January: Bubbles and Snowflakes

January is long gone, but we had a couple first-time-ever experiences that need some blog exposure, so I hope you'll enjoy the social hilarity and the natural beauty documented in the two following features:

1. Bubble Soccer

Question: Has anyone out there ever been to a speed networking event? You know the ones - where you take a stack of business cards to a local watering hole, and you rotate around the room at the sound of the bell, giving your "elevator speech" about two dozen times, hoping for just one business lead to make it all worth it, secretly wishing for it to just be over. (Or was that just me?) I remember going to these in the early days of my career, and all I wanted was to locate a colleague, moan about busy season for a little bit, and go on my way. Sorry folks, but forced networking is the worst.

Next question: Have you ever been to a bubble soccer networking event?


You're missing out.

I can honestly say that I had no idea what this form of recreation was until Nate saw a feature on social media and was basically falling off his chair in laughter. Naturally, he wanted to experience this activity first hand, but despite searching high and low on this small island, there were no bubble soccer leagues to be found. So he decided to import a whole bunch of adult-sized blow-up balls for a corporate networking event.

These contraptions turn everyone into a "bubble boy", making physical "contact" with other players not only harmless but also downright hilarious. Take a look at my video review of the evening:

Great stuff, right?! Hats off to Nate for importing, organizing, and running arguably the most hilarious networking event this island has ever seen. Leave your starched shirts and ties at home; laughing your way through a business introduction is way more effective.

2. Snowboarding in the Alps

Maybe this is going to reveal just how American I am, but I never really dreamed that I would go on a ski trip in the Alps one day. We grew up skiing and snowboarding on a tiny little ski slope in central PA, and the most aggressive hills I'd ever experienced were in the Poconos. Nate's been out to Colorado a couple times, and I'd just love to visit Utah in the winter, but the Alps? That just sounded too fancy.

But then our fancy (read: non-American) friends starting to scheme up an idea that would pair up a bunch of old ski buddies with new Cayman pals to collectively descend upon a ski chalet in St. Anton, Austria. Nothing could stop these former BUSC organizers from recreating scenes and experiences from university days, and before long, we were along for the wild, wintery ride.

I have two main observations worth sharing:

1. Lessons are underrated.

This statement holds true for skiers and snowboarders at all levels, and with my lack of experience and major hiatus from snow sports (I live in the Caribbean, for crying out loud!), my one day of group lessons was incredibly helpful and only left me wanting more. If and when there is a "next time", lessons will be the first thing I spend money on.

2. If you want picturesque European winter scenery, go straight to St. Anton.

I didn't take my DSLR on the slopes, but the photos in the village satisfied my need to document the snowy beauty.

Our chalet was on one end of town, and I would frequently finish my last run of the day at the other end of the village, opting out of a shuttle ride in favor of a quiet, snowy walk through St. Anton. I actually turned down a free tax ride one day for this:

And just so you have an idea of how absolutely excellent the conditions and views were on the mountain, please see the following iPhone photos, straight from the Austrian Alps:

After everyone came in off the slopes, the real ski holiday bonding began.

Like Australia Day at the Krazy Kanguruh.

This is the Dancing-on-Tables edition.

Also: Kelly's chiro services.

If you want an all-in-one recap, I suggest you watch Maya's excellent video montage for more complete coverage of this trip:

Did you see that marshmallow world?! Talk about perfect winter conditions - we couldn't have asked for better. But a week of bitter cold left me longing for our Caribbean island. I was glad to get back to views like this on my way home from work:

iPhone 5 // no edit

Summer weather all winter long? Now that's an experience I can cope with every day.


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