Last Saturday I hosted my very first embassy party. Dushanbe is a small enough embassy that pretty much every party is an open invitation party, which is something that I really enjoy. Everybody is in the cool crowd because there aren't enough people to support two different crowds.
I lured guests with the promise of home made doughnuts, cider, and hot chocolate. Maybe this wouldn't have worked in a country where those things are plentiful, but it works pretty well here. You don't have to like me to like my doughnuts.
I had a fun time decorating the house, perusing the internet for weeks looking for anything that could be pulled together from local ingredients. A few days before the party, I struck gold at a store that resells Ikea products and was able to find both red Christmas ornaments and votive candle holders.
The morning of the party we took a quick trip to the local park and... pruned... the local evergreens and took the prunings home to decorate the house.
Everyone finished off four and a half of the six dozen doughnuts I had made and drank a gallon and a half each of cider and hot chocolate before we settled down to get some caroling done.
Some of the songs went well, some better, and some just really, really long. But all of the them were enjoyed and sung with gusto.
One of my favorite, favorite parts of the Foreign Service is being part of a strong, close community of people that I come to know and love. We gather for birthday parties and barbecues, by the pool and around the Christmas tree. We all know that in a few years the friends we sung all the verses of "We Three Kings of Orient Are" will be scattered across the world, never able to gather together again for a reprise. But when we are together, we are family.