Happy Birthday to me!!!Now that I'm past the point when pretty much each new year means some new doors are opened up to me (lottery tickets, cigarettes, alcohol, voting, car rental... incidentally, none of which were terribly exciting to me other than "under-25 fee" free car rental), I have to make my own reasons to celebrate. Like that I can now say I'm in my late 20s. I can, right?
It was a lovely warm evening with a cloudless sky and a nice breeze. We were outside for most of the party, BBQing, eating food, playing soccer, basketball, and Signs. What more could a gal ask for?
Oh I know, really good food! Indeed. My friends and teammates made amazing food, including (but not limited to) the chocolate cake with peanut butter icing pictured above, burgers on the grill (a way more labor-intensive undertaking here than in America), guacamole, and puff puff (a Nigerian dessert that is basically fried dough and is soooo yummy).
I was so blessed by a lot of special and thoughtful gifts, including great tea mugs, a framed photo collage, and a few beautiful necklaces. It's really interesting to me how birthday-gift-giving varies by culture. At home I might get a bunch of birthday cards and a few of my closer friends might get me gifts. But probably not many of my guy friends. They might buy me a beer, but I can't imagine any of my guy friends from America getting me the kinds of gifts my Nigerian guy friends bought me... perfume, a super cute shirt (that fit perfectly, by the way), and shoes (verrry close to my size). Dude, Nigerians do NOT mess around with gifts. I should tell them to speak to my American guy friends. No, actually, it would be totally weird if any of my American guy friends bought me shoes. But somehow it's not weird for a Nigerian to do so. Yea, I'll just leave well enough alone.
But, by far the most... interesting? intriguing? special? gift was from a Chinese Malaysian guy. Every flavor of Lays potato chips that can be bought in the city of Iasi. Including Ham flavor and Chicken flavor. Right. They were wrapped in a huuuuge box that was very beautifully wrapped and had origami all over the top. I had no idea what to expect, and I quite honestly could NEVER have guessed 15 bags of potato chips. I certainly will not soon forget that gift!
The whole night I was overwhelmed with love. This quirky bunch of internationals has indeed become a family, and is certainly MY family here in Iasi. Such special moments and memories I will treasure for many years to come!