Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Carol and I are pretty social creatures.  We enjoy having people over the house and have been known to throw a party or two.  Almost a year ago, I talked about throwing a toga party.  Carol's response was, "You can't throw a toga party in Korea!"  Those at my work know that you shouldn't tell me that I "can't" do something.  The "can't" word is supreme motivation for me.  Unbeknownst to Carol, the gauntlet was thrown down.  And yes, I did feel a little funny about typing the word, "unbeknownst."

The thinking went like this.  What type of event would attract a lot of people in Busan?  Beknownst to me (okay, I'm getting carried away with that word and it's derivatives), there's a large English teacher population here in Busan.  We thought a toga party would be something the Busan crowd could sink their teeth into.  And of course, the Naval Aviator in me thought what the heck - toga party!

So there's some of the background behind last Friday's fundraiser.  The main reason for throwing the party of course was to raise money and awareness for the two causes I wrote about in my  most recent blog post - the Sung Ae Won Orphanage and Habitat For Humanity.

Mission accomplished.  Over 400 people attended the big toga party fundraiser last Friday at the Novotel Ambassador Hotel in Haeundae Beach.  We had people travel from Daegu and as far away as Seoul.  We raised over 9 million Korean won (about $8,000 US dollars) for these two organizations.  This money will go a long way towards improving the quality of life for the children at the orphanage and some people in difficult housing situations.  People have already told me that we have to do this again next year.  I will definitely pass that on to my replacement.

Busan's English radio channel, eFM did a radio interview with me about our two causes and the fundraiser.  That's Ashley Kim, a radio personality from eFM.  She was incredibly nice.

Bobby McGill on the left is the Editor of Busan Haps Magazine.  This is a great magazine for foreigners.  I wrote an article for the magazine to help get the word out about our two causes and the big event.

The party was held in the Novotel Ambassador Hotel.

The hotel is right on Haeundae Beach.  From the Grand Ballroom, we had a nice view of the ocean.

Here's the banner in front of the hotel.

And finally, some party pics!  I wasn't exactly sure how many folks would come in togas.  As the night progressed, there were definitely a lot more togas than non-togas.  We did attract our normal suit-wearing crowd, which was expected.  Here are some of the MSCO Korea crew looking good in their Greek gear..

Lots of dancing and only a couple of wardrobe malfunctions.  I thought I saw someone's tonsils once.

That's me, Kristin, Nick and Maria.  We couldn't have done it without the help of some awesome folks like these three.  Initial setup, decorations, prepping food, tending bar, manning the door, selling raffle tickets, running the coat check, etc.  There was a lot of behind the scenes actions to make this thing happen.  Thank you so much MSCO Korea, Busan Foreign School, DK, Pier 8, Busan Storage Facility, Costco, Commissary, Chinhae MWR, USO, BOSS, Navy League and all of the other volunteers and donors.  You guys rock!

Tessa is the Habitat For Humanity Coordinator for BFS.  She's also CJ's Science Teacher.  She's a tough teacher but we wouldn't have it any other way.

Definitely the most creative togas of the evening.  The Jolly's came as the Canadian Bobsled Silver Medalist and of course Princess Leia.  Total awesomeness.  May the force be with you.

We were honored to have the Director of Sung Ae Won Orphanage say a few words.  A very sweet lady.

Sal won an iPod during the blindfolded musical chairs game.  Sharon is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

Carol and Ms. Kang looking like precious metals.

Mr. Im surrounded by interns.

Wendy, Carol and Kemmeh.  As always, the ladies were looking really good.

Bunky, XO of MSCO Korea and Commander Melinda Michael, XO of Expeditionary Port Unit 111.  It's the Executive Officer (XO) picture.

That's David Kim on  the left.  He did some heavy lifting to make this fundraiser happen.

Ice luge!

Double ice luge.

Thank you USO for your support!

Yum.  Wine in a box.  Hey, we had 400+ people to entertain.  Cut me some slack.

The beloved Filipino Group.  One thing about our Filipino Group from church is that you don't need anything at all to have fun with them.  Get three of them together and it's all laughs and an instant party.

Donning a toga for the kids.  For the kids man!

Frances and Derek - we're gonna miss you!  So is the Fuzzy Navel.

The smile on this guy's face is because he just won the grand prize - 500,000 won.  We raised a nice chunk of change from the raffle tickets.

Here's Steve winning the Best Toga contest.  He had the home crowd (Busan Foreign School) rooting for him.  Congrats!

Surrounded by some exotic Cleopatras.

Members of the Korean American Busan Association (KABA).  Thank you so much for your support!

Mr. Yun and Technical Sergeant Daisy Galan.  She was a finalist for Best Toga.

Amber is on the left.  She helped out a bunch with the party decorations, raffle tickets and other things.  You should check out her article in the latest issue of Busan Haps.  Here's the link:  Underground Art

Ms. Yi is the Vice President of People To People International.  Her organization does a lot of great things in the community, including supporting North Korean refugees.

Okay, I admit it.  I was vexed by the amount of body hair on some of the dudes.  Some of those guys don't need to spend a cent on sunblock during the summer.  Just saying.

At the end of the night, there were folks jumping rope, playing football with wigs and other interesting acts.  Folks didn't want to go home!  

Kemmeh and Emmekah

I'm reminded of the Academy Awards.  "And I'd like to thank..."

Just a great night!

I'm a huge fan of doing something you've never done before.  For many of the Korean guests, this was their first time donning a toga.  For all those college grads out there that never had a chance to attend a toga party as a student, this was the perfect opportunity for some college redemption.  Those people can now say that they've truly graduated.  For many, the toga thing was old hat.  Some looked incredibly natural in this environment, as if they were Julius Caesar himself.  BTW, such a great historical figure and he gets a salad named after him.  Sheesh.

There was the wallet that was lost.  Then found.  Then lost.  Then found again.  There was the girl who punched her boyfriend and was wondering why she was all alone.  The bananas in the elevator, the upside down ice luge and the Cape Jacob boys having a great time.  It was definitely a memorable night.  Lots of fun while helping out two important causes.

Our adventure in Korea never ceases to amaze me.  Just when you think it's a pretty conservative country, it shows us a thing or two by cranking out a very less-than-conservative bash last Friday night.  One last point.  Why toga?  Because it's a celebration of life.  Just throw what the heck cloth over your shoulder and enjoy life with no worries about what the other guy might think.  Hope this won't be the last.

Thanks again to all of those that helped make this happen.  And remember, if you've got some time to spare, come on out and spend some time with the kids at Sung Ae Won.  They'll love you for it!  Until next time -- C2



Great feature Chris. Derek and I had a fantastic evening never to be forgotten. We'll miss Busan and all the wonderful people we have met. Maybe I can get the Moscovites to have a toga party next year!!!!!!

Academy awards party decorations

Elegant pictures.Owning the different props that one sees in the films can give anyone a sense of wonder when it comes to a party.

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