This will be my first Christmas in Korea since 2000 and my first one alone since 1991.
How am I holding up?
Not too well.
I knew spending Christmas alone in Daejeon this year was going to be rough; I just didn’t realize it was going to be this rough.
Even though I am teaching a few hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I have too much free time on my hands; too much time to think and reflect about everything which has happened the past year and how things just didn’t play out the way I had hoped they would this year.
So, how have I been coping with all this free time and the holidays rapidly approaching? A steady diet of sitcoms: That 70’s Show, Cheers, Seinfeld, Barney Miller, and The Honeymooners. That’s how I have been coping with the holiday blues. Of course, some of the Christmas episodes make me a little misty-eyed and having watched many of these episodes before I am reminded of better times and happier moments. Then why am I tormenting myself? Have to have some torment I guess to keep you honest with your feelings.
Nonetheless, I am really getting into watching old episodes of Cheers and Barney Miller to help pass the time away and chase away some of the blues even though watching a lot of these old episodes adds to the nostalgia I have been feeling and reminds me of life back in the States as well as Korea. After all, shows like Cheers and Seinfeld, which I watched regularly when I was in the States ended their TV-run while I have been here.
More often than not though many of the episodes I have watched the past couple of weeks remind me of back home. Just the other week I watched this episode of Cheers—Thanksgiving Day Orphans—that I remember watching back in 1986 when I was home from Eureka College for Thanksgiving. And then, just like that the floodgates are opened and all those memories come rushing out. I guess I just have too much time on my hands to think and reflect. It’s not like it was when I was living in Seoul and writing a lot for the paper, teaching some private classes on the weekends and working out more at California Fitness. Life was much better and sweeter. Here, it has been more bittersweet.
While shows like The Honeymooners, Barney Miller, and Cheers remind me of life before Korea, That 70’s Show is a more recent memory. I remember the first time I watched an episode of the show when I had gone back to the States in 1998. I was so impressed with the show that a few months later I wrote about it for one of my contributions to the Korea Times. Later, my late wife Chanpen and I watched the show when it was broadcast in Korea on Star TV and AFN. She got just as much a kick out of the show as I did. Watching some of those early episodes now reminds me of when she was still alive and when things were much better for me in Korea. Later episodes remind me of going back home for the Christmas the past couple of years.