I had a birthday recently. Some people have life-crises at New Year’s when they think about what they’ve accomplished, what they haven’t done, what they want to change…well, I have birthday crises. I couldn’t care less about January 1, but when my October birthday comes around I have “so many feelings.”
I wasn’t sure how my birthday contemplativeness was going to manifest itself in Paraguay. The answer: I felt completely loved and supported and empowered.
I got supportive, funny, and loving messages via email, Facebook, and Twitter from family and friends back home. My sister created a digital birthday card that she emailed, tweeted, and made her Facebook cover photo. My family sent me care packages with copious amounts of chocolate and green tea (and other wonderful things that have made my life markedly better)—I did NOT use restraint during my consumption of said chocolate.
Other volunteers and Paraguayan friends sent me thoughtful birthday messages. Two of my closest friends is site ambushed me with an unexpected birthday present the day after my birthday—I’m still smiling.
The women at my health post hosted a birthday lunch. I made chocolate cake with dulce de leche as frosting. They made two kinds, yes two, of salad and a savory pie made of leafy greens, onions, and eggs. We also had sausage and Coke Cola—staples in Paraguay.
The Saturday after my birthday, I had my morning English class sing happy birthday to me—English practice, right? I didn’t tell the students I worked with on the day of my birthday that it was my birthday, but got happy birthday wishes for almost a week afterward when they did find out.
It was the birthday I always dreamed of—tranquilopa.