It's been cold. How cold? Really cold. Colder than you're thinking. The penguins have been wearing booties.
Being so far from home, without family, is hardest at the holidays. My hashing friends and I did a pretty good job, though, in the Comfort and Joy department. There may have been adult beverages involved in some instances.
On Christmas Eve, DW (note: the hashers' names in this entry will be abbreviated to protect the delicate sensibilities of my readers) invited bunches of us to her apartment in HBC (Haebongchan, the foreigners' neighborhood right by Itaewon, Mt. Namsan, and the Seoul Tower) for a pajama party. She prepared stockings for her guests and she and others made wonderful, warming food. She's the kind of person who makes everyone feel welcome and cared for.
Several of my friends stayed over, but I was only there for a couple of hours, because I'd promised my good friend Kat (Jedi, in hash nomenclature) that I'd attend her burlesque show at a bar in Itaewon. Kat and two of her friends put on a sweet, silly, somewhat sexy show. Kat did a Jessica Rabbit number; I hadn't known that she can really sing.
The part where she sat on my lap and sang to me (well, she sat on a lot of people's laps, but...) was fun and touching (not like that) and maybe a little unsettling, simply because she's one of my favorite people--vivacious and caring and just really alive in a way I've always been too inhibited to be--and she's a real friend; we've shared a lot over dinners and such. And she's less than half my age. And her boyfriend was sitting three feet from me. That's not to say I didn't like it, mind, in a not-at-all-dirty-old-man way...
I rushed home just before the subway closed for the night, slept a little, and headed out for Foo Foo's apartment by noon for the Pirate Santa Hash. I have to say, I get one good idea a year and this was it, with a week to spare. Simply because being alone on Christmas is so dreary, I set up a hashing/eating/drinking/sharing get-together. Everyone brought food and a gift, I had patches made...
I went back to DW's to cap off the holidays. For New Year's Eve, she invited a few people over for Game Night. I took a few games and she was going to teach me to play Settlers of Catan. Things did not go according to plan; we ended up with another full house and somehow ended up playing Cards Against Humanity, which is Apples to Apples, but with offensive cards. I'd just played it the day before after the hash, so it got old quickly, as did my being hit on (It happened, I tell you) by a very drunk Irish girl who one of the guys invited in out of the cold. But it was nice to be with people as my 60th calendar year ended.
On New Year's morning, I magically turned 61 by the Korean method of counting, but I'm not Korean, so I'm still 59, which is plenty young enough to go back to DW's one more time for her marvelous mimosa-French toast-quiche brunch. This time, the turnout was more manageable, the food and mimosas were marvelous, and the holidays--and my appetite--got topped off just right.
On the non-holiday days, I've tried to keep busy, prepping for school, doing some writing and a lot of reading, cleaning house, reaching the end of the Internet. I've tried to get out twice a day, just because 24 hours with nobody for a cat to talk to and nothing but a cat to look at is so wearing. I usually only hash with my Yongsan Kimchi group on Saturday mornings, but with my extra free time I've been going to the Southside hash on Sundays as well.
I laid a really nice Southside trail, if I do say so myself, which I have to, because you won't, in my neighborhood...
as the Marine Corps Hymn and the Star Wars theme
brought dozens of Koreans out to gawk and take video.
As P!nk sings, "Leave me alone, I'm lonely."
I'm versatile that way.