Dec 02

An American Expat Thanksgiving in Korea

I love the feeling of a home once the last guest has left a party.


The air is warm and cozy and an energy clings to the air, echoes of laughter still ringing from the walls. The few remaining dishes and scattered chairs don’t bother me; they’re a sign of the life lived and the memories made within these walls. My friend called me a “reflective kind of drunk” tonight, and I guess I’m living up to that title as I sit in bed nibbling on leftovers and laughing out loud as phases of the evening pass through my thoughts. (I may also look like a crazy person). Truth be told, I’m just a reflective person in general, copious amounts of wine or not. And in reflection, I’d have to say tonight was a pretty amazing way to celebrate my first Thanksgiving in Korea.

Thankful turkey in Korea

In the words of one of my students…

There was everything you need for a true American style Thanksgiving except the dysfunctional family drama and, well, turkey. I know, I know, how can I claim to have hosted a Thanksgiving feast without the turkey?! But in my defense we had three very large and delicious chickens. Most Koreans seem to think turkey and chicken is the same thing anyway since they don’t have turkeys in this country. You do what you can when you’re 6,000 miles from home.


I can tell you what we DID have, though…


Some stress and frayed nerves in coordinating the details of the feast.


Food that wouldn’t cook according to schedule.

American Thanksgiving in Korea

A festive table.


American Thanksgiving in Korea


Five times more food than necessary: stuffing; mac’n’cheese; sweet potatoes; green beans, corn, broccoli, carrots;  mashed potatoes; homemade bread and pumpkin cream cheese dip.

Lots of wine and champagne.

A table devoted to desserts: pumpkin pie, apple pie, brownies, apple crisp, ice cream.

American Thanksgiving in Korea



An amazing group of people. It was a multi cultural affair! We introduced Thanksgiving to our Korean, Scottish, and British friends.

American Thanksgiving in Korea

Turkey kissing. (??)

American Thanksgiving in Korea

Food comas.

American Thanksgiving in Korea

American Thanksgiving in Korea

How many food comas can you spy?

Games. You know you’ve eaten too much when the punishment for knocking over Jenga is to eat a brownie to chants of, “BROW-NIE! BROW-NIE!”

American Thanksgiving in Korea

A whipped cream fight. Every party needs a token whipped cream fight, right?

American Thanksgiving in Korea


American Thanksgiving in KoreaThe photos just go downhill from there… But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m thankful for these people, this food, and a night that expanded my waistline and exceeded my expectations. <3