2009 was a year of letting go, acceptance, adventure, reflection, and good-byes.
I said hello to 2009 with thousands of Koreans in the heart of Seoul. Ended my first contract in Korea and sadly said good-bye to E-spirit. Rode tandem bicycles with the girls around Chuncheon. Barack Obama became the P.O.T.U.S. Met a boy that likes magic and books, who later became one of my better guy friends. We watched Nanta and Ballerina Falls in Love with a B-Boy. Had one of the last Girls' Wednesday Wine nights and said good-bye to Sarah. Shook my booty at my first URSeoul gig and said goodbye to Alana. I taught my students English and they taught me more about patience. Took an evening run on the dusk-lit shore of White Beach.
Traveled alone to Boracay, where I was welcomed by friendly people who made my trip memorable. I went para-sailing. Ate my first schnitzel and learned how to windsurf. Contracted the Dengue Fever and traveled back to Mississippi. Helped Timmy with his short film project and discovered an abandoned teddy bear. Rode a 4-wheeler. Let go of the hurt and said good-bye to the One I knew. Accepted history as it was and decided not to repeat it again.
Hiked Seoraksan with Joey, Jeff, and Jess...then formed the "Four Musketeers." Danced to Garth Brooks at a bar called Nashville, with people from Gumi. Fish nibbled on my toes. It tickled. Fell in love with life and it's endless possibilities. Became a Baskin Robbins fan and celebrated my conversion with an entire bucket of raspberry cheesecake, chocolate, and Oreo cookie goodness. Helped make an olive-tree with my roommates Julio and Cessilia. Said an all too early goodbye to my country music pal. Swooned over Gu Jun Pyo and the F4 gang. Listened to a Jeremy Camp song and it triggered my spiritual reawakening. Had an imaginary sword fight with a pretty bartender to help team asparagus win.
I went to the aquarium at the 63 Building and had a lovely glass of wine with flowing conversation. Tabi, Jeff, Joey, and I traveled to the beautiful Jeju-do. Shot a heavy manual hand gun (Smith & Wesson) for the first time. Drank from a rather large monkey bucket and realized that monkeys and buckets combined are never good. I planted rice paddies in the rain near the DMZ while I squished cold mud between my toes. Tensions between North and South Korea deepened. Reveled in the fact that I didn't have to bend down or bump my head on the ceiling in one of the tunnels at the DMZ.
Ate raw beef with shredded Parmesan cheese in Apgujeong. Went to a male host bar with the girls. I bungee-jumped off an apple-red bridge and lived. Coined the names Blaze & Fury with the co-founder of the "Bandanna Gang." Chanted "chamchi" and "maekju" while white-water rafting. Had my first taste of the delicious dong-dong-joo. 2009 Pandemic: Piggy Flu. I discovered podcasts and became a fan of the Moth. At Boryeong Mud Festival I was tackled by intense ajummas whose pants kept falling down. I was the cause of someone's happiness and the cause of someone's pain.
The world said good-bye to Ted Kennedy, Patrick Swayze, Michael Jackson, Fera Fawcett, and Ed McMahon. I ran off a mountain and floated hundreds of feet in the air. Met and surpassed my physical goal for 2009: to run a half-marathon. Played a tasty game of Texas Hold'em with the Korean version of Skittles. Said good-bye to Athos, aka Jeff Light. Soaked up the sun on an isolated Muii-do. Purchased an electric tennis racket and protected myself from those blood-suckers. Thanks to Joey, I learned a basic magic trick. Guiltily followed the Twilight and True Blood series. Spoke in third person and learned how to speak with a proper English accent.
I saw RENT and ogled Adam Pascal & Anthony Rapp. Surprisingly, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Started volunteering. Renewed my sense of purpose. Reenacted portions of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" on the subway platform at Itaewon Station. Saw the video of a nude Aramis running down Itaewon's infamous, Hooker Hill. I married Richard Gere's age. General Motors declared bankruptcy. Borrowed an ajumma's visor for a quick photo-op. Rode the steepest wooden roller coaster in the world. Fell off of the stage at Club FF. Hiked the entire outer ridge of Jirisan in three days time.
Made kimchi and wore a hanbok. Dressed as a gypsy and kissed a priest. Justin Becker titled me "co-capitan" of team dirt. Increased my Korean vocabulary. Realized my lack of ability at the following: DDR, darts, and pool. I was charmed and amazed by a brilliant "dead-eye." Participated in a world wide marketing scheme, by running in the NIKE 10k Human Race. Stayed up all night to say goodbye to Joey and was comforted at the fact I got his swivel touch lamp. ;)
Kanye West disrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech. Said a painful goodbye to GE. Had a blast snowboarding for the first time and didn't break any bones. Traveled to China with three lovely ladies. Experienced a frigid -16c temperature on Christmas Day. Ate strange and unusual creatures off of a stick. Was blessed with so many amazing people to share this past year with.