The Arrival

My plane landed at a tiny airport. There may have been 2 gates. I’m not unused to that. Suratthani was practically a dirt runway. But who cares?! I’m in Korea, Bitches!!

Quick history: Ben and I have known each other since Kindergarten. We have had countless classes together from Kindie through high school. We live minutes away from each other (on bicycles). I made sure to keep in touch with him through the years.

Naturally, my excitement was building. I sipped on the only 5 hour energy drink I brought with me. I knew this was going to be a long night because 1. in order to avoid jet lag, one should stay awake late to adjust 2. it was ben’s last weekend with everyone

I got my luggage and as I was about to sit down outside waiting for my familiar friend, I saw a skinny white guy walking

into the airport. I called out and he turned. We half heartedly ran to each other (neither of us like to run) and embraced as old friends do. He brought his Scottish friend Tom with him. And both were drinking a beer. And I’m pretty sure that was not the first. Or second of the night. They helped me with the luggage and we laughed and drank to Mugeodong. They helped me get to my ‘Sheraton.’ The motel sheraton. The “love” motel as many would call it. I took a quick rinse and freshened up my makeup. Ben took me to his apartment where about 15 people were eating and drinking. They were quite far ahead of me. I met a few south africans (!!!!), some scots, some canadiens, some americans. It was a lovely mix of people. Of course, starving, I grabbed a quick bite from the potluck sitting in front of me and then was shuffled out. We were on our way to my first noribong experience. ((noribong – music room – karaoke sort of))

We stopped by a bar called Purple Haze and drank. We took pictures and chatted. I met new friends.

Old Friends(Ben and I at Purple haze).. we got ‘photo-BOB-bed’ until we realized that it was jimmy hendrix behind us. not bob marley. but

there is a bit of bob marley behind me.

After some festivities there, we moved on to a place that I hav

e no idea what its called. We got a private room and started singing.

Singing

We started around midnight. We sang our brains out.

Ben and Tasha

We sang til our throats were sore. I watched these ridiculous Korean music videos that had nothing to do with the song that was being sung.

Terrible video

We drank beers bigger than a microphone. I was introduced to Soju.

Max beerWe sang. We danced. We laughed. I got tired for a minute. Natasha took me to get a quick bite. I grabbed a couple of bottles vitamin waters. We sang more. And then we finally wore down. I watched as Ben and his friends embraced and felt the heaviness of his departure. I felt a little sad because that was nothing like the departure I had from Thailand. I dont know if I even got a hug from anyone. But that is past. And now I hope to build new friendships with people here.

Anyway, we finally left. It was past 5am. We walked back to the apartments and motels. I said my goodbyes. I saw pictures of Korean girls on the floor near the elevators. A ‘love’ motel indeed. I went upstairs and wrote an email. I went to sleep at 6am.

Now that’s the way to start a journey over seas.

 

New Massage Technique: Serenade?

This is a story from a few years back while I was working out in Hawai’i.

I had been referred to a private client by someone who I know longer remember. This client happened to be VP of a particularly prominent shoe brand. As always, I turned the music on prior to setting up so the client can decide if it was what they wanted to relax to. My choice that session was “standards.” Sweet ballads by Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, etc. You know… classics. VP asks me how I came to listen to these old singers and I told him I had no idea. I like the music, it reminds me of days that I never lived (in this life). I told him it inspired me to sing and Ella Fitzgerald was my musical preference.
He made a proposition I have still not had matched. He offered me twice the agreed upon rate, if I would ‘serenade’ him to sleep while I gave a massage. I recall agreeing of course. My first (and only) paid singing gig?!  While massaging? Throw in some ballet and I could be on America’s Got Talent!
Like most of my clients, he was passed out within the first 10 (of 90) minutes. At some point I think I went from singing to humming and he actually awoke and said humming was not part of the contract. Ha!!! Amazing. He was asleep and woke up when I stopped singing. ((Good thing I didn’t get caught having stopped the massage – jk. I would never))

Nice guy in a great big cabin in northern west Maui. I never got a bad vibe from him and he followed through with his end of the bargain. If I could make that a new style of massage..  ahhh c’est la vie.

Holiday Show Happiness

"Mai" a student dressed in MJ garb

“Mai” a student dressed in MJ garb

In August, our manager informed us of a ‘holiday’ party in December that we were expected to perform at. Cue: Collective groan. Then she told us we needed to prepare our students for a performance as well.

I played a few songs for my P3 class (7-8 y/o) including the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, and India Arie. Apparently this was NOT cool. They wanted Lady Gaga. I scoffed because we had just gone over ‘Like/Dislike’ and in my ‘Dislike’ category I had written Lady Gaga. Then it hit me: Michael Jackson.  The students were familiar with the name and enjoyed rockin’ out to his music during dance time.

So we played lots of MJ songs until I  we collectively decided on singing “man in the mirror”. We started rehearsals immediately. I taught the students the words and we sang a few times a week at the beginning of class. They loved it. I loved it.

After they learned the lyrics I choreographed a fairly complicated easy dance for them. They caught on quickly. I caught on to the few that were not coordinated and put them in the back – as any good drama geek turned teacher would do.
We rehearsed with the other half of the class that another teacher taught. Without sounding too cocky – my class was WAAYYY better than hers.  they were all very good.

December came along and we gave them the outline for their outfits:
Black button down/zipped shirt with long sleeves
white t-shirt
black pants
white socks
black shoes
fedora

Students were bringing in amazing outfits to put together. I realized that there were 2 key element being forgotten about 2 weeks before the performance: the sparkly glove. No MJ performance would be complete without it!! So they brought gloves and we decorated it with the devil glitter. Also, they needed to know how to moonwalk! So they practiced moonwalking down the hallways for about 30 minutes. Not an easy task. But HILARIOUS to watch.

Our director loves me and came to watch the students perform a couple times. She loved it. I loved it. We all loved it.

Holiday-show-day was upon us. I walked into the GIANT convention hall and saw the itsy bitsy stage the students were to perform on. All i could think: “SHhhhiiiiiit. Someone’s going to fall off stage.” But then I saw their adorable little faces in the brilliant collection of MJ style costumes and no longer cared. For a few hours, I filled the room with Thai MJ impersonators.  No MJ fan could have been happier.
The performance itself was good. Not great.
Reason 1: No microphones. They took away the microphones because there was no room for it. So you couldn’t hear a damned word they said
Reason 2: The kids were so afraid of ruining their precious glittered gloves that they didn’t actually clap. They fake clapped! ((Insert: SMH))

———————–
On a side note: the girls of my P3 class decided to sing “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. Of course when I say “decided” I actually mean our Thai director told me they were going to perform it. They dressed like divas and threw roses into the audience after the performance. They did a fantastic job.

I’m uploading the videos to youtube so you can see the performances at the show and the ones from their classroom (which are WAY better!!)

The P3 girls and the solo sax player

The P3 girls and the solo sax player

The singers after the performance

The singers after the performance

Little MJs

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