I can't remember the last time I had such good time at a Christmas party. If I did, it must have been years ago. I'm not a famous social animal, specifically a Christmas party. So I can honestly say that I did not quite expect the success of such a party at Andrew's on the 27th Dec 2010. Oh what a party!
It wasn't really a big crowd—merely some of us mostly runners who call ourselves The Nascar Runners. For a short while, we separated our groups into the F1 and Nascar Runners, referring to the varying speeds. But somehow, the reference to F1 died off soon after!
Among those present that night were Andrew and his family, Diong and his wife, Mia, JJ and her friend, and I, Dr Helen and Reed, Teo and his wife and daughter, Dr Liaw, wife and son, Judy, Dr Peter, Felice and her two kids. But the noises we made that night were amazing—and here, I think I contributed quite a lot from my loud laughters!
Some of us arrived earlier for some pre-dinner drinks; which was quite a piece of luck as we were still well-behaved to take this group photo in full Nascar uniform! Unfortunately, Helen and Reed, and Felice and her kids were late and missed this group photo session.
If there was anything lacking that night, food was certainly not it! This thing about potluck dinner can be quite a challenge in that there's that temptation to try every single dish. But alas, there is only so much space in the stomach! And talk about the unhealthy food! Thankfully, however, there were doctors around, all of whom approved the variety of dishes. According to Dr Liaw, it's his professional opinion that it's OK to consume all the high-cholesterol food because we're all runners. Dr Peter had a slightly different opinion—he encouraged us all to eat all those stuff so that he will continue to have business! Some doctors are not quite right up there, I swear!
We were all waiting for Felice, but as she was running a bit late, we decided to start without her. But not before the highlight of the night—the lobster-serving ritual between me and Peter. We have almost a kind of contractual obligation to entertain the rest in our group, you see. The last time the same ritual took place, Peter was on one of his knees when serving the prized lobster to me. So now that it's my turn to return the favour, I went down on both knees.
At this juncture, however, Andrew asked me a brutal question.
He said, "Where do you normally buy your lobster?"
That question was more painful than a bullet wound. It absolutely devastated my pride!
I said, "What do you mean, 'normally'? This is the first time I lost to Peter! And I have no intention to make it a 'normal' thing!"
But serving the lobster alone didn't quite cut it. I had to actually feed a piece of the dish to Peter too. After all, it was a hard-earned prize. Prior to the marathon, Peter ran at least a month's worth of 35km long runs every Sunday without fail. And the month before that he did 30km every Sunday. The rest of us who were also training for the Penang Marathon then could only watch Peter in horror.
Immediately after the lobster serving and feeding ritual, all of us helped ourselves to dinner. And here it was something akin to going shopping in a huge mall. There were too many choices and I found myself having a bit of trouble choosing which one to eat! A bit of lamb, a bit of turkey, mixed vegetables, salad, sausages, potatoes. Oh there were so many choices, I tell you! I was kinda worried if this would derail my plan to shed a few kgs before the Hong Kong Marathon. But I took comfort knowing that Andrew, who's also going to Hong Kong, had been indulging in carbo-loading sessions since a few weeks before. Perhaps Andrew would care to enlighten us all which training schedule he's adopting?
While we were all busy munching away, Felice and her kids arrived and then joined us at the dinner table. As soon as dinner was over, some of us gathered around Felice to listen to her account of what happened in Miri. Teo, Andrew and Felice cheated death in the 12ft waves that day in the Miri Sprint Triathlon, you see.
I don't know if the swimming style mattered at all then, but Teo actually made it all the way to the buoy and came back to shore without drowning himself. Andrew, I think, turned back just a little distance before the buoy. But Felice couldn't even overcome the waves. In the end, the marshals on jetski had to come for the rescue. Unfortunately, as they were nearing Felice, there was a strong push of the wave, resulting in the jetski hitting Felice on her head.
A traumatised Felice called it quits and reduced herself to the role of the Nascar photographer. Teo and Andrew, however, went on to finish the race, each ending up with top 10 positions in their respective categories. Of the number of participants, don't ask me how many. That is not really important!
As Felice was just about to finish her story, suddenly Andrew emerged from nowhere holding a huge square object in gift wrappings. He gave it to Teo who acted the surprised recipient just a tad too well. He tore open the wrappings and then all of us crowded around to see a proud Teo with the Miri Sprint Triathlon's certificate, medal, photos, and even the RM100 prize money he won! Believe it, folks, sometimes kiasu-ness can be very rewarding!
As a side issue, one of the photos in that frame was that of Teo at the transition area. I think it was the transition from the biking leg to the running leg of the race. We all agreed that that was a priceless shot—one that is convincing for the transition in an ironman race! Apparently, Teo was so pumped up when he arrived at the transition area, changed his shoes, grabbed his bottled water and very quickly rushed out for the running leg. Only that he forgot all about his cap and fuel belt in the process. And then of course after he was a few metres beyond the big crowd, he slowed down to a realistic pace. We have quite a number of comedians in our Nascar group, you know.
And then Andrew, too, had his own wrapped up present from under the Christmas tree. And yet another framed up Miri memorabilia similar to Teo's. As Andrew was posing for the photograpers, Diong asked a question which could have made me faint with laughter.
He asked with bright eyes, "Did they present you with those framed up prizes?"
He said if they did, he would want to join the Miri Sprint Triathlon too next year.
Well, no, Diong, get real, they most certainly won't frame it all up for you like that!
There was yet another present under the Christmas tree, but this one was substantially smaller in size. This Andrew gave to Felice. And immediately after unwrapping the present, Felice threw her head back in a roar of laughter. It was a nicely framed up photos of her during the event. Although she did not actually conquer her first ever Sprint Triathlon, it's obvious that she had a swell time there. Come on Felice, I know you're itching to make a second attempt—admit it, admit it!
Judy, too, unveiled her Kiulu 4M Challenge certificate. She got 4th in her category, but again, don't ask me how many participants in her category!
Well, there isn't much more to tell. It was just about 10:30pm when I left the party. I couldn't stay too late as I had to send JJ's friend home. The rest, however, stayed on a little while longer. And Reed decided perhaps no need to bother with the fancy wine glasses.
Truly, it was an awesome Christmas party which surpassed my expectation beyond words! Thank you to Andrew and Carol for organising the party. And thanks to all the rest for making this such a successful party!
Now let's hope that if there is another one, it will be Peter's turn to serve me the lobster!