And they’re off!!

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Santa sprinted down the brightly lit kindergarden hallway with her hands covered over her mouth. Her Korean kitten slippers slid around on the hardwood floors as she, dodged, jumped and gently knocked kids off their feet in her panic. Green in the face she made it in time for the flu to abort her body in the correct place, unlike the day before when poor Mark splattered in the hallway10 steps too soon. It appears germs travel extremely fast when one works with kids and although this isn’t how Santa thought her last Friday teaching would end up, it still doesn’t take away from the best year of her life. Kitty kindly strolled through the door at 6:00 PM with some amazing soup that one of their co-workers bought them as a get-well and have a great last weekend in Korea gift. As they sipped their soup they took a good look around their Korean shoebox where they spent the last 365 days “What a year”….

Korea to them is one of those countries, that honestly, no matter how much they talk about it is completely indescribable. There is a large sense of love for the beauty of the land, the children, the culture and the food and yet at the same time they want to flip it the bird and bid it fair well with a giant F*YOU! (after time has passed they will explain Korea in a new light & truth they we’re not able to express over the past year because of their job). Thats not to say that Kitty and Santa will leave Korea with an ounce of hate because it’s so far from that. They have nothing but love for this experience but it was exactly that, an experience. One to love, to learn from and most importantly one that opened their eyes and mind to a whole new world and way of life.
and now…they are off!! Work is done. Hugs, tears and goodbyes are finished. Bank accounts closed. Korea has been an amazing chapter, a wonderful year that will always be cherished for everything it was. They are sad to go but so excited for the journey that awaits them. 90 days, 3 months, 2,160 hours of chaos and life changing travel. 20 friends and family along the way, it truly is a dream come true.
Kitty and Santa plan on updating the blog every few days with hilarious stories on their gypsy life. Thank you to everyone who has followed this journey, you are all a blessing in Kitty and Santa’s life and they wouldn’t be able to do this without your love and support!
In  6 short hours  they get to meet their families at their departing gate in Seoul. Kitty and Santa’s families connecting flight is their departure flight from Korea. It’s going to be an emotional reunion that will make leaving Korea so much easier. Korea will always have a piece of their heart and those kids will never be forgotten. Ever.
As for now… THAILAND.
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Santa’s Bday Rush

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As Santa’s birthday approached kitty and Santa felt shocked that an entire year had already passed from when they signed their contract to move abroad.  They reflected on their time over seas and both agreed that a single year can change so much in ones life. They both have felt truly blessed to have been on such an adventure and even more thankful they got to do it together. Santa was feeling a little lost about her birthday as she knew this was closing a chapter in her life she truly loved. Moving overseas, teaching and traveling have made her happier than she could have ever imagined. Kitty reassured her that although the future of the unknown is scary, it’s also exciting. “If your 25th year of life was this good, just think of how great 26 is going to be”. Kitty is certainly wiser as she has almost a whole year on Santa. Santa pondered this for a short while and agreed. She immediately knew that she needed to do something on her birthday to prove 26 would be a fearless year. In 3 short weeks they will both embark on a 90 day adventure of a lifetime, traveling to 6 different countries, meeting up with family and friends along the way, then heading to Chicago for the holidays. Santa will continue on to chase a life long dream of becoming an actress in California while kitty will most likely move abroad again to continue her passion of teaching the future generations of this world. It’s the ending of a great 13 year journey they spent together and the beginning of their own separate adventures that will surely be just as exciting.

Santa made the decision to drag kitty along on a thrill seeking weekend to prove just how brave she was going to be this year. They started the kick off in Seoul where they went to a bunch of awesome pubs, drank great craft beers & met some wonderful new friends. They headed to a rugby tournament on the morning of Santas Korean birthday and sat on the river drinking Cass beers, playing felt ball, chumming with the 711 owner & making new friends. The night continued on at a local pub called phillies where Kitty surprised Santa with a candle lit birthday cake and a happy birthday song that boomed louder than the music in the bar.

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The next morning, feeling the effects of the night before, kitty and Santa managed to roll out of bed and jump in a cab at 7:00AM to head to the bus station. They grabbed some food and water and got on a 3 hour bus out of Seoul to start their day of adventure. On the list of things to do was whitewater rafting, zip lining and Santas ultimate bungee jump!!!

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Kitty and Santa’s guide showed them a wonderful time during the white water rafting as he screamed commands in Korean and scared the girls into a state of shock. “HANA! DUH! HANA! DUH!” (meaning 1,2) Kitty and Santa flapped their paddle side to side hoping they were doing it right. The boat was shared by 2 older korean men and 2 middle school boys. The 4 guys on the boat repeated the guide screaming “HANA! DUH! HANA! DUH!” in military like chants. Kitty and Santa tried really hard to keep up but when their form started to get sloppy the guide threw his paddle down, grabbed Kitty by the life jacket and tossed her off the boat. He then looked at Santa in a rage and Santa dropped her paddle and jumped out of the boat on her own. Kitty and Santa laughed swimming next to the boat, wondering how they were going to survive the rest of this rafting trip with this maniac. Back in the boat they hit some rapids and got a few adrenalin rushes.

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They then pulled their raft up onto shore, Kitty and Santa thought the trip was over. They survived. WRONG. The guide made them follow him up to a waterfall where he grabbed one of the middle schoolers, knocked him over and held his face under the waterfall. They watched in fear as he appeared to be practically drowning everyone on the boat, holding their faces under the water until their bodies started to flail around in a panic. He would pull their heads out from the water and before they could catch a second breath he would shove it back under. It looked like a torture scene from a war movie. After the 4 guys came weezing and coughing away from the fall the guide looked at Kitty and Santa with a “YOUR NEXT” face. They both shook their head in fear. “We’re not doing that” Santa said with a shaky voice but before Kitty could respond Santa was pulled away towards the fall. He grabbed her face and held it under the water pounding down. Santa tried to escape, kicking her legs about as 25 whole years of life flashed before her eyes. Koreans stood around laughing waiting for their turn to be water boarded. Kitty stood in a state of shock and fear. Korea is one hell of a culture. Kitty was up next and after fighting it for a few minutes she caved and let the man almost kill her. As they walked back to the raft feeling confused about what just happened Kitty mumbled “why do I always let you talk me into these trips. This is the last time SANTA.”

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After a hearty lunch of ramen noodles, beers and snacks they suited up and zip lined around and over the river with a new and much nicer guide. The only issue with zip lining was that they thought somehow the speed would reduce when landing on the plank, they were mistaken. There was a big blue mat on the tree that they were apparently supposed to brace themselves for a crash landing. Well, no one told them so after their first zip they both flew head on into the mat in a true George of the Jungle style, they were both surprised they didn’t go through the tree leaving just a silhouette of their bodies behind.

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The last stop of the day was Santa’s bungee jump. Her official birthday present to herself. fearless freedom and courage! She was suited up, climbed into a crane and lifted 200 feet above the river. The guy inside asked her if she was ready and she responded. “fuck ya. lets do this” He opened the door to a small plank where he told her to step out to the line. She looked back at him and said “I’m going to fall” He responded, “NO. You’re going to jump! On the count of 3, ready?” “YA!” She looked down at Kitty and all the people cheering her on that were the size of ants. She did a few fist pumps, spread her arms out like a new pair of wings and when she heard 3 she jumped up into the air. It was the most amazing free fall she had ever experienced.

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Santa’s birthday was the BEST one yet, which only means one thing. Getting old means that life simply gets more and more amazing. Santa wants to say thank you to Kitty for making it so special and thank you to all her old and new friends that made this day everything it was. 26 is off to an incredible start!

Here is a video that Kitty made Santa for her birthday. It is one of the BEST walks down memory lane.

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Boryeong Mud Festival

Last weekend Kitty and Santa set out on a trip to Daecheon Beach for a mud festival with a group of 70 other foreigners from Gwangju.  It just so happens that this festival was over the same weekend as their beloved Country Thunder (CT). For those of you who don’t know, Kitty and Santa have been attending CT for 13 years now. They go every year  to this 4 day festival with their best friends and family to camp, listen to some great music and socialize with hillbilles.

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Christmas in July, Good ol Country Thunder

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They decided mud fest was the next best thing to paying two grand to fly back to the US for a four day getaway in the corn.  Saturday morning they met their group at the bus terminal to start the 2 hour trek to Boryeong South Korea; a small town on the west side of the country.  Being surrounded by foreigners made it impossible to catch any Zzz’s on the bus, so they decided to throw back a few cocktails on the way.

They arrived at their pension (sort of like a shared hotel) at about one o’clock that afternoon.  This was Kitty and Santa’s first experience staying at a pension, and they didn’t really know what to expect.  It turns out that this pension, like most, was a big empty room where about 30 people would be sleeping.  There weren’t beds, pillows or blankets, but just some mats that you laid out to mark your territory.  Kitty and Santa didn’t hesitate; they threw their bags down, slipped into their bikinis, grabbed some beers, and hit the streets.  They made some new friends, ran into some old ones, rolled in the mud, swam in the sea, and soaked up the sun.  Needless to say it was definitely a day to remember.

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Once the sun began to set, they headed back to the pension to shower off.  As you can imagine 30 drunk muddy people, two showers, and one large room, wasn’t exactly the best set up, but they managed.  After the demudification, they picked up some makgeolli and street food for dinner.  As Kitty and Santa made there way to the beach they were  approached by a few new Korean friends that invited them for drinks under the fireworks.  They graciously accepted, and sat gathered on a small blanket, drinking from Dixie cups, sharing stories, and enjoying the show up above.  After a few hours they stumbled on home, curled up on their mats, and fell fast asleep….next to 30 other bodies.

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Lokhee & Anthony’s Wedding!

Kitty and Santa recently had the honor of attending their friend Lockhee’s traditional Korean wedding.  They were quite excited about attending the ceremony, as they knew it would be much different from the western weddings they were use to.

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The wedding was at a beautiful outside venue and the weather couldn’t have been better.  The ceremony began with a little traditional Korean music and dancing, followed by the bride being brought down the aisle in a small ham (pronounced hum) that was carried by four friends of the groom.

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Once at the alter, the bride and groom took their first bow together.

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Following the processions at the alter, there was more dancing, the belly dancers being Kitty and Santa’s favorite.  During the last dance Kitty spotted something out of her peripheral, as she turned to look a little Korean lady had a hot-floured rice cake next to her mouth.  When she went to ask what she was being fed the lady shoved it right in with a smile and said, “Cake!”  Kitty went to warn the other guests around her but couldn’t even swallow the large ball of rice in her mouth.  She saw Santa was next and stood there helplessly as she received the same treatment Kitty had.  Santa had a mustache of flour and was bent over choking as she tried to quietly consume her rice cake.

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They managed to swallow just in time to hear that the bride and groom would both be tossing a chicken into the audience, if you were to catch one of the birds they would be bring you luck.  Let’s just say Kitty and Santa headed towards the back of the small crowd as they saw the birds fly into the air.  Two lucky men in the audience did somehow grab a hold of the birds and went home the lucky winners.

 

 

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Following the ceremony there were drinks, dinner, and more dancing (whats a party without dancing?).  The bride and groom changed into western wear and read their vows, before a few members of their families gave speeches.  The night was capped off with some sparklers and a ride to the bar for a little after party.

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All in all it was a great experience, and a beautiful wedding.  They are so happy they were able to help celebrate the marriage of their new friends Anthony and Lokhee!

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Springing South Korea

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Kitty and Santa spent the last 2 years of their lives on the tropical beaches of San Diego. When they made the move to South Korea not only did they experience culture shock, but the winter weather also brought on a period of hibernation like the Chicago bears they were raised to be. Since the weather has now turned and the flowers have bloomed, Kitty and Santa have come out of their cave and wasted no time frolicking about Korea. Here are some of their spring highlights!

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Gwangju 10K

Kitty decided that it might be fun for the duo to partake in a race while here in Korea.  After a bit of online research, and some translating by Kitty’s elementary students, they had signed up to run a 10K on April 21st.  With a little convincing, their friend Krissy signed up to run as well!  Santa and Kitty didn’t take the training too seriously, as they weren’t planning on winning.  And Krissy, well her training consisted of shopping and dancing at the bar on Saturday nights.

On race day, they had planned on meeting Krissy on the corner so they could catch a cab to the starting line together.  When Kitty and Santa arrived that morning, Krissy was nowhere in sight.  Santa started freaking out, as she always likes to be at least an hour early to EVERYTHING.  They started to walk towards her apartment, but turned around in fear she might have taken a different route and that they’d miss her.  As they neared the corner again, they spotted Krissy who was enjoying a breakfast of champions: Oreos and chocolate milk!

After a nerve racking 15-minute wait, they finally were able to flag down a cab.  They pulled out the race map in hopes that the cab driver would know where they were suppose to go.  He got a bit angry, but in the end they arrived at the starting line with about 20 minutes to spare.  Krissy, Kitty, and Santa all started the race together, but ended up getting separated during their run.  They reunited at the finish line where they were presented with medals, chocolate pies, and sweet bread (not the normal fruit and fuel they were use to receiving post run).  After snapping a few pictures with every Korean fan, they felt as though they had won the race.  Success! One more thing off Kitty and Santa’s Korean Bucket list!

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Shopping in Seoul

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Kitty and Santa hadn’t been to Seoul since they celebrated Kitty’s 26th year of birth in the fall.  This also means that they hadn’t been shopping since November.  In Gwang Ju they have a lot of small boutiques and places to shop downtown, but here in Korea the majority of clothing is one size fits all, or FREE size.  Seems a bit weird, but everyone here is pretty small.  Free size might work for most Koreans, but not for Kitty and Santa.  Their friends Krissy and Kivi also wanted to get up to Seoul, so they decided to all take the KTX train together the weekend following their big race.

This was everyone’s first time taking the train in Korea, and it was a really enjoyable experience for all.  They arrived around noon on that Saturday, and Kitty and Santa found themselves back at the scene of the crime, the Seoul Subway! As Krissy and Kivi tried to figure out what line they needed to take, Santa and Kitty got a snack and decided that after the mix up they experienced the last time they wouldn’t be putting in their two cents.  Fifteen minutes later they jumped on a line that took them directly to their love motel (love motel is how they refer to cheap motels here in Korea).  As Krissy and Kivi would say, it was actually quite nice!  They dropped off their luggage and hit the streets for a day of shopping.  After spending over three hours in the five-floor Forever XI, they decided it was time to get back to the motel and freshen up.  Krissy’s childhood friend and husband are currently living in Seoul, and invited them all over for drinks before dinner.  They enjoyed some Lithuanian sprites and snacks, before heading out to a Thai Chinese fusion restaurant.  After a family style dinner, they headed to an Irish pub for darts and Jameson.  They spent the rest of the night bar hopping, dancing and taking firework shots before ending up eating Doners at 3 am.  According to Santa, Doners is a snack she once enjoyed while visiting her sister in Germany many years ago.  Kivi really enjoyed the Doners, and went back for seconds, thirds, and maybe even a fourth.  The night become a blur after the food coma but they woke up in their beds feeling well rested!

The next morning they enjoyed a breakfast at a cute French restaurant in a quiet neighborhood, before jumping back on the train to Gwang Ju.  Kitty and Santa enjoyed their weekend away in the big crowded city, but it’s always nice to come home to Gwangju!

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Bamboo Forest and Festival

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Kitty and Santa set off for yet another weekend adventure. This time they headed to Damyang for the traditional bamboo festival.They tasted some wonderful traditional teas, cookies and bamboo flavored ice cream. Hiked through the famous bamboo forest, purchased some local bamboo goods and hung out with some bamboo wearing festival dancers. Just 45 minutes outside of Gwangju, this day trip was well worth the wons!

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Mt. Wolchulsan National Park

Santa was looking to get a feel for some real Korean hiking, so while Kitty spent the day studying for her online grad school classes Santa took the bus with a friend to Mt. Wolchulsan National Park. She was told by her friend (an experienced outdoorsmen kind of guy) that it would be a long hike but not to worry. He would provide all the snacks, water and necessities one might need while climbing a mountain. She left around 7:00 AM and returned dirty and tired at 7:00 PM. A full days work but it’s not every day one can proclaim that they climbed a mountain…and hiked an entire national park! It might have been one of her favorite days in Korea so far. Go Santa GO!

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Gokseong Train Village 

One of the many perks of living in Korea is the fact that it is so small, so seeing a lot of the country on day trips is possible. Kitty and Santa decided to hit up Gokseong Train Village on a sunny Saturday afternoon to ride their famous rail bikes around the town’s mountain base. They brought along some snacks, a bottle of wine, two dixies, and of course their cameras for documentation purposes. Kitty and Santa arrived at the bus’s final destination but didn’t see the village they were expecting. After a game of charades with the bus driver they finally were able to get the point across “RAIL BIKES”. The bus driver showed them to a taxi who drove them 15 minutes into the middle of no where. He pointed to a small building next to an old railroad track and said “rail bike, good bye”. Kitty and Santa shrugged, threw him some won tons, and got out of the cab.

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They approached the ticket counter where they asked for a two seater rail bike. The ticket lady crossed her arms and shook them violently, a korean term  they were familiar with, NO. A young Korean with excellent English skills stepped in to translate. “Did you make a reservation?” Kitty and Santa looked at each other and than made a big X with their forarms. “Noo.” Apparently it was necessary in order to ride the rail. Kitty and Santa stood there in contemplation. They didn’t know whether they should wait for another taxi to take them to this village or go on the trek without a mode of transportation…”I mean if we follow the train tracks I don’t think we will get lost…do you?” Kitty asked. The Koreans standing around them thought it would be too far for Kitty and Santa to walk, but they pointed the girls in the right direction and shook their heads as they watched Kitty and Santa disappear.

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It wasn’t long before Kitty and Santa busted into the wine as they followed the tracks winding through the beautiful Korean landscape. They sang some old rail road songs, screamed and jumped around when they crossed paths with a large snake, had a few panic attacks when crossing bridges (it was pretty close to being in the movie Stand by Me…), laughed hysterically and talked for hours about how weird it is that they live in Korea.

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One pretty important question kept coming about, especially when crossing the bridges…do trains actually ride on this rail still? The first time it came up they both laughed it off. Of course NOT, this rail was now for bikes only, and they would have plenty of time to jump out of the way when they saw them coming.  They both laughed and then became very silent…”do you hear that?” Kitty would ask over and over again. Santa kept turning to look behind her, expecting a large freight train to be there. Well, about an hour into the trip there was no mistaking the sound of a bustling steam engine heading their way. Its horn was bellowing and smoke came clouding out the front. Santa screamed and jumped into the ditch, not even thinking about the snakes. Kitty jumped to the side. Santa wanted to go further into the woods afraid the train would take them out. They were happy when they realized this train was full of tourists and it was moving like an authentically slow locomotive.

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After hours of walking they finally stumbled upon the train village. They were greeted with cold beers, carnival rides and amazing locals. Kitty and Santa enjoyed the town for an hour before trying to head back to Gwangju. A few Koreans near by spotted Kitty and Santa scratching their heads wondering when the next train back would be. “Last train to Gwangju is finished. You can ride with us, we take you back.” Kitty and Santa were so happy to have met such wonderful people. They chatted with the young newlyweds all the way back to Gwangju. The day couldn’t have gone any better…Oh Korea!

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 -Sometimes it’s not about the destination but journey that should be appreciated- 

Philippines Part 2 – Island Life

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Kitty and Santa found themselves on the back of motorcycles touring around the island with their local friends, Ramos and Denmar.   They rode through the small villages and became very envious of the simplicity that comes with island life. The guys took Kitty and Santa to an amazing beach and showed them where to get the best fresh coconut drinks right from the tree.

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Ramos and Denmar are cousins and both grew up on the island. They explained to Kitty and Santa that their grandparents moved to the island when tourism was nonexistent and had 11 kids. Each of those kids (including their parents) had around 10 or 11 kids. So literally everyone was related to them. They told Kitty and Santa that they absolutely loved their island life and wouldn’t trade it in for anything. They both own little huts by the beach, they have electricity, a TV and good rum. Their pet roosters win them money in the weekly cockfights and they both participate in the Island’s Dragon Racing. Kitty and Santa were in shock when they heard the guys  made around $5.00  a day through booking tours and that was plenty of money for them. Enough for food, drinks and bills. They said if one day they don’t make enough to eat then they just go to one of their 145 relatives on the island whom conveniently all live in huts surrounding them. Denmar said “I’m not rich, I don’t have a lot, but I am so happy. This island is my family and we take care of each other. We are happy and that makes us rich.”  This really stuck with Kitty and Santa. How amazing to meet people who truly appreciate every aspect of their life without the need of materialistic items. People work their entire lives in hopes to retire to an island like this when in reality it would only cost them $5.00 a day to just do it (give or take). Kitty and Santa want to urge all of you reading this that there is no better time in life than NOW. Money means nothing in the end. Do only what you love. Enjoy the amazing life you were granted, the beautiful places in this world and all the bright souls you might meet along the way…because there are SOO many of them out there. Kitty and Santa were feeling truly happy and blessed. 

When they were done sleeping on the beach they went back to where Ramos had said he would meet them. He was there waiting but it was only him and his motorcycle. Confused Kitty and Santa asked where his cousin was. Ramos told them he had to do something so he would be taking them back. Still confused Kitty and Santa both said “On your motorcycle?” Ramos also looked confused “Yes, lets go.” Santa got on and then Kitty did too. They had become those people they were always laughing at riding 3 deep on a motorcycle. They felt very odd about the situation until they pulled up next to a family of 5 and a baby on 1 motorcycle. Then it wasn’t so bad. (to our mom’s: please know these island roads move VERY slow or Kitty and Santa would have never agreed to get on). They safely arrived back to their beach for sunset.

As they strolled back to their favorite beach bar, Nigi Nigi Nu Noos, Ramos offered to take them out the next day on his boat. He told Kitty and Santa he would take them snorkeling and to a some private islands where he could cook them his famous Philippine BBQ chicken. Sounded like a dream come true, Kitty and Santa kindly accepted the invitation!

Even though Kitty and Santa had been hanging around these guys for the past few days they still took the necessary precautions before heading to sea with their friends. That night at the bar Santa told just about every person she met to remember her face incase they saw her on the news in the days comming. She told them a detailed description of Ramos and Denmar and where exactly they like to hang out and every bit of information they told her. When Santa got home she wrote an email titled “IF I GO MISSING, READ THIS”  and sent it to herself and Kitty just in case. Santa was sure the FBI would check her e-mail if something happened. She also wrote a note and left it on her bed for housekeeping. Its safe to say that Santa and Kitty have watched one too many ‘I survived’ / 48 hour murder mystery shows. They weren’t going to be the girls that go missing on an island without a trace. They left clues hidden EVERYWHERE.

Turns out Denmar, Ramos and  a few of their cousins that joined them were really just amazing people. They didn’t want to harm or kill Kitty and Santa, they just wanted to cook them chicken and ask them questions about their life back in the states. The day at sea couldn’t have been more of an amazing experience thanks to the amazing Filipino hospitality and culture!

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Where we enjoyed lunch and a few bottles of rum :  )

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Saying goodbye to the boat and our friends

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❤ Peace, love & freedom to all of you on this journey we call life. ❤

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“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” 
― Oprah Winfrey

VIVA Las ‘Graduation Day’ Vegas

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When kitty and Santa started their jobs at VIVA English Academy they were confused as to why this Korean school would use the word VIVA, a spanish word, to describe their English kindergarten. Perhaps they were aware of the popular phrase that Kitty and Santa had come to love over the years “Viva Las Vegas”. Well, 6 months into their jobs and Kitty and Santa finally came to realize that VIVA Las Vegas was a large inspiration for the school.

Graduation day. A day in the USA that parents and grandparents love. Families come together to celebrate and honor loved ones for their wonderful accomplishments. Middle school, high school, college and even kindergartens hold this special day so when Kitty and Santa heard that they would be hosting 2 days of graduations they were excited and proud to watch their baby geniuses walk on stage and get their diplomas.

Side note: In most Korean private schools the school year ends around February 25th. Korean children then take a holiday that lasts 1 to 2 days. Yes, we said days. Not a summer, not weeks, not months. The children got a good extra 48 hours tact onto their weekend before they resumed classes the following Monday. Just another reason Kitty and Santa appreciate a good ol’ American summer.

They found out a few months prior that their classes would be doing a full play on stage in front of parents along with some English speeches. They worked hard everyday preparing materials with their kids. The Korean co-teachers would drill the children for their lines, correcting the 6 and 7 year olds posture and making sure every high note was hit during dance rehearsals for row, row, row your boat. Kitty and Santa praised each child for their efforts but feared the co-teachers high volumes of stress as they darted around the room beating the desks with a wooden sticks to the tempo of each movement. They scolded the kids and even Kitty and Santa in Korean, instructing everyone to try harder and give more to their performances.

The day finally came. Kitty and Santa watched as their littles one, dressed in caps and gowns, were awarded their certificate of graduation. This ceremony was met with a long Korean speech from a woman people only know as ‘the General’. The General is the cute little old lady who owns the school and is incredibly feared by all. Next was the Korean national anthem and then the kids would be up to do their plays and speeches. Kitty and Santa followed their classes downstairs for what they thought would be a last minute prep before the kids were back on stage.

As soon as they entered the class room children started ripping their clothes off and the co-teachers ran in circles screaming commands in Korean. Kitty and Santa stood pressed up against the classroom wall trying hard not to get hit by a flying shoe. They slowly began to realize that this graduation day was not going to be like the 25 minutes of cuteness and photo ops like the ones back home. This was going to be a full on VIVA Las Vegas performance. A show with verity and color and 15 costume changes. A show that would put Celion Dion to shame and make Circus de Soleil look do-able by a group of 6 and 7 year olds. This was no ordinary show – this was a Korean VIVA Las Vegas English graduation ceremony.

They stood in shock as the co-teachers dressed the children in flashy bright outfits and taped microphones to their faces. Santa eyes grew big as she saw some of her boys dressed in fairy dresses and belly shirts, it was a very proud and confusing moment for her. “This is what the kids were going to be wearing for the little red riding hood play? A little much, don’t you think Kitty?” asked Santa. Kitty stared in disbelief. A co-teacher ran past them and Kitty got her attention “Teacher, time for play now?” she asked. The co-teacher looked at her in shock “No teacher. Time for DANCE.”

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Kitty and Santa went back upstairs to try to understand the entertainment selection while waiting for their turn to go to the stage with their class. They had spent everyday for the past 2 months rehearsing for what now appeared to be a tiny portion of this production. When did these kids have time to learn all of these dances? Within this 3 hours they witnessed their little ones spin around the stage in a ballet recitale. A hip hop dance off. They rang cow bells to twinkle twinkle little star. Played the chelo like Pablo Casals. Pounded on cajon box drums like professional street artists. Dressed like swedish goat farmers in a swiss bell recitale. Danced around stage with African drums. Performed a full English play. Blew out some whimsical music from their recorders. Gave English speeches on lemons, Santa Clause, science, how to make a delicious Spam sandwich and much much more. Kitty and Santa were exhausted after 2 days of watching these shows so they couldn’t imagine how the children felt. The little ones walked away from VIVA with so much more than an English education….we hope to see them again one day…. strolling around the Las Vegas Blvd.

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