Monday, February 20, 2012

Thinking Outside of the Box

The attache world has its share of predictability and routine.  Each month we attend a ridiculous number of receptions.  The venues tend to be the same two or three Tirana hotels that have adequate space to hold large numbers of guests.  Regardless of the host country, the menu is predictably the same.  Albanian food rules with the more creative hosts attempting to infuse their own ethnic food into the mix. (The only country where this seems to really work is Italy).  National drinks are always on the menu but then again, with the exception of Italy, to me they all taste suspiciously like raki.

One of our standing monthly events is a cultural event hosted a different member of the attache corp posted here in Tirana.  Prior to our arrival in Albania, we were assigned the month of January. January in Albania is not a pleasant time with a plentiful amount of gray skies and rain.  The weather is definitely  not conducive to hosting outdoor events.  Even when the weather is nice, the usual venue for these cultural events is a restaurant or event space that resembles the numerous receptions we already attend.  Glenn and I were determined not to host such a typical event but we had a hard time coming up with something that was both inside and American-themed.

Now most of the entertaining Glenn and I have done so far has been very formal so we decided to go in the opposite direction for our cultural event. After putting much thought into it and getting some discouraging comments from both Albanians and Americans alike, we decided to host an American themed bowling night. We rented a local bowling alley and had American finger foods (or as close as they can get here in Albania), American music, and all the bowling you wanted. 

I too was a bit skeptical at first but caved to my persuasive husband (who happened to own his own bowling ball when we first met).  I am happy to say that the event exceeded my expectations.  In fact, it was such a success that we had every attache, their assistants, and families participating. Everyone had a blast and people immediately began asking when we could it again. Best of all, people really started mingling and talking and I saw a whole new side of people. After all, its hard to be serious when you are wearing rented shoes! I don't think I'll be able to look at some of these generals the same way again.....

We've decided that our next traditional, American-style event will be a Fourth of July pool party.  Our one caveat is that speedos must be left at home.

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