중앙데일리

Expats celebrate birthdays in style

‘As long as I have friends around me on my birthday, it’s O.K.’

June 18,2008
Expats celebrate birthdays at a masquerade ball last Saturday at Oi Bar in Hongdae, western Seoul. From left: Scott Oyonnor, Natasha Kenyon-Blair and Charlotte Baikie. By Moon Gwang-lip
For most Koreans, birthdays are a day they want others to remember. They feel sad if nobody remembers to celebrate it with them.

It is the same for many Westerners, but they tend to do more organizing of their own birthday parties. In order to help friends remember the day, they try to make it special and memorable.

That’s what Josephine Natasha Kenyon-Blair and Charlotte Baikie did last Saturday.

The two expat women hosted a masquerade ball at Oi Bar in Hongdae, western Seoul, to celebrate their birthdays together.

Around 60 of their friends were on hand, many of them behind masks, to congratulate the pair.

Kenyon-Blair, from England, turns 24 today, two days after Baikie, a Canadian, who turned 30 on Monday.

Kenyon-Blair said she always tries to celebrate her birthday in unique ways. Last year, she invited friends to Itaewon for a dance party.

“You never know when you are going to have your last birthday party,” said Kenyon-Blair. “You always have to make it special.”

She looked for creative ways to celebrate this year and stumbled upon the idea three months ago.

“I moved house in March and saw masks in my room. I asked myself, ‘why would I ever need masks?’” she said. “Then it struck me that I could have a masquerade party for my birthday.”

She then talked over the idea with her friend Baikie, who was all for it.

The always sociable Baikie just happened to be searching for a way to party with her friends to mark her own birthday.

She hosted a birthday party last year at her home in Haebangchon, near Itaewon, but was kicked out of the apartment the next day by the Korean owner.

To prevent this situation from happening again, Baikie recommended they find a public place as a party venue. It was Kenyon-Blair who found the Oi Bar.

Baikie, a member of the Seoul Sisters Rugby Club, a popular expat group, helped her organize the party and invite people.

The main promotional effort for the party was through the online networking Web site Facebook.

David Bedrossian, 29, from Montreal, Canada, was one of the masked guests who stood out most. He wore a monster-faced hockey-goalkeeper mask.

“I knew people would just buy simple masks,” said Bedrossian.

He said he made the mask himself in just 15 minutes.

The only materials needed to spice up the hockey mask were plaster, wire and tape, purchased cheaply at Namdaemun market.

“I am a very comic teacher during the week and an aggressive goalie on the weekend,” he said, chuckling.

Scott Oyonnor, from New Zealand, was also a birthday boy. He had his birthday recently and Kenyon-Blair and Baikie invited him to join them in celebrating their birthdays.

Birthdays celebrated far from home and family might not sound like the best way to celebrate the day for some expats, but Oyonnor said he really enjoyed this particular birthday party.

“As long as I have my friends around me on my birthday, it’s O.K.,” he said.

The masquerade ball certainly seemed to inspire some of the guests.

Samantha Jenkins, from Washington State in the United States, said she wants to host a pirate-themed costume party for her next birthday in March next year.

She said celebrating her birthday in a creative and exciting way is primarily to have fun, but it also helps people to remember you on your birthday.

“It is your day,” she added. “You need to make everyone remember it’s your day.”


By Moon Gwang-lip Staff Reporter [joe@joongang.co.kr]


dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장