I talked to my mom tonight on the phone. She surprised me by calling at 5:30 p.m. Korea time, or after midnight her time. Usually I call her much earlier. I was happy to hear from her. She asked how we’re doing. I told her the "B" word. She usually dislikes hearing the "B" word. No, not that "B" word, the one you might be thinking. This "B" word has four letters. The "B" word means "busy," a word shortened to one letter because it can grate on the ears like an uttered profanity. Usually, "B" refers to work or family activities, but in this case, "B" means that it’s the Christmas season and holiday activities are starting to occupy our calendar. Last night some friends took us to dinner. On Saturday morning, our son was slated to attend the children’s Christmas Party, and this evening we went to a goodbye dinner for a good friend who is also a colleague. Afterwards, we went to hear the Seoul Singers perform at a Christmas Concert at Yeongnak Church in Seoul (if you recall, I briefly joined the Seoul Singers earlier this year but had to drop out because of time commitments). Tomorrow, I plan to attend "My Fair Lady" to watch one of my colleagues who is a member of the cast. My wife and son will go to a goodbye party for a classmate and her family, who will depart soon. If we have time, our family also plans to visit our nanny’s Filipino church for their annual Christmas extravaganza. We might be too "B" to attend, but we’ll see.
In the meantime, we finished our Christmas letter, and we’re in the middle of writing Christmas cards. My wife has taken the lead on Christmas preparations, doing virtually all of the Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts. I’ve mailed them, though. I feel like such a Christmas slacker this year. I’m so glad that my wife has taken the initiative on gift preparations. I spearheaded the Christmas tree decorating over Thanksgiving weekend, but ever since that initial holiday cheer, my interest in Christmas has been subdued this year. Not the reason for the holiday–Jesus’ birth, mind you–but all the commercial trappings surrounding Christmas. The commercialism makes the Christmas season feel too "B," in my humble opinion. As much as I love family members and friends, it’s just become a real chore this year planning and executing Christmas logistics in a foreign country. Plus, we are leaving Korea in less than two months. My thoughts are now preoccupied primarily on getting us ready for our move and extricating ourselves from this country. I’m glad though that we aren’t too "B" to go to some Christmas productions reminding us to be festive during this holiday season.