I must be getting old. For the first time in months, I am ready for some Peace & Quiet at home. After having indulged in many P’s and Q’s at various parties, soirees, and shindigs, I am ready for a bit of P & Q at home. In October I lamented that life seemed a bit slow and that I felt too homebound. Now I truly feel I’ve reached the point of having a hangover, and I’m not even drunk. I think I’ve overdosed in holiday fun. As you grow older, it is possible to have too much fun and stimulation. You get burned out much easier than you did when you were in your teens and twenties. The days when I could make merry for days on end are long gone. I’m glad that things will slow down for us in January and February. We need a break.
On Friday night my wife and I went to back-to-back events. A good friend of mine invited us over for dinner and drinks with others who share an interest in China. We could only stay for tea before we had to leave for a birthday party. We started the tradition of meeting up with two other couples last November when we all went out for my birthday. We had such a good time that we decided to go out for each of our birthdays (about every two months). We couldn’t very well break tradition. Thus, my wife and I joined our friends for the birthday dinner at Il Ponte, an Italian restaurant in the Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel. The lasagna was delicious, the best I’ve tasted in Asia. Afterwards, we retreated to the Areno nightclub in the Hilton for drinks and dancing. Although admission, coat check, and the dance floor were free, the drinks were outrageously expensive. The dancing was fun, though. I love to cut it loose on the dance floor. As the only Caucasian in the club, I truly enjoyed making a spectacle of myself. One of my best friends started the mayhem by jumping up on the dais and dancing above the crowd. I soon joined him, and we took turns pole dancing. If you can imagine, picture a couple of guys in suits swinging around a pole, our arms flapping in the air. I’m sure the audience was amused! Or perhaps we affirmed in their minds that Westerners can be just a little crazy.
We left Areno before midnight on Friday just as the younger crowd started taking over the dance floor. Everyone else went home, but I went back to the first get together, which was still underway. They were very understanding that we had to leave for the birthday party and happy that I could come back for awhile longer. I stayed until 2:30 a.m. and chatted with them, sharing a couple glasses of wine. I finally rolled into bed around 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. On New Year’s Eve, my wife and I took went back to the Millennium Seoul Hilton with our son. The Hilton has a monstrous Christmas tree in the lobby. In the lower level, there’s a huge model train set. As my son is a train fanatic, we couldn’t resist showing him the model train set (in fact, I’ll probably take him there again tomorrow).
Following our visit to the Hilton, our family went over to some friends to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We didn’t plan to stay until midnight because it’s much too late for our son, but we did anyway. The most comical moment was when I was playing "Star Wars II Battlefield" on my friend’s new PlayStation 2 game console. Mind you, I never play video games, but I really got into battling snow troopers on the ice planet of Hoth. As I began my assault on an Attat, my wife says, "Mike, look at your son!" I said, "Hon, not now! I’m busy fighting the Empire!" My son had taken off all of his clothing and began streaking through our friend’s house naked! His dad of course was so engrossed in the video game that he scarcely noticed his son amidst all the laughter. When I finally realized what was happening, I stopped playing the game. We swiftly redressed our son and joined in the laughter. My, did I ever feel like a lame father. Here I am playing video games while my son is running around naked! Oh my. We all stayed up for the new year, including my son, to usher in the new year.
Tonight we again went out, this time to join some colleagues for dinner at their home. They made a fabulous Mexican food. It isn’t easy to come by good Mexican food in Korea, so I was absolutely thrilled to eat tacos with Spanish rice and corn. It was a wonderful end to the new year’s festivities. Tomorrow I have the day off and will spend it with my son. Although we’ll probably go out to see the model trains again, I’m looking forward to spending a quiet day at home. It may not be as peaceful as I would like, but I will enjoy it nonetheless.