This past Thursday was International Women's Day. I didn't know about this holiday before moving overseas, and when Brandon found out that I got two holidays, he was a little irritated. "You're going to have to choose," he humphed at me on year, "either Women's Day, or Mother's Day. Not both.
IWD (which we will now call it to save my fingers) is a really great holiday because it's almost never on a Sunday. I've always done a little grumping of my own about Mother's Day being on a Sunday. I can't quite call it a holiday when I have to get children ready for church, attend church, feed the children again, and then keep everyone from killing each other the rest of the day. Theoretically I could insist my kind, loving husband do all those things on his own (and he would!), but it's not a holiday when you leave your spouse hanging so you can pry a little 'holiday' time for yourself. It just doesn't work very well.
Brandon always gets work off for IWD because it's a big deal in this part of the world. Wednesday afternoon the flower stands were doing a very brisk business and our local grocery store even had a selection of carefully wrapped roses for all the men to take to all the women in their lives - mothers, sisters, grandmothers, cousins, teachers, and whoever else has two X chromosomes. Brandon was expected to bring in flowers for all of his female FSNs (which he didn't because, time).
In years past we've done about nothing for IWD, treating it as a family holiday, but this year I decided to treat myself. I got together a few friends and we decided to go and enjoy our holiday at the Hyatt spa. Because IWD is the very best excuse ever to ditch your husband for the day and go pamper yourself. What husband can complain? The only thing that comes close is a birthday.
I've not had much experience with spas because in the US, spas = lots of money. But here in Dushanbe, you can get an hour-long massage for twenty-three dollars. I felt a little like I was back in high school (but with a lot more money) as I gathered with my friends and we all giggled in the dressing room while changing and talking about plastic surgery and gossiping. After changing, the spa ladies came and brought us back to the rooms and we all pretended that we are high class people who do this all the time.
I got a facial, which I'd never done, and decided that massages are better. I suppose that I can chalk all sorts of odd preferences up to my time in the foreign service - facials vs. massages, Turkish vs. Emirates, Azeri naan vs. Tajik naan.
Afterwards, all glowingly beautiful or serenely relaxed, we went to lunch. Because two hours at the spa aren't enough for IWD - lunch is an essential part. We all had a great time and probably annoyed the waiters to no end with our so very American loudness. But what's the fun with girlfriends if you can't laugh at each others' stories?
I'm very sad that we all will be somewhere else for the next International Women's Day, literally scattered across the globe. But I am grateful for wonderful friends who will make the sacrifice and join me in a day of pampering!