2012.12.23 - Birthday

Birthday and X-mas party

Coming back from Laos I entered the catch-up period at work. Going on vacation is great but the catch-up is killer ! I was helped a little by a delay to the installation of the derrick on our ship, which meant that the precious little was going on onboard that first week. instead the ship was moved to the offshore yard for the installation and then back to the main yard.

Some of you have been asking for photos of the ship, so here we go: From last month - just before launching

Just after launching

On the way out of the dry dock. Derrick is still missing

On the way to the Offshore yard for the derrick installation

Now with the derrick

On the 8th we were invited for the company X-mas dinner at Harmony restaurant. On behalf of Paula I had been collecting some contributions for the local orphanage from my colleagues in the office, and our new secretary Ms. Ok got the idea to make a fund-raising lottery at the party. The company donated three gift cards for the prizes and Paula and I got hold of a contribution box and started doing our rounds. People were very very generous and we raised much more than we had expected. Over USD2000 was raised for the children's X-mas party, which made Violet a very happy woman! She is always struggling to make ends meet, so we were even more pleased when we heard that our neighbouring office of Högh collected USD1000 which was then tripled by the main office.

Pietro realizing that the wallet was empty !! Probably because he already had given all he had to the orphanage! Jonny helped him out with USD10 here - just for show.

The party was a good one - I lost my voice and we stayed up until 1:30am..... can't remember the last time that happened!

Food was nice ...

Eddie got a seat at the girls' table ...

We sat with Dawn and Robert

Mr Seo was the photographer and I don't think he could have done a better job with this subject

I think we were about 70 people, so it's a bigger site team than I am used to.

We are about 40-45 on the construction site team and 20-25 from the operation side

The three pregnant ladies were drawing the lottery winners - Saide, Sarah and Annie

Stef won third prize

It appeared that some people were more comfortable behind the bar !!

And some were more comfortable on the floor! Ian celebrating his last days before fatherhood.

Sunday I went out for a bike ride with Leif. It's cold but still manageable with the right clothes. Leif had also been out for his company X-mas dinner the night before but had held back on the drinks due to the next morning's ride. So much more annoying (for him) that he had a bad day on the uphills ... and on the downhills also as a matter of fact. He came off quite hard I guess, because he hurt his ribs and haven't been out since! Bad for me also, as I don't like riding alone and have only been out once since then.

Leif on top of Magol Mountain. There was some remaining snow just a bit further on, so you know it was cold

Paula and the girls have been for a few shopping trip to Busan this month. First she had to spend the gift card she was given for her birthday and next time ... well, then I just think that they had to get out a bit. We have booked tickets for Denmark on December 29th until Jan 7th, so she needed to go and buy a few presents. I'm just happy to leave the Christmas shopping to her!

Last Saturday was my birthday and we had planned to go to Busan to see the movie The Hobbit in the IMAX theatre there together with Agniezska and Michael. unfortunately Paula had run into a bout of cold/flu and had to stay in bed all day. So I stayed home with her and put on a couple of movies on the home theatre - Clown - the movie and Ice Age 4: Continental Drift. That made her happy! I also had time to visit the Orphanage X-mas party at the compound. Violet and Kelly had been cooking for days for the 90 children that turned up (there were supposed to be 130, but the smallest ones stayed at home due to the cold and the oldest ones had to tend to their part-time jobs). It was nice to see that several foreigners had turned up to help and to socialize with the kids. I was very glad to have helped raise the money to brighten the lives of these unfortunate kids for at least one day.

Orphanage party

With live music ....

I'm not particularly good with kids so I was glad to see others made up for that missing talent

The Andrades were setting up the piñata.

Sunday Paula had invited some friends over for coffee (after my regular Sunday volleyball game of course). The house came alive with kids and poor Peo had to go into hiding. She is not comfortable around kids - even though all of them were very gentle with her. Rune and YongA came over Monday evening, as we couldn't accommodate everybody at the same time. And then we also had a good excuse to drink some of the excellent wines I had been given the day before.

Full house at my birthday party - Kasra, Ruaraidh, Serhiy, me, Jamie, Michael, Anatoliy and Oksana

And in the other end of the living room - Zoreh, Agniezska, Mika, Dawn, Nicola, Carolina, Torrin and AnneLin

Artoum helping me with the candles (there are so many !)

My good friend - and Russian teacher - Serhiy

My other good friends - Kasra, Mika, Zoreh, Erkan and Neris

Rune and YongA - always a good time with them

Wednesday was the election for president here in Korea. For the first time Korea will have a female president. For us there is no big change, I think, but at least we got a day off! I took my bike for a short spin on the backyard mountain. We had again plans for The Hobbit, but had to cancel again, as we wouldn't have time to reach our X-mas muddled wine (glögg) get-together at AnneLin and Trygve's place in the evening.

Glögg - and fastelavnsboller!

We are being spoiled this month! Paula, Dawn, Robert, AnneLin, YongA, Trygve and Rune

.... and Alexander treating us to a concert

Thursday we had a X-mas dinner for my department(s) at Bela Moti - our local (and favorite) Indian restaurant. True to form, we came away with far too full bellies. In fact, I didn't eat until two days later!

At Bela Moti - Anatoliy, Oksana, me, Mr. Kim, Serhiy, Ken, Mr. Lee, Ms. Yang and Valeria

Anatoliy's daughters - Valeria and Arina. Always at their best behaviour.

Mr. Oh and Mr. Lee were hiding at the other photo but now I think that all have been accounted for - except Paula and Artoum

Friday I went for safety training in Busan. It was a pretty simple boat transfer course but I relished the possibility to jump into a heated pool. It's always a good day if I have been wet ! As I didn't make it back to Ulsan for lunch, Paula and Dawn had lunch together before heading over to Sarah's place to meet little (newborn) Jago. He's cute I am told !!

Saturday We drove down to Busan for the last X-mas shopping and for lunch with Zoreh, Mika and Kasra. We had a little drive around our old neighbourhood before ending up at Uniqlo at the Lotte Department store Nampo-dong - as so many times before! And as traditions have it, I had my cup of ice cream at the Cold Stone creamery in the basement before we went and bought half of the wine store !!!

Today - volleyball of course (no biking as Leif is still not fully recovered and I am too lazy (and cold) to go on my own), then down to the clubhouse to meet up with Asli, Erkan and little Neris.

Neris with her new best friend Milana

Peo - Santa's little helper.....