This is my first post in the new year and I know its been a while since my last post so I will do my best to catch you up on everything I've been doing. As I mentioned in my last post Tucker has returned and after the new year my other roommate Ben also returned. So now we have a full house and there is pretty much always someone in the apartment to talk to so that is nice.
The month of December actually went by really fast we had a few company lunches as well as our company party. I was part of the planning committee for the party believe it or not and on the day before, I was asked by the company to actually to be one of the MC's for the party. At first, I was a bit nervous but then I decided it would be a good opportunity to put my face in front of our Hong Kong office and meet as many people as possible. The party was 60's theme, I decided to go dressed as the Mad Men style of the 60's, so literally I just wore my black suit, simple. To be festive I added a Santa hat to my outfit. The party ended up being a really good time even though it was on a Monday. It was all you could drink and everyone enjoyed the games and the excitement of the raffle. The company gave away some big prizes including two ipads and trips to Australia, USA, Singapore, and South Korea. Here are some images from the event.
In December, we also had a bonding event for just our global marketing team where we went to a popular local pizza joint and made our own pizzas. It was a blast, as it was free drinks and free pizza. When my pizza came out of the oven the manager of the restaurant that it came out perfect and was a perfect pizza. However, I must admit a secret when I was rolling out my pizza I was having a hard time getting the perfect circle so I asked the manager to give me one of the pizzas dough's that had already been rolled out by one of their cooks. In argument I actually did place the perfect amount of sauce and toppings so I did have a hand in conceiving the perfect pizza. Here are some photos from our night as gourmet pizza chefs.
Some good news that most of you know now is that I was able to take 3 days off and go home for week to celebrate Christmas and New Years with my friends and family. It was probably this single most anticipated trip of my life as I was counting down the days till I would fly home and see my family. Another major reason for my intense avidity, was the fact that none of my Grandparents and none of my extended family save a few new that I would be home for Christmas.
It ended up being the best Christmas of all time, when you are disconnected from your family for a extended time, seeing them on Christmas just made it all the more extraordinary. On New Years Eve I celebrated the coming of 2012 with my friends Nick Zaleski, Billy Mason, Pat White, and my cousin Greg in Hartford. It was a blast and I may have had a little too much alcohol to get on a plane at 9:00 am, but I do not regret a single minute of it. Tara also came down for a few days during the week so it was good to spend some quality time with her. Aside from spending quality time with friends and family I also pigged out hardcore style on as much American grub as possible. On Christmas eve I had Pierogi's at Babci's house along with vegetables and other various Polish dishes. Then on Christmas day we went to my Uncle Jerry's where we were treated to prime rib and lasagna and it they were both cooked spot on. On Tuesday of my week home, my parents held a holiday party at our house for our family and friends to celebrate and so that I could see as many people as possible. The food was fantastic for this party as there were a ridiculous amount of appetizers, along with salads and pasta. Besides home cooked meals I also ate out a few times including Moes for dinner one evening and for lunch the following day. The catch is that I did not eat breakfast in between those Moe's trips so I actually had Moes for consecutive meals!
My parents wanted to take me out to dinner to celebrate my 24th Birthday since I would not be home on my actual Birthday. So we went out to dinner to a restaurant in Hartford called First & Last where we had a delicious Italian meal on that night. Also while I was home I was graced with a visit from two very good friends of mine (even though they are from the dirty jerz) Andrew and Matt Mariani. On their trip they were kind enough to bring up a case of Yuengling, they were not the only ones however, Mr. Engel also stopped by with a case he brought up from Eerie, PA. So throughout the week I had two cases of my favorite beer in the world to drink from, can't beat it.
I must admit that it wasn't just the beer, it was terrific seeing Mr. and Mrs. Engel for a while, and I had an absolute with the Mariani Bro's. Andrew and Matt came up on Tuesday night right after the holiday party and I took them along with Tara, Lauren and Laur's friend Victoria to Hong Kong House in South Windsor for some Scorpion bowls. We not only had a blast but I also found out something about my sister; she knows how to fight! Thats right, you heard right, little miss seem so friendly to everyone has a dark side. The story is I ended up getting mouthy with some kid and his girlfriend did not like it so she slapped me in the face. Lauren decided she did not like the girl hitting me and literally punched her in the face and drew blood!!! Yeap, hence Laur's new nickname "Tyson".
Unfortunately, as you all know all good things must come to an end so after our New Years bash in Hartford, I slept for about 2 hours sitting straight up on my living room couch, woke up at 6:30ish went to the bathroom threw up all the demons, took a shower, said goodbye to all my friends and left with my family to the airport. My trip back to Hong Kong was not the ideal one as I would be stopping in Detroit (which no matter what they say about the city, the airport is beautiful!) for two hours and then I flew to Tokyo where I had to chill for 5.5 hours. and then another 5 hour flight to Hong Kong where I arrived at 10:30 pm on January 2, 2011.
|Picture I took on the way to Japan|
Even though my stop in Japan was long, I am actually glad I was able to experience as the airport had some neat features in it. The first thing that I checked out was the automatic beer pouring machines. I was recommended to check them out while I was there from my roommate Tucker and one of Michaels lax teammates father. The way it worked was the worker took my cup and put it in the holder, the machine then slightly tilted the cup and poured the beer from the tap automatically and created a perfectly poured full beer.
They also had all kinds of randomly shaped furniture all around the airport that people were reading on and taking naps, so that was neat. While walking I had the opportunity to taste some free Japanese Green tea which I felt tasted a little different then the green tea I drink in Hong Kong but I really have no idea how to describe it.
My favorite part of the Tokyo airport was the origami museum. So much detail, I took a ton of pics of my favorites from the museum which you can see below.
|Santa's Elves in the workshop|
|flowers and landscape|
When I finally landed in Hong Kong and arrived back at my apartment it was about 11:00pm so I quickly unpacked and got ready for work the next day. The following day was January 3, 2012 and was my 24th birthday, I was jet lagged like you would not believe (actually I was jet lagged the rest of the week as well) but my colleagues Jessica and Celia went an purchased a Birthday cake for me which was very thoughtful!
Later that night after work, I wanted to go out and treat myself to a nice Birthday dinner. So I made reservations at the Peak Lookout which is one of the oldest restaurants in Hong Kong and is located up on the peak overlooking the Island. Tucker joined met me in Central and we took a minibus up to the top of the Peak. Dinner was very tasty I had grilled salmon which I have not had in a long time, so that was refreshing. Although I really liked the Peak Lookout and I thought the food was delicious, and a very nice romantic place to take a date with the music and dark setting, I thought that they should offer better sides with your entree. I had a baked potato with my fish and it was literally just a baked potato with nothing else on it. It was a bit odd even the side salad I had was tiny and was hardly a salad.
|My Salmon with my plain potato and lame salad on the right.|
|This is me in front of the old tram up on the Peak. This is how the cable trams used to look back in the day.|
|The Caprese appetizer I had...best fresh mozzarella I have ever had. (Tri-color tomato, basil , mozzarella, some sort of delicious berry.)|
|Prime Rib perfectly cooked with no fat.|
|Ben standing on the patio.|
This past weekend Ben was quite jet lagged from his trip back to Hong Kong so he did a lot of sleeping. He did make it to the Yacht club for lunch, however Tucker and I took a trip to Stanley market and beach which he opted out of. Check out the mini Lassie we saw in Stanley!
|Me at Stanley Beach|
Here is a cool pic I took at the yacht club.
That's it for this post, as it is just waaaay too long at this point. So I am going to stop it now, but fear not I will be posting here again very shortly as I still have a few more things to catch you up on, including some Chinese words and phrases that I have learned, cute pups I saw while I was home and a look at Chinese New Year decoration in Hong Kong!