Monday, October 29, 2012

Just your average Saturday

It was just your average Saturday:

  • going to the eye glass store, finding out you're going partially blind from the cold and low-light conditions of your new place of living, then picking out sweet new frames.
  • eating at a Mexican restaurant (in Helsinki, Finland, of all places) and getting nostalgic about foods you've missed, but at least feeling full for the first time in months.
  • drinking chai at a new restaurant opened by two fellow countrywomen while noshing on cupcakes from an adorable cupcake store.
Later that same average Saturday, I had a birthday party to attend. It was our friend's, Chinese Canadian E's, birthday this past week.

Now, Chinese Canadian E is actually a very special person. For a lot of reasons. Let me outline the ways this person is...unique:

  • Despite moving back to Helsinki for the first time in years (he'd been living in Tampere, Finland for the past several years), he's actually been in his apartment for less than a month (cumulatively) for the four months that he's been renting it.
  • He actually lives in a hotel room in Copenhagen 5 days of the week.
  • His company pays for half his rent and all of his Copenhagen hotel.
  • He gets a per diem on top of his salary (which is quite high, I understand).
  • He gets a transportation allowance every month that he needs to stay under in order to get a 150% bonus at the end of the year (yes, that's right, 150% bonus).
  • Something like 75% of his salary and expenses are completely tax-free.
  • He has a level of security at the Canadian border that rivals some seats of the government and possibly secret agents (that's actually not a lie).
  • He apparently has a skill that was so valuable and unique that the clients his company is doing business with refused to sign the contract unless he specifically was on the job.
  • Even though he's Canadian (and not European), they waited several months to get the visas in order to make sure he could actually do said job (many companies are not willing to stall a job in order to do this...and they still paid him in the meantime).
  • Despite the fact that he's Chinese, he actually doesn't know how to use chopsticks and has never eaten dim sum (this fact was the one that actually stunned me).
  • He has had two potential career paths in his life - what he does now, or professional hockey player. After losing almost half of his face and half of his teeth in a game and needing reconstructive surgery (several times), he decided to go with what he does now (something something computer genius).
  • He parties with rockstars when he's in Copenhagen. Every week. Several times a week.
  • Strangely, I've only known this guy as a sort of dorky guy who wears suits all the time who gets drunk a lot and talks about hitting on women all the time.
Anyway, it was his birthday. So we were going to celebrate.

What did he bring to his own birthday party at his (basically empty) bachelor pad apartment?

Champagne, of course.

But not just any champagne.

Because he goes through Copenhagen's duty-free at least once a week on his way back to Helsinki (where he stays the weekends), he decided he would just spend the money and buy himself...

vintage Cristal.

Just because.

So, we had vintage Cristal.


A bottle from 2005. It was wrapped in its own golden box.

Needless to say, it was more than enjoyable. I don't even have words to describe what it tasted like. Diamonds in the glass? Fantastic?

The one thing I will say: after we were finished with the bottle (which, at duty-free, costed somewhere around 200euros), we decided to pop open his second bottle of champagne, which was a Moët & Chandon.

Very classy stuff also, all things said and done.

But we all tasted it...and for the first time ever in my life...it didn't taste that good. Moët & Chandon...tasting...cheap? Is that possible?! Apparently it is. When you've had it right after vintage Cristal.

Someone had brought a bottle of cava as part of the celebration and we all laughed about what that would taste like after the Moët & Chandon. We didn't bother opening it to find out. Instead we just theorized that whatever would happen next, we should keep this from slipping any further, and decided to go out. Different alcohols were consumed instead, none of us brave enough to buy skumppa for the rest of the night.

Like I said, just your average Saturday.

What a day. O_O

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