Friday, December 21, 2012

Hello Kitty Sweet 17 Birthday party

The Invitation in frame (turned backwards so can't be read)

I was invited to a Sweet 17 Hello Kitty party by one of my students. The invitation was given to me in person. It came in a large envelope. When I opened the envelope inside was a black Hello Kitty picture frame with the invitation in the frame. It also came with three small Hello Kitty shaped papers that told the table (Tiramisu) , to be exchanged for a Quickly (treat), and to be exchanged for a thank you gift. On the bottom of the invitation it showed that flowers and stuffed animals were not acceptable but presents and cards were. It also stated there was a dress code of black or soft pink. It was held at the Shangri-La hotel.

I invited one of the expats from the Elementary part of the school as I did not want to be at this party all alone. Since the party was on a Friday night it was hard to get a cab. I was going to call earlier than I did, but then the power went out in the house and so I got behind in getting ready. It took almost an hour of calling before I finally got through to the cab company, either they did not answer, the answered and hung up , or I got a busy signal. I had misread the invitation that it started at 7p.m. when really it started at 6p.m. We did not arrive until 7:30p.m. When we arrived I had the cab driver take us up to the lobby. We found a sign at the entrance stating the party was in the ballroom but we were unsure where that was located. We asked for directions but at first were misdirected. At the counter in the lobby there was a young lady with her back to us that has this beautiful pink evening gown and what looked like a fur stole that was hanging down. We finally found the ballroom but came at in from the wrong way. There were these black curtains set up. We were told by this young man that we were at the entrance but when we went through the gap we came through at where they had been taking pictures (kind of like a prom). It appeared that the picture taking session was over.   

There was a created hallway in front of us. We walked passed an entrance to our left and kept going down the hallway. There were lots of lights hanging down and everything was black and pink and lots of Hello Kitty things everywhere. We passed the Quickly booth, but I didn’t stop there. We walked to the end and there was a large group of people but I was not sure what they were doing, so we turned back around and headed back towards the entrance we passed. Standing in front of the entrance were two young ladies.  They were dressed in these old fashion dresses like the 1800s. They had Hello Kitty heads that they were wearing. We went through the entrance and I handed them my table card. They confirmed I was a teacher and directed us to the right. They lady was dressed in a black outfit with a pink scarf and black Hello Kitty glasses.

Everywhere was black and pink. It was incredible how fancy it was. We were taken to the farthest long table on the right, but the table was all full. I saw several of the local teachers were sitting at this table. In front of the long tables were round tables that had pink and black umbrellas above them. I think those were for the birthday girl’s friends. Since the table we were supposed to sit at was full we were taken to the left side to long table second from the end on the left side. We were seated at the front of the table behind the round tables. In the middle of the room was a empty space that had a pink and black canopy above it. On the left side (our side) at the front was a huge Hello Kitty birthday cake. Around the empty space were just box (footrest) type seating.  There were also several large screens around the room where we could watch the proceedings.  The tables all had really nice dishes on them and there were short and tall flower arrangements.
Trying to get picture of the cake
Not long after we sat down the party really started. So, our timing was actually good. There were two Masters of Ceremonies announcing something but since it was in Indonesian we had no idea what they were saying. One was a man dressed up in a black suit. The other was a man dressed up in a pink sparkly corset type top and short shorts, and hose with a garter belt. He also had a Hello Kitty bow and these high heels on.
 Next, on the stage at the front there was a group of young ladies in Hello Kitty outfits dancing.   A box came out and a guy dressed all in silver, even his face, came out of the box and walked like a robot. The group walked towards the entrance that we had missed to welcome the birthday girl. On the screens the outside of the Shangri-La appeared and a white sports car with a large Hello Kitty face on the hood pulled up to the hotel. Out of the driver’s seat came the birthday girl. She was the one I had seen up at the lobby counter. She was in the beautiful pink evening gown and around her waist she was wearing a Hello Kitty head (made out of something).  Part of her hair or maybe a hair piece that looked like hair was tied in a big bow like Hello Kitty. She made an entrance and the cameras were following her the whole way. She was escorted in by the girls and robot guy. As she was walking down the created hallway a girl in the entourage gave her a bouquet of flowers with a Hello Kitty face in it. She was brought up to the stage and talked some. Then her parents and siblings were brought up on stage and she thanked them for all they had done for her and hoped that everyone enjoyed her party.
After this part I might not have the rest of the events in the correct order because it was such an overwhelming night and it was confusing since it was all done in Indonesian so I remember the events clearly but not necessarily the order. Plus, during all of this we were eating dinner.  Also, in between events there were pictures of the birthday girl up on the screens.
I think the next event that happened was that the birthday girl sang a song to her family and loved ones. Then there was a girl group that sang to the birthday girl. I did not think they were that good. They seemed nervous and couldn’t remember all of the song and dance routine. After that the birthday girl had on another beautiful pink evening gown. Her hair was more normal at that point. She cut the cake and went around and fed people like this little sticks (I think it was cake). I am not sure exactly what it symbolized. She did it to her parents, siblings, (grandparents-maybe) and some other people. People also gave her gifts. She got jewelry, lots of bracelets and a pink Hello Kitty guitar.
After that a young lady sang a song for the birthday girl ( I think it was a favorite song). It was the Carly Rae song “Call Me Maybe” and in the background there was a guy and girl doing like a ballroom routine.  At some point the man dressed as a woman had changed his top to a black corset type top and had a man’s jacket on. I think he was tired. I know earlier he had taken off the high heels and they were back on but he was sitting down.
Then Afgan  Syah Reza, a famous Indonesian singer sang several songs. He sang a Bruno Mars song in English and other songs in Indonesian. He had some of the young ladies come up from the audience and he serenade them and took pictures with them. The birthday girl came out on stage during the last song in a different outfit. This one was a slightly above knee length black top and pink skirt sparkly dress and really high heels.  After he was done and the Masters of Cermonies duo was talking to him, the man dressed as a woman kept trying to kiss Afgan on the cheeks. He did not seem too thrilled about that and eventually was covering his cheeks with his hands. 
After that there was something with her fellow classmates. During a song that, I think the girl group sang, they came out with bows in their hair and carrying one of the guys and he had a large bag with a gift in it for her. Then they were all given roses to give to her and one guy got down on his knee to give it to her. Then they were calling different guys up and trying to get them to say something in Indonesian and at one point the guys had on these shorts with suspenders and bras on. At this point not knowing what they were saying made it really confusing. After that dancing started and we decided that was our cue to leave.  It was almost 10p.m. by that time and were both hungry as we didn’t care for the food and on overload.
Thank you gift-Hello Kitty Metal tree
It reminded me very much of the MTV show “My Sweet Sixteen” that I saw one day when I was home sick and they had a marathon on. It was just incredible how elaborate this party and those parties are. I can’t even fathom the cost. It makes me wonder what the wedding will be like. How does one top these birthday parties? In the MTV show they were trying to outdo each other and have their party be the most talked about party of the year. I don’t know if that is the case in Indonesia. For me, it is something I will remember the rest of my life, but it is not something that I have ever been to before and will probably never go to again. I don’t know what it is like for people who get invited to these all the time and probably go to several over the course of their lives.