When will I ever catch up? Never do today what you can get done tomorrow, #amiright?
Seriously, though, J-Mar is taking no pity upon my tired self that’s been working mostly nonstop since the MERS outbreak began. I don’t really take pity on myself either, as I’m glad to feel needed again. Plus, I’m honestly having a lot of fun. All that fun leaves no time for blogging, but I’ve been trying to squeeze in some photo editing and memory-recording where I can.
Back to December. Oh, Lord, isn’t that a T-Swift song? [My brain probably looks like one of those distorted psychotherapy ink-blots right about now.] As for most people, holidays are a time of over-scheduling, over-eating, and over-selfie-ing. I’d say we hit all of those, being the respectable Millenials we are. 😉
Every year we inevitably attend a couple of formal holiday gatherings, which I always look forward to. J-Mar’s company had a really nice dinner-and-dancing fete, and I took the chance to wear that beautiful dress I bought at one of the tailor shops Vietnam. With all that chiffon, my first stop of the evening was not the bar or the buffet, but the little girls room where a lovely Korean woman and my dear friend Bailey skillfully rid me of seemingly infinite dog hair and irritating static cling. I didn’t know magic existed in the form of a spray bottle and lint roller.
Aside from assisting in times of wardrobe crisis, one of the benefits of a tight-knit expat community is the fun to be had at events like this one, held at the Hyundai Hotel here in Ulsan. It almost feels like a family celebration, with so many people to meet and greet.
We’ve made a lot of fun connections here in Korea. Jason and Erica are good friends who went to Penn State (go Big Ten!) and whose adorable schnauzer Austin comes over twice a week to play. Jennifer and David used to live two floors above us and David is originally from the Cleveland area.
I don’t know if I’ve ever truly introduced my main group of gal pals here in Korea. Some of them are pictured below – Lauren, Michelle and Christine. We’ll count Chris as one of the gals for the time being, too. It didn’t take us all long to bond being around the same age and in the same life situation, with husbands all working on the same project together. We all missed our other compadre that night, Hannah!
I should also officially introduce this doofy open-mouth smile that has become my default selfie pose. I was going for something beyond the standard duck lips and kimchi sign… and clearly failed miserably.
There are so many other ladies that have been fun to get to know, Krista, Mallory and Emily joining in the fun, my dear friend Holly, sweet Cheryl and the ever-hilarious Rachel.
For the evening’s entertainment, the company hired a live band out of Seoul called Soundbox, and they are just fantastic. A seven-piece ensemble including one talented woman who sings, does interpretive dance, tap dances AND a vicious heavy-metal-style head banging to the beat. All in the same set. We had a blast running around (me with my phone) and dancing. It’s rare that we get good, recognizable live music here in Ulsan.
Sometimes we wake up and think – or should I say feel – these big party nights are catching up to us. We’re definitely not in college anymore, but even only once in a blue moon, these parties can do you in. Nevertheless, we didn’t hesitate to put our dancing shoes back on a couple weeks later for Casino Night at the Clubhouse to ring in the New Year.
J-Mar is much more familiar with casino games than I, but I played my fair share of Blackjack before giving up to socialize instead. Or, as the pictures below might indicate, distract my suave husband from the matter at hand: amassing the most poker chips to win the evening’s big prize.
The boys (and lots of ladies, too!) spent plenty of time strategizing and ultimately decided to pool their chips against the dealer. See below for the result of that bet.
They raffled off all kinds of good prizes, and though I didn’t win a lot of chips, I lucked out in the raffle with a two-night stay at the Hyundai Hotel in Gyeongju! Looking forward to using that sometime this year.
We rounded out a fantastic night with a champagne toast, some (probably awful-sounding) singing and some (definitely embarrassing) dancing. That’s what happens when they give you 10 drink tickets per person and people decide to use them on shots. Not my preferred method of enjoying the evening, but like I said, it certainly results in a rowdy party.
With our trip to Thailand sandwiched between these two events, it was a December to remember for many years to come. More on Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Ko Samui next.