Having been the Events Director for my college club and thrown parties with upwards of 300 attendees, I thought I had the whole surprise party thing in the bag. Then France happened.
As an UCSB graduate, the first challenge for me in throwing the party was coming up with a theme. I wasn’t sure what kind of theme to do, nor what kind of themes French people found appropriate, so I consulted my French coconspirator. “We need to pick a theme!” I said.
He replied, “…..FBF’s birthday is the theme.”
So I put aside my dream of some crazy costumed party, and decided to focus on what every birthday party needs: a cake.
This proved to be quite challenging, however, as an amenity that is commonly missing in French studios is an oven. My studio is no exception. In lieu of baking a cake for FBF, I thought I could make Jello shots and write with frosting “Bon anniversaire” (Happy birthday).
This was also a no-go. Jello does not exist in France. I googled about it, double checked with my French coconspirator, and looked around at the grocery store. So having a special birthday snack also went out the window.
On the day of I went over to the store to pick up the necessary snacks and drinks, as well as things to decorate my studio with. I had already hand painted a Bon Anniversaire sign, and was looking for some streamers to drape around the place thinking that decorations had to be the same everywhere. I had no such luck in this category either. In the end, the only things I had to decorate my studio with were the signs I had made, and some balloons.
Although my French surprise party was not going at all how I imagined a surprise party should be in my American brain, I was successful in importing one very important American party pastime.
I taught all my French friends Beer Pong.