I didn't have very concrete New Year's Eve plans on day 108, until I got a text from an old friend and IANTM enthusiast, Katie.
Katie was the first person at UGA to take me under her wing. This was an especially big deal for me. I had enrolled at Tulane University for college, had moved in to the dorm, and on the same day was evacuated due to Hurricane Katrina. Due to the severity of the storm, classes were canceled for the semester and they suggested students enroll in a college to get started and return the next semester. I came to UGA (a month after the school year had started) and was stressed, depressed and friendless.
My only friends at UGA had decided they were on to new and different people in college, so I was alone.
I don't remember how Katie and I met, but immediately she invited me to a football game with her, introduced me to her friends and gave me confidence that I wasn't alone after all. She holds a very special place in my heart.
Katie has since moved to Florida for work, and although our relationship was rather relaxed in college, whenever we meet up, its seamless conversation. When she called with plans for NYE, I was thrilled that she was in town and hanging out with other friends and blog readers, Eric and Neil, and sure that the night would be easy and fun.
Our night took us to Do Re Mi karaoke. This karaoke place was distinctively Asian, in that you basically rent a room with a three-wall booth and another wall full of TV screens showing lyrics and semi-serious montages of Korean people. It's a "traditional"-ish way to do karaoke with friends and not embarrass yourself in front of anyone you don't want to.
Now when I say this place was Korean, I'm meaning really, really Korean. As in, every shop in the two-story story, U-shaped, 50-store strip mall had signs in Korean. Two of three of the remote controls had Korean text on them, the other one was in English. Of the three inch thick binder, only about a quarter of an inch of paper was dedicated to American songs, and we had to learn how to convert the subtitles into English.
Snacks? Puffed rice concoctions with various flavorings.
The whole strip mall even smelled like I was in a foreign country...and I loved it.
About the karaoke, it was a lot of fun, highlighed by a rendition of "A Whole New World" sung by Neil and Eric, a putting-Queen-to-shame version of Bohemian Rhapsody sung by Neil and Katie, and an uber-fail "Forgot about Dre" sung by Mark and I.
It's way easier to let go of your inhibitions when you are just in the company of friends. It takes far less beer to do the trick when you're sure that the people who are judging you won't stop liking you due to any infractions.
It was a fun, unique and new way to ring in 2011, complete with karoke of Auld Land Syne (it's tradition, after all).
Video to come later, as YouTube is being a pain in the rump.