Now that Xmas (again, I do mean ex-mas, like in that Futurama episode) is over, I'm already sad it's gone.
After the giant gift grab (my boyfriend scored a new camera for traveling and a microfiber blanket, among other things, I scored a silver bracelet from said wonderful boyfriend and a new MP3 player, among other things. My sister got a Chinese-style shirt in cinnabar, natural fiber with hand-embroidered flowers and a jade pendant) we hung out for awhile, then began preparations for the Christmas bash.
I made an Iranian salad and my sister and I rolled the truffles from the batter I'd made last night. Then we all went to Geant for some last minute supplies - drinks, Pringles and a few extra plastic chairs and began chopping fruit and setting out other dishes (hummus, babaghanoush and Ethiopian fusion satay among them).
I'm afraid I have no photos - the party was so much fun that I truly forgot to take them.
It began with a few early-comers - our friends Sasha and Cara and one of Cara's friends. They helped us chop the bread and set out other food - and by 9pm had a party going of about fifteen - half expats and half locals. By ten we were at more than twenty, and numbers didn't start to dwindle until approximately 1am (those left at midnight figured they'd be taking taxis anyway, and a few people crashed on our floor). I made hot wine at 1am and the last of us chatted as we drank. By 2:30 the apartment was reasonably clean, with our friend Joseph helping out with the clean-up, and we collapsed into bed at 3.
All in all, it was a pretty classy affair - no wanton drunkenness or untoward behavior, but lots of merriment. We got one call from the landlady's niece about the noise, but any good apartment party gets one of those. Only one person collapsed in our bed, but it was someone we know well. We only found one stray pair of glasses this morning.
I noticed the manifestation of a true cultural divide - our Taiwanese friends left at about midnight ("I have work tomorrow") to get at least a snippet of sleep, whereas the expats stayed on until the wee hours ("Doesn't matter at this point anyhow") and just slogged through work exhausted and possibly hungover. Brendan and I were fortunate not to have class today and spent Boxing Day eating leftover hummus and Gouda's Gilde Siroopwafelen (caramel wafers available at Jason's) and generally schlubbing around the apartment.
All in all, a great party. Every expat should have one of these to go to. I've been lucky and had good Christmases every year I've been abroad (in China, I visited friends in Guangzhou for a family Christmas. In 2006 I went to Lishan with Cara and last year Brendan and I had a quiet day together and went to Red House Pub in the evening).