Monday, December 26, 2011

Enter the Dragon

2012 is the Year of the Dragon and it’s about to rear its head! I, myself, am a dragon baby, so I have high hopes for the year ahead. 2011 wasn’t the worst of times (unless you ask Clark), but I can’t really say I’m sorry to see it go. 

Looking back at blog posts past, I'm reminded that I made some resolutions at the start of the year and, interestingly enough, managed to keep all of them! I resolved to travel, see my sister, be a good mom, rejoin the workforce, cook more, and study.

I succeeded in killing the first two proverbial birds with one stone by spending my vacation back home in Canada this summer. I spent a month visiting with relatives and friends, and finally got some quality time with my sister. My only regret now is that I won’t be able to attend her wedding this spring and I really hope another six years don’t go by before I see her again or get the chance to meet her “Jiminy”. In other news, Logan is alive and well, so I think it would be fair to say that I met the challenge of being a good mother. The little dude is 16 months old tomorrow and rambunctious as ever. I have to admit though, that it’s probably his father who is to thank for his upbringing.  I haven’t been around much this year because I've been diligently tending to my fourth and sixth resolutions: work and study. And, I’m not shy about reporting the fact that I have been a good little study-er; receiving grades of ‘Distinction’ for my first two major research papers. Lastly, ‘tis true that 2011 saw me in the kitchen a little more often. I taught myself to make quite a few Korean dishes and experimented with some baking. I was also a good mother/wife and packed a lot of lunch boxes for my boys this past year.  

So what’s in store for 2012? Honestly, I have no idea…but I resolve to do one thing:

Lose weight. Though not on last year’s list, I shed 15kg in 2011, dropping 2 clothing sizes. With Blogger as my witness, I shall lose another 15kg this year…starting…right . after . I . finish . all . of . the . Christmas . chocolate . and . goodies…

Happy New Year everyone! J

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

Wow. It's been quite some time since I last updated on the goings-on of the Harrison/Lee family, so here's a  run down of this year's Christmas...

This year I decided to bake Christmas cookies for the first time ever. My mother and grandmother always made it look so simple, but I assure you it is not. I attempted to replicate my grandmother's shortbread cookies and did a pretty darn good job of it. In fact, I dare say they are identical to my grandmother's in both appearance and taste, but it was no easy feat. Next year I intend to heed the advice of friends and add wax paper & my freezer to the equation.  

As usual, my mother shipped a ton of stuff for us to open (which is lovely because without it there really wouldn't be much of anything to open). Clark and I don't generally exchange gifts (though I did sneak a pack of socks for him under the tree) and he gave me a card because he is under the mistaken but very adorable impression that card giving among immediate family members is a 'western' custom. He sees cards arriving in the mail from grandparents, cousins, aunts/uncles, & friends and thinks this means he's supposed to buy me a card ~ so cute! 

We don't exchange gifts, but we do buy gifts for Clark's parents every year. Our first Christmas, I put a lot of thought, effort, and expense into their gifts, only to realize they, frankly speaking, don't give a rats' behind. So this year I got wise and put very little thought, effort or expense into their gifts and got the same reaction as always ~ none. Whenever they receive gifts they always just ask what it is, examine it for a moment, then put it down with a sort of approving grunt. Clark insists that we're wasting our money and that they don't care if we buy them anything. While this is obviously the case, I was raised in the gift-giving tradition and not buying them something, no matter how small, seems wrong. 

Logan was happy to find presents from Santa waiting for him under the tree, and there were, of course, copious amounts of gifts from grandma & grandpa, too.

Every year is the same: I spend the morning cooking and cleaning, Clark's parents arrive, they play with Logan, they open their presents, we eat, they leave. This year they stayed for a record 2 1/4 hours (and that was with Clark pushing them to stay to taste-test some Baileys). In years past, I failed to satisfy their taste buds, so this year I opted for a "fusion" holiday meal. With the help of some advice solicited from fellow expats in my shoes who know of the difficulty in pleasing Korean in-laws, a successful meal was had by all in the Harrison/Lee family this year :) On the dinner (actually, it was lunch) table was: chicken baeksu (boiled chicken), scalloped potatoes gratin, butter sauteed carrots & peas, cranberry/orange sauce, and sweet & sour red cabbage. For the first time ever my father-in-law asked for seconds and my mother-in-law requested my recipes. She also took home all of the leftover cabbage & cranberry sauce ^.~

It's a little tricky trying to celebrate Christmas in a culture where people don't really "do" Christmas, but with Clark on board (he's proven himself to be a very good student^^), hopefully with each passing year we'll be able to establish our own Harrison/Lee family Christmas traditions.

Merry Christmas!