I'm on the Residents' Association at my hall, which is called Opal Gardens. It's a great hall, with a common room and friendly security guards and really great people. It's mostly postgrad, so we don't get too much craziness going on. Just enough.
Last night, the RA organised a Halloween party. A little get-dressed-up and come-to-the-common-room sort of do. I volunteered to help out behind the bar on the night, since I hadn't been able to help plan the party. My program is a little intense.
But the people who did plan the party did an amazing job. They decorated, they advertised, they bought food and all kinds of fun stuff. They got a DJ, a really good one, who lives in Opal anyway to do the music. Excellent stuff, all Thriller and Billy Jean and Ghostbusters.
The common room looked amazing!
And the turnout was fabulous. Loads of people came out.
On the right below, my flatmate Despoina (pronounced DHES-pin-ah). And her friend Fani is on the left, though I reckon Fani might be my friend, too. They're both Greek–in fact, there are so many Greeks at Opal Gardens, Craig said we should rename it "Opa! Gardens." The Greeks seem to like that joke. They were both Gothic vampires. Despoina has been a lovely flatmate, all around. I could not have gotten luckier.
My friend John clearly put lots of time and effort into his costume. Well, but I can't judge, really– I couldn't be bothered to do more than put on a cute dress.
This is Ryan, my walking tour and general other stuff friend I've mentioned before. He doesn't actually seem to have a Superman complex. Or I don't think he does. But together, I think we are kind of geniuses. Both of us drink soymilk, and we both noticed that we don't drink the litre quickly enough to finish before it goes bad-- so we started a very small-scale soymilk co-op. The two of us buy soymilk in the bulk quantity of 1 L together, and then we split it in half for the week. Brilliant.
Shortly after taking this picture, the folks at the bar said they needed my help to serve customers. So I ran over to the bar, only to find Keshav standing with his hands in his pockets and no customers waiting.
And then I hear the singing behind me. I turn around.
And Despoina walks in with a chocolate cake and burning candles. The whole common room was looking at me and singing, so I almost withered and went invisible from embarrassment, but I was also extremely touched. Apparently, a lot of folks were in on the plan, and sweetly made sure it was a total surprise. Super kind, especially considering I hadn't been much help setting the party up.
But it was a great party anyway. As we were cleaning up afterward, we noticed someone had managed to lose a piece of the ping-pong table, so Josh, our RA chairman, improvised with a spoon. I'm considering putting this up on the There, I Fixed It blog.
This is the first time I've spent a birthday away from Craig in at least 8 years. During the day, I was studying and feeling a little sad that he wouldn't be around for my big 29-- that none of my long-time friends and family would. But the kindness and thoughtfulness of everyone here at Opal last night took away some of that sadness. It was a heart-warming experience. And as I was falling asleep after such a lovely evening, I thought that moments like these make me feel like a very lucky wanderer.
To have landed safely once again, sight unseen, in a place where I knew no one, and find that here, too, people are generous beyond what I might dared have hoped. Yes, very lucky, indeed.
Not least because I got to have chocolate cake for breakfast this morning. Thanks Opal Gardens people. You're wonderful.