Brrr…Is anyone else cold?! Maybe it’s just me, and the fact that it’s a whoppin’ 9 degrees farenheit (-13 celcius)!! I’ve been told the ‘real’ Russian winter has finally (FINALLY???) arrived! And both the temperature gauge and my chilled bones tell me they aren’t lying. So may I just say it agian quick…BRRRR!!!
Well, before all this cold air dropped in on Sunday, I got to start my weekend off with a little excitement. A unique experience. One I NEVER would have expected to find myself in. This experience fell in the form of an 11th birthday party. Now I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking ‘okay, I have kids. I’ve thrown 11th birthday parties before. What’s the big deal?’ Well let me just tell you…
The big deal is that this was my student’s 11th birthday party!
The big deal is that this birthday party cost more money than my wedding will EVER cost!
The big deal is that this birthday party involved Michael Jackson.
But it sure didn’t stop there. Let me take you back to the very beginning. If I was telling you this story, I’d have you close your eyes so you could picture it all, but since you’re reading, keep your eyes open, 😉
It all started Thursday at about 4:47 pm (13 minutes before I went home and called it a day!) I was informed that all students and teachers of our 5th grade class were invited to Vanya’s birthday party. It would take place Friday from 4:30-7:30 at an Italian Restaurant, and I was told it would be really good if I could go. Feeling I didn’t have much choice anyway, I said okay and was suddenly commited to a party that I never would have imagined.
So Friday comes around and at 3:00 (yes, 1.5 hrs earlier than I was told) I headed outside of the school with two of my co-teachers and the majority of our class. Guess what was waiting to escort us to the restaurant? None other than a couple of Mercedes-Benz buses. So we hopped in and started off. However, the drive was soon delayed for 15-20 minutes as traffic was stopped to wait for Vladimir Putin to drive by, escorted by about two dozen police cars. We continued on and it wasn’t long until we arrived at Bellagio, located in the Hollywood of Russia. We unloaded and I quickly realized the entire restaurant was rented out for Vanya’s party. We made our way into the first banquet room which was filled with appetizers, champagne, juice, face painters (of course I managed to be conned into getting one :-/), caricature artists, and other random entertainment. After about an hour or so, we moved into the main banquet room where we were welcomed by a large stage, and fine china spread on the tables. Us adults made our way to a table in the back corner to enjoy salad appetizers (note these were actually pre-appetizer appetizers) with crab legs, lobster, cheese, and fruit. In the meantime the kids played a dress up game which resulted in Hannah Montana, Lady Gaga, Barak Obama, and Michael Jackson. Before we knew it, a Michael Jackson impersonator was on stage bustin’ out some moves with MJ’s songs blasting through the speakers. I had to keep reminding myself that this was not real. Michael is no longer alive. And this was only the beginning of the party.
It continued with a string of entertainment which included nothing less than a gyspy band and dancers, a gigantic boa constrictor, a baby crocidile, some kind of hairy gerbil-like creature (but much larger) doing balance beam acts, and a break dance crew. The break dancers were a team which Vanya is a part of, so they did a few routines, one in which he was involved. In between the paid entertainment, Vanya’s friends performed their own talents of ballet, gymnastics, guitar, saxaphone playing, and singing. Oh, and let me not leave out that the kids enjoyed dancing the night away to a mix of American pop songs as well as Russia’s top hits.
While all this was going on, us adults were continually supplied with delicious food. Our main appetizer included a steak salad accompanied by eggplant covered in parmesan and marinara. Then the main dish came which there were actually about 10 options of various fish, beef, and lamb dishes. Since I didn’t know all the translations to understand exactly was would be on each plate, I simply requested for no fish. I was brought a large steak covered in a delicious pepper sauce with a side of rice. I would now like to inform you that I did not clean any of my plates yet, but was still becoming very full. But of course, it didn’t stop there. Before I knew it, our waiter was bringing us another clean set of silverware and clean plate. I realized they must be bringing dessert, and was wondering what kind of fancy shmancy dish it would be. Well, I soon found out…
The lights were dimmed. Dramatic symphony music was cranked up. And in rolled the birthday cake. The three-tiered cake with four flaming torches. I’m pretty sure I had about 60 emotions going on throughout this whole party–entertainment, excitement, humor, dumbfoundedness…just to name a few.
By the time the cake was cut, it was 8:00 pm and my co-teachers and I decided we needed to leave. We ended up getting a ride home from the driver of a different student, thankfully saving us from having to walk who knows how far to the nearest metro. However, our early leave caused us to miss out on the outdoor firework show that was scheduled to conclude Vanya’s 11th birthday party. Shame. On. Us. (ha ha)
Now, you may be wondering who this kid’s parents are to throw him a party like this. But since I want to keep you reading all day long, I’ll just give a brief run down.
Mother: TV and/or movie star. Absolutely beautiful, and a very nice lady. I enjoyed meeting her and visiting briefly.
Father: Owner of Moscow’s large and popular Gorky Park, and dating the ‘Russian Paris Hilton’.
Oh, and Vanya…well, he’s just the Jr. Division champion of the entire country of Russia in extreme water sports Jet Ski Racing. No big deal…