Monday, October 31, 2011

A Little of This, A Little of That

Hello again!

Things are going great here in the place also known as adult Disney. We celebrated Long and Tory's birthdays a few weekends ago with 25 of their closest friends and partied late into the evening...well, some of us partied later than others. Long went home at midnight because she drank a little too much snake wine that our friends Charlie & Quin brought from the dark dwellings of Kowloon. No, I am not kidding. It is Vietnamese rice wine complete with a dead snake in the bottle. It makes tequila with a worm look like apple juice. 

Me w/ the birthday brunettes - Tory & Long
snake wine - ewww!

I must share, in full disclosure, that the party almost didn't happen thanks to a moronic move on my part. I was trying to cancel a brunch we were supposed to attend the next morning because I knew it would be a late night and we wouldn't be up in time to catch the ferry, and I cancelled the birthday bash by accident. I immediately starting receiving texts and emails from people asking if everything was okay. It took a few minutes to realize what I had done but once it sunk in I FREAKED. I mean totally lost it. My palms got sweaty, my face was completely flushed and I felt sick to my stomach. A logical person would simply reply to everyone on the email chain and explain the error (which I eventually did) but for about 10 minutes I sat in complete panic mode with Long and Blair. I hadn't even had a single drop of alcohol but once I realized what I had done I asked for a very tall, very strong beverage with lots of alcohol. More to numb the embarrassment I knew I was about to endure when we got to the bar. Phew. At least everything turned out okay.

Two weekends ago was an impromptu trip to Phuket with my good friend Cate (aka Kate/KT/Pig Pen) who I haven't spent much QT with since our amazing, wonderful trip to Africa and Dubai with Sandy back in 2007. She moved to London, married an awesome guy and is pretty much running JP Morgan so that doesn't leave her much free time. We spent three amazingly fun days together riding elephants, sitting on the beach soaking up the beautiful Thai sun, eating  carb-infused Thai food, and reminiscing about life the past 4 years. It's a great feeling to know that regardless of life's twists and turns, some friendships can stand the test of time and end up being stronger than ever. Thanks for a great weekend KT --- already looking forward to London/Croatia 2012 with Linus! 

"The Twins"
sunset at Raiwai Beach - Phuket, Thailand
This past weekend I went to my first housewarming party HK style. It was more like a 'flatwarming' party since no one lives in actual free-standing houses here, but it was fun nonetheless. At least until the police showed up and told us we had to quiet down or the hosts would get fined a good chunk of Chinese change. It's crazy to think how drastically different my life is from a year and a half ago - I used to have people over to grill out on my patio in the backyard, I could run down the hallway from the kitchen to my bedroom, and I would stress over whether or not the house was clean. Now I have someone clean my apartment, another person to cook me dinner, I can barely fit a couch and chair in my living room and a hallway is a distant memory. But I wouldn't change it for the world and would do it all over again if asked. 

From This - view in Charlotte
To This - view in Hong Kong

We celebrated Halloween Saturday night. I know everyone back in the states thinks Halloween is a big deal. I did too. But there's no place quite like Hong Kong at Halloween. I don't know if it's because there are so many emotional challenged people living here who can't relate to other people under normal circumstances, or if it's because there are more chemically-dependent people, but it is absolutely INSANE. We were dead set against going out but since my friend Carolina was visiting from NYC I felt the pressure to show her a good time. So we dressed up as pirates and went to a bar party. It ended up being a fantastic time --- people watching was some of the best I've ever seen, the music was great (cheesy 80s so I was in heaven), and the local Chinese thought enough of our pirate costumes to keep stopping us to take our picture. Weird but kinda cool. 

LKF @ 10pm - just getting going
Me & Carolina!
Me & Norma - "the zookeepers"
Well there you have it. The latest and greatest in my Asia Adventures. Thanks to all my friends from near and far. And to the BFFs - it's gonna be great! You guys make my world go round...

I shamelessly stole this from a friend's FB Wall
I also want to give a special shout out to one of the best couples around. My parents are celebrating their 47th year of wedded bliss this Halloween. They are as much in love today as they were when they stood at the altar in UVA chapel all those years ago. I love you guys!!!

One of the happiest couples around. Ever.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

It's About Time

It feels like years since I wrote anything in my blog and in fact, it has been almost six months since my last entry. It's amazing to think back to the June gloom of this year and realize all is right in my world again. All I can say is thank goodness for family, close friends, the most amazing boss and colleagues. If it looks like a dog, acts like a dog and barks like a dog --- chances are it's a dog. Lesson learned!!!

There are a few reasons for the writing hiatus but most importantly it's because I've been enjoying life here in Asia and haven't been home much to sit down and get my thoughts together. There have been some pretty late nights  (or early mornings depending on how you choose to see it) and fun memories that will last a lifetime. One of my favorites is the night we went to an African bar and Long lost her shoe. She didn't even realize it until the next day and still can't remember where she left it! Another funny thing happened while I was at dinner with my UK friends. We usually end up spending a portion of the night talking about cultural differences so let's just say "hoody-free" is the way forward! I am so thankful for Kath, James, Helen and Susan. Like I said, some very late nights and lots of stories...

There have been lots of trips too. 

A trip to Guilin, China with Long, Devin and Sky where we sailed down the Li River and saw a dismembered hand in the water (ewwwww). We also rode a go-kart contraption through a mountain and climbed waterfalls wearing hard helmets and traditional Chinese sandals. We looked HOT. NOT.

There was an overnight "girls only" jaunt to Macau with Kelly, Eren and Darcy where we planned to gamble away our paychecks and shake our tail feathers. We ended up pretty much eating our way through Macau instead but I wouldn't have it any other way. I owe those girls for putting the smile back on my face. I am also proud to report that my stomach contents stayed where they belonged on the ferry ride to and from Macau...I think my sea-sickness is finally subsiding.

There were a couple of days in Shanghai with Darcy to see the FINA world swimming championships and meet an Olympic medalist (I heart Mike and Serbia). Darcy got major brownie points for even going on the trip because she didn't know much about the sport of swimming -but after getting to see up close and personal why I always say male swimmers (and rugby players) have the best bodies she became an instant fan. Did I mention I heart Mike and Serbia???

Then there was the incredible weekend in Korea with my Seoul Sisters Tory (aka Helen Keller because the girl cannot see a darn thing without her contacts) and Darcy where we toured the DMZ with four incredible US special forces guys and got a personal tour of Seoul city from our friend CY. It became one of my favorite places in Asia because the men are tall, they love Americans and they have Dunkin' Donuts!!!! We ate our way through Seoul too - bibimbap, Korean BBQ, chicken ginseng soup and shaved ice with fruit. Seoul has soul.

Most recently there was the killer holiday to the Greek islands with one of the BFFs and my partner in crime, AT. She flew from NYC and I flew from Hong Kong to "meet in the middle" and relax for 10 days. Athens, Rhodes and Santorini were all incredible but Santorini stole my heart. The scenery is breathtaking and views from the Caldera never get old. The whitewashed buildings and azure seas are a perfect contrast to one another and the food is delish. I've never eaten so poorly in my life and felt so good about it! The people are friendly and warm and they work to live not live to work. You would never know their country is facing bankruptcy from the way they celebrate life everyday. It's the simple things in life that matter most and spending time there was a great reminder of that. It was truly magical.

Things at work are going great. I couldn't ask for a better group of women to work alongside everyday. They work incredibly hard and do what it takes to get the job done well. Thanks Joycey, Lynda, Miranda, and "P" for making work so much fun and for including me in the Chinese mafia! I am also learning a TON about the Cantonese culture and even picked up a few more Canto words (which makes them laugh because my pronunciation is awful). 

My boss is a ROCK STAR. She's an incredible manager with the funniest sense of humor (she's Irish so it's in her blood to be funny). There's not a week that goes by where I don't want to write down one of her expressions - "crazier than a box of frogs" was last week's and this week was "nice Tim dim Tim" used to describe someone stupid. She is a direct, candid, no BS kind of person which I admire and she cares about the people on her team. Thanks M for being you!!!

I promised myself to keep this short and not bore everyone with a play by play of what I've been doing the last six months but did want to share some of what's been going on since people ask why I stopped blogging. I am back and better than ever!

More to come soon.