the doors to open and fresh air to come through.
Finally, after getting lost and being pushed in and off the train we made it home. We decided not to go out to eat and just to go home and relax there.
For a surprise we wanted Mama to try a Korean cake. Cakes here are different than ours in America. They are much much better. The cakes here are lighter, the whole thing is lighter feeling. The cake and frosting aren't as sugar filled so you don't feel terrible after eating it. Plus they are really cute! So Matthew went and picked up some pizza for us and this cake...
He got it because he said it reminded him of Frodo, Mama's Newfie at home.
Isn't it a cute cake?
And so that was our adventures for Christmas Eve. We hope your Christmas Eve was as memorable as ours =)