Thanksgiving and Goodbyes

I’ve been a long time gone, haven’t I? What can I say other than to apologize for my general lack of motivation to post. But I have a quiet moment on a Sunday night so I’ll share it with you. Yeah, you. You know who you are. (Kinda neat how I made anyone who is reading this post feel special, isn’t it? Like when Elton John did “Your Song”. There is something to be said for the universal approach, and I do want both of my readers to feel included. Just the kinda guy I am).

Anyway, today I took my son Nolan to the airport and he is currently somewhere over the wide Pacific on his journey home. He had three great months in Korea and hated to leave. But no job (or visa) was found, so he had to go. He made lots of friends (certainly far more than I have in over 2 years here) and I think the experience was a very positive one for him. Anyway, he is always welcome to come back and I think that is an option he will consider. I know he will be missed by many, including me. The house already seems oddly quiet and empty. Much like my life, but I’m not going there in this post!

We had a great Thanksgiving celebration at Dolce Vita. We bought 2 nice turkeys on base (already cooked and surprisingly moist and tasty). Did pot luck on the sides, and had the usual fixin’s including mashed taters and gravy, dressing, corn, cranberry, rolls, pumpernickel bread (with YJ’s great dip) fruit salad, carrot cake, pumpkin and apple pies, and a cobbler. It really turned out well. I eat American all the time having access to the base commissary, but my expat English teacher friends really enjoyed having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Our Korean guests got a taste of something new and even added kimchi as a side. Yum, turkey and kimchi! I did miss having candied yams and green bean casserole, but the guys did the cooking for this event and having no Big Hominid amongst us, we had to make do with what our limited skills allowed.

Wanna see some pictures? Ok then:


The bird. We bought two of them and had precious little leftovers.


Somehow I got stuck with carving duties. Back home I use an electric knife. I managed though.


See? I cut that baby up into tasty morsels. You can see my famous “Aunt Pat’s Recipe” fruit salad in the background. Lonnie did a great job on the potatos and dressing.


I baked that carrot cake and we bought some pies from the bakery on post. It was all good.


Cuatro is a soldier and captain of our dart team. He arrived with his girlfriend (whose name escapes me at the moment, sorry) ready to chow down.


After dining, we did some socializing…here’s Nolan with Duke’s mom, Candy.


Of course, some dart games broke out. Here’s Mario taking his best shot (of course the flash was a little distracting).


Lonnie takes his turn…


Wherever there is a pool table you are likely to find Nolan.


Me and Duke posing for the camera. No, I am not as drunk as I might appear in this photo. I probably am that fat however….


Jim seemed awfully happy to pose for a picture with Bill’s girlfriend Joon…


Nolan’s girlfriend (well, I guess former girlfriend) Sophia. A German exchange student. I know she hated to see him go. I have a funny story about her but I think I will keep it to myself. I am sure she would be grateful for my discretion.


Joon and Nolan became very good friends during his time here. And yes, Nolan *may* have been as drunk as he appears…


“The 8 ball goes in the middle”. The Korean women in attendance spent a lot of time on the pool table.


Gene throws while Kyle looks on. We had an impromptu dart tourney which Kyle and I had the good fortune to win as partners. 20,000Won each. WooHoo!


Zeke and his lady friend. SongHee is one of the new barkeeps at Dolce. In the deep background is Haelee who is very camera shy. I was surprised I actually captured her here. Zeke is a great guy who works at the hospital on base. A couple of months ago I was getting treated for diaper rash (don’t ask!) and he told the nurse I was a VIP. She believed him and I got excellent treatment during my visit. Thanks again, Zeke!


“Dead eye” Joon lines up for the shot…


“No way you are going to make that shot Nolan”


Joon, Yoolee, and Sophia looking pretty as usual. Yoolee is from Indonesia and just married Tom here in Korea. They are going to do a traditional Muslim wedding back home in January. I’ve been invited to the reception in Bali and if things work out I’ll be there.


Duke’s girlfriend JiYoung is a fine looking darts player, if you know what I mean…


JiYoung and her cute girlfriends. If we ever got introduced the names are lost in the fog of too much turkey and beer…


Tom and Dave, two great guys who happen to play darts for our arch rivals the Rubbies. As of today Tom is ranked number 3, I’m 4 and Dave is 5. Its very close and with two weeks to go in the season we all think that order is subject to change. They way I have been throwing (lousy) it just might.

So that was my Thanksgiving. Really had a great time. Wish y’all could have been there. Yeah, I’m talking to you!

Another hero

Don’t know how I happened to miss this story at the time, but today I read about the most recent Medal of Honor awarded to a veteran of the Korean War. More than 50 years later President Bush recognized Tibor Rubin for his bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Lots of interesting wrinkles, like the fact that Mr. Rubin was a citizen of Hungary, a Jewish concentration camp survivor, and that serving in the US Army was the fulfillment of a vow he made in 1945. Read this amazing story here.

Cold and Snow

As in, last night we had a few snow flurries and I have caught a cold. The snow didn’t stick but this cold is kicking my ass. Ah well, better now than over the holidays I suppose.

In other news…

In fantasy football I eeked out a victory against the Wonju Wobblers which keeps me tied for first in my division at 7-2. You can follow all the action here.

Saturday night four of us from the the league met at Nashville Pub for some brews and chat. Coincidentally (or not) they all have blogs and while we did a little football smack talk, mostly it was geo-political pontifications and the like. Fascinating insights and perspectives from some really bright guys. I’m pretty sure we came up with solutions for 90% of the world’s problems, but then I got drunk and I can’t remember what they were. No worries, we plan to meet again at the conclusion of the season and celebrate or drown sorrows as circumstances dictate. Anyway, it was great to meet some fine bloggers (and football geeks) live and in person. So mucho gusto to Andy who you can also read at The Marmot’s Hole, the Dram man (posts at the Marmot as well and has promised a review of the Bless U Pub hamburger) and Shaun our “token” Canadian who was gracious in the face of my good natured teasing (actually, his perspectives were really interesting and appreciated). Looking forward to seeing y’all again soon.

Also on Saturday I played in the league mid-season singles tourney. I was the number one seed in “B” division, but played like crap and finished 5th. No excuse for that, just lost my focus. Last night in a key league match I went 6-0 which somewhat redeems me. I’m currently ranked at #3 and played the guy ranked at #4. Victory helped my confidence immensely. We took the overall match 15-4 which pretty much makes us a lock for first place. You can follow our exploits in the Seoul International Dart League here.

What else? Nope that’s my life. Just call me lucky.