Well, Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye. You know, we don't really celebrate here like I know how to celebrate Christmas. We have a tiny little tree, that's about a foot and a half tall, that I put on the coffee table. And the wreath on the inside of the door. And aside from that, nothing much else happens in this apartment. We have a little breakfast of panatone and tea or cocoa and then we spend the day preparing for the really big day, the 26th, which is O's birthday.
Last year, O's birthday party was my first try at a party in our home. It was also my last try. I hated it. People came with piles of uninvited guests (oh, my wife's whole family is in town so I brought them along, you don't mind, do you?), strangers took the opportunity to crash the party, nearly all of them got roaring drunk and broke everything they touched, and well...the bathroom ended up smelling like the very worst pig pen you've ever had the misfortune of passing by. And when the food ran out, they took over the kitchen and rifled through the cupboards to eat whatever wasn't made of glass or plastic...cardboard appeared to be fine, though. They all sang and drank and played the music as loud as possible until about 6 am, when they finally puked on the floor and the sofa and shuffled out the door. Those who had passed out finally came to and crawled away. I guess I can understand that people want to relax after a long work week, but cripes, they're like a bunch of 40-year-old teenagers who never got over being fascinated with the idea of getting wasted.
I view it as a basic lack of respect for the home owner and themselves. I have learned my lesson and made it clear that we aren't doing that anymore. This is my home, not a place that's available to for anyone to tear up nor is it a flop house for the seriously stupified. When people drop to talk to O, I offer the obligatory cookies and tea or soda, but what they really want is an afternoon of beer after beer after beer, so the visit is never a long one.
Anyway, this year, we decided to celebrate his birthday at the Chinese restaurant down the street. We got a couple of big long tables and enough Chinese food for 25 people and four 2-liter bottles of wine to split between us all and that was it. If they wanted to get drunk (and of course they did), the guests had to buy their own alcohol. But there was no sofa to fall on, no control over the music, and if someone broke the dishes, they had to pay for them. So the party went very smoothly. We had no stress over anything getting trashed and the whole event started at 2 pm, ended at 10:30 pm, and we went home to a quiet apartment and played with Celeste.
I'm sure it wasn't the biggest splash for the guests - they only got a good meal and a glass or two of wine with dinner, all the 7-Up they could drink, and music to dance to, but not loud enough to blow the eardrums out - since it ended so early by Peruvian party standards (someone asked if this was how birthday parties are in the US), but I consider it a major success for me. The two of us had a great time and still were able to enjoy the next day.