Well, St. Patrick's Day is a pretty big thing over here, as everyone with a smidgen of Irish ancestry (and plenty of people without) suddenly discover their roots and use it as an excuse to dress up and drink lots of green beer. So we came back from a night on the town watching a Storm Trooper swill Guinness and guys in kilts wear silly hats and thought, "Hey! Why should the Irish have all the fun?" So off we went to buy some silly hats... oh no, sorry, wrong story! So we decided to throw a St. George's Day party.
First things first: the food. Can't have a party without food. The advantage of living in a foreign country is that your average English foods are greeted as exotic rarities. The disadvantage is that you can't just go to the supermarket and bulk-buy sausage rolls. You have to start a sausage roll production line. Sausage roll making is actually pretty fun!
Ditto for the scones, flapjack, coronation chicken and cheese twists. We did manage to track down some British biscuits in an Indian food shop, though, including some dodgy bourbon rip-offs. The flapjack was the clear winner in taste tests - everyone was raving about it.
We'd rashly promised "dragon's blood punch" to drink, not having any idea how to make such a concoction. The ever-helpful internet came up trumps, as usual. The resulting mixture of cranberry juice, apple juice and ginger ale (and vodka for the alcohol crowd) tasted good but had a tendency to stain everything pink. We were rather concerned for our cream carpets but such a disaster never occurred.
Of course, no St. George's Day party is complete without vast quantities of English flags. A friend kindly gave us a huge one which made a great focal point, and we stuck up a few strings of small ones. Some quotes and English-themed pictures completed the look.
It's a good feeling when you know enough people to actually consider throwing a party. The process of making friends in a new place is a slow and sometimes frustrating one. You meet people. They say they'd love to get to know you. You have dinner together once and never see them again. You meet more people. One or two introduce you to their friends. You go to a party with them all and promptly forget all their names. It feels like one step forwards, two steps back, but one day you realise you have, if not quite bosom buddies, at least enough friendly acquaintances to throw a party without complete embarrassment.
We were happy to welcome about 20 people, which was a good fit for our moderately-sized apartment. Most were either from church or Graham's work, plus a few we knew from other places. It was a good mix of people and everyone seemed to have fun. We certainly did! Of course once it all kicked off we entirely forgot to take photos, but I'm sure you can imagine. Just think of the best party you've ever been to, then double it! Stay tuned for next year...