Friday, December 25, 2009

My Very First Christmas Party

Most people's reaction to the fact that I've never been to a Christmas party is disbelief. They think that maybe I'm exaggerating or joking around. I explain that I'm Jewish. No matter, they always have Jews at their parties. What can I say? Up until this year my Christmas' pretty much universally consisted of Chinese take out and movies. We used to go out to the movies but then the theater near us closed so it became Netflix and takeout.

The party started at 3. Since all of us expats have tiny, tiny kitchens it was a bit of a pot luck menagerie. At 2:21 I realized that Salsa Boy wasn't done chopping the GARLIC for our arroz con pollo dish. I decided to step in and help with some speed chopping of onions. I started getting really upset that I was going to be late to my first ever Christmas party. The whining set in. For those of you who are intimately acquainted with the Karpen clan picture this: a hungry, running late person. NEVER A GOOD COMBO FOR A KARPEN. Salsa Boy soothed my frazzled nerves by allowing me to pick at the olives and making me a cocktail. Normally, I'm not an afternoon cocktail sort of girl but it was Christmas and I was stressed! In any case, we were only 40 minutes late and were among the first people there. Somehow, I forgot that expats seem to be routinely late to any social engagement. The arroz con pollo was a hit, and aside from the cookies, definitely the most successful dish. Listening to Canadians try to pronounce the name of a Spanish dish is hilarious. Ahroze con PoLLoh. Oh Canadians, how I love you!

Salsa boy says he was obscenely proud of his dish. I was just happy to have something that I could eat. Most of the stuff had butter or milk (or both) so I spent a good deal of time tracking down who made what dish and asking about the ingredients. No matter, there was still plenty for me to eat.

Then there was the madness of the present exchange. Everyone brought one gender neutral gift valued around 15,000 won (about 13 bucks American). You picked a number out of the hat and that was the order you got to chose your present in. Here is where it got complicated: you could choose an unwrapped present OR steal a present that had already been opened by someone else. If you stole a present, that person in turn had to either open a new gift or steal another one though a present couldn't be stolen twice in one round. The most popular gifts were: a blender, fancy alcohol, a pet beetle, 20,000 won cash, a board game, a 6 pack of Canadian beer, a nerf gun and a remote control car. I originally opened a wine bottle that came with 2 glasses but had that stolen for me and in turn stole a half pound of organic coffee with 2 matching mugs which I ended up taking home. Anyone can attest to the perfection of this present. Unfortunately, my coffee pot is in Busan so I will have to wait another week before I get to sample the coffee. The card said:

Dear Coffee Lover,
If you are anything like me, there's nothing quite as wonderful as a cup of joe. :) Serving coffee to a friend in matching cups with chocolate? Perfection :) Merry Christmas!

I forgot to mention that there was also some milk chocolate with almonds in it...basically death to both Salsa Boy and myself so I gave that away. She was the only one who wrote a card with the anonymous gift and was really embarrassed when someone read it out loud. I thought it was sweet.

I think I shall crawl back into bed with a movie or something. I love vacation!


Simon said...

Speaking of Karpen issues - you could take a whole box of plain old ice cream sandwiches to a Karpen clan event, and have them be completely untouched.

Alex said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA. This is so true. The only place ~shakes head~

kanishk said...

have them be completely untouched.

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