Saturday, 17 December 2011


(We now interrupt this travelogue to bring you this very important announcement)

(Okay, totally not an important announcement, just a self-indulgent post where I give thanks for friends here in this far-away place.)

So, I'm not a big celebrator of my birthday. I'm not afraid/sad/angry about getting old, it's just that with a birthday so close to the holidays and (let's face it, I was a student for forever) finals, it was never terribly convenient to have a party or make any sort of big fuss over it. My parents did a great job with it when I was growing up (no small feat, given their own respective holiday-time commitments), but since I hit just-over-21? It's rarely been a big deal.

I knew that a couple of people at work knew when the day was, but didn't really think about it. It was a busy week, so my plan was to take the birthday afternoon off, run some errands, and have dinner with some friends.

Others had other ideas.

Sitting at my desk, revising a paper, listening to "Batter My Heart" from Dr. Atomic. The door opens. A cacophony of voices start. It's my colleagues, holding cupcakes with lit candles, singing me "Happy Birthday" in languages that range from Greek to Portuguese to Korean to parts in between. I laugh, and can't stop. It's absurd and wonderful - so many languages, so many people I care about, so funny to think of myself in a place where this can happen. I blow out the candles - all of them! - but can't (so cheesy) think of anything to wish for. Right then? Right there? I didn't need or want anything else.

They take me to lunch and to the campus museum where we chat and view and ponder. I am so, so lucky to have colleagues who understand my fascination with the preserved animals.

That evening, other friends take me to a simple dinner. We talk, laugh, ponder again the mysterious things that bring us together.

Today was hectic, but it led to tonight. Ah, tonight.

Friends/colleagues, etouffee, gumbo, zydeco, cake. So many of the good things in my life came together in one evening. Good food, good conversation, a chance to bring these people together to try to say thank you to them for their friendship, their support, their humor.

It is a good night. It is a good birthday.

I think? I think 34 will be a good, good year.

...I also think people liked the food

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