My assignment was in September, and on the 11th the company management held a commemorative ceremony in the president’s office for me and my fellow US volunteer. It was thoughtful and touching. So was the going-away party they threw for us on our last day.
I also discovered what a party really is. I thought I learned that in college, but no. We were graciously invited to the wedding of a daughter of one of the corporate officers. Fortunately, it was held on the compound where we stayed, because the wedding lasted an entire weekend. No kidding.
The festivities began on Friday night and lasted into the wee hours. The following morning around 9AM I heard banging on my door. I opened it to find three cross-dressed dudes in tight dresses, wigs, and balloon boobs shouting in Russian. They dragged me to the entrance of the wedding hall, where I was made to take a shot of vodka with a wedge of tomato, put into a blanket and swung side to side hammock-style, and then released to join the festivities, nauseous. The wedding consisted of rituals and tributes and games throughout Saturday, Saturday night, and again on Sunday. The vodka flowed. The food was endless. It was epic.
We in the rest of the world are just party rookies.