I don’t know the history of Halloween, so from the get go that might be an untrue title. Furthermore, the Most American of Holidays is probably Thanksgiving or the 4th of July. At any rate, Halloween isn’t celebrated here in Georgia and we decided to stage our own Halloween festivities in Zugdidi.
Zugdidi is a very small city, and kind of out of the way. It’s rather close to the border with Abkhazia–the break-away region that, with the help of Russian forces in 2008, successfully declared independence (It’s now occupied by the Russian army and pretends to exercise sovereignty)–but it’s a nice city if you can get to it! For me, it takes about six hours on a marshrutka to travel all the way to Zugdidi. This is a burden that I certainly bear happily as any trip to Zugdidi means quality time with some of my favorites people!
After we killed a cow in a manner most suited to a Halloween celebration (bloodily), Marissa and I arrived back in Zugdidi in the pouring rain to help prepare for the party. Courtni, a lovely Second Grouper, had gone to great lengths to rent the Zugdidi movie theater and set it up for party time. Some of the Ozurgeti girls were there to lend a hand, as well.
Let me be clear, Marissa and I helped out, but Courtni and the others deserve full credit for acquiring the theater and a live DJ for the party. Courtni did so much work towards this party that I feel selfish and a bit guilty claiming even a smidge of responsibility for its success. In fact, let me be clearer, I really didn’t contribute much at all to setting up the party. Marissa and Courtni coordinated the whole thing via telephone and facebook and Courtni did all the leg work herself. I played chaperone in the middle of the night when people were really drunk and in need of assistance. That counts, right?
Joanne, Cristen, and Stephanie found their way to Marissa’s house where we all proceeded to put on our costumes. The girls had spent the better part of Friday afternoon hunting for the perfect windbreakers in the Zugdidi Marketplace and boy did they find them! I had been at a loss as far as what to dress as, but had packed some nice clothes and my Russian fur hat. A few more additions from the marketplace and I had a full on Russian Stereotype and/or Business-Casual KGB Officer going on.
Earlier in the day I tested out my AK-BBgun and it worked awesomely! Marissa can probably still find little orange pellets around her apartment if she looks hard enough! The party started at 7 so we headed over a bit early to help with final preparations. Marissa had the guestlist and a place to collect money and Stephanie and I went and bought three pizzas. Whenever I walked the streets of Zugdidi I left my hat and gun behind and tried to hide my medals behind my scarf. Overall it worked rather well, but I think the ladies at the pizza shop may have caught a glimpse of Lenin and Stalin on my chest. Whoops! When we returned, nearly everyone had arrived!
Personally, I thought the costumes were generally really great! Most people had gotten really creative with their outfits. Several people going for shock-factor had dressed as Hitler and the Twin Towers (Complete with jumpers!) and a few had gone the more adorable route as cats and , most memorably, Pig Quinn!
The evening also saw my first ever game of Beer Pong. It was an epic match up of me and Marissa vs. Ian and Cristen, a rivalry for the ages. Except that me and Marissa sucked. I had never played before and Marissa was, in her own words, “terrible.” Despite being terrible she managed to sink every one of our successful shots. We still lost, but it was an awesome loss!
So we left the table, mildly ashamed but exhilarated. I returned downstairs to the makeshift dancefloor to carry on with my evening. I had played beer pong and even had a chance to “Zamboni!” so I really couldn’t complain.
The dance floor was a shitshow of awesomeness. Everyone was in their costumes rocking out to some awesome tunes. The DJ was pretty good, but kind of a controlling jerk when it came to requests. We had compiled several playlists worth of music that we wanted to hear. He had his own mixer and such and would frequently dishonor or override our requests, which was kind of frustrating.
For example, we wanted to hear some Boney M. I politely asked him to play us some and he said yes. Fifteen minutes later he had not played it. So he said, “Fine, here, you can plug in this other laptop (Courtni’s) and play it yourself,” and he stalked off. I got it set up and played through maybe a song and a half when the music suddenly died. I looked over and saw him plugging his own music back in. I wanted to be like, “Dude, we’re paying you. This is not your party.” but it wasn’t a big enough deal to cause a scene over. Also, Pauli had gotten a decent shot of Boney M. by this point anyway.
Marissa also had a fantastic time listening to Boney M. and began shedding costume pieces. In this case, she swapped Pauli her windbreaker with optional sleeves for his tie and glasses. Because I love them both so much, I’m posting two photos post-swap. (“Them” here refers not only to the two photos in question, but also to Pauli and Marissa!)
The dancefloor began to heat up, as the night wore on. Eventually it got so hot that Pauli had to take off his sleeves.
Movies started showing in the theater pretty late at night. We started with the Exorcist but the projectionist cut the movie off just as it was starting to get good! Regan had just been possessed and done the whole pee-on-the-carpet bit when he turned it off! What a jerk! He put on The Mist instead which, despite the fact that it takes place in my home state of Maine, sucked.
He found it.
So to wrap up the weekend without embarrassing anyone of the people who needed “chaperoning” away from the party in the middle of the night, look at these last two photos!