I'm 30! I woke up on Tuesday thinking, "Oh my goodness, I'm out of my 20s." I am willing to embrace the new decade optimistically! I met Demetra going down stairs, who gave me my first birthday hug. She said, "You know Holly, you picked a wonderful day to be born. It's Mozart's birthday too." I told her that my mom had always hoped that I would follow in the composer's footsteps... Then Demetra said, "Well, it's your birthday and Mozart's birthday, but today is also my wedding anniversary!" Yay!
I got to school and saw Egla in the window. That seemed odd, since I usually beat her to school. Egla met me at the door with flowers. She had decorated the entire classroom with "Happy Birthday" banners, streamers and tissue paper flowers! It totally made my day. Egla said that she loves to surprise people and I happen to love surprises!
This is what happens when the only people around are under four feet tall... My Embassy kids are my early birds. I wanted a picture with Egla and the flowers. Sasha eagerly volunteered to take the picture! Not bad for a five year old!
Attempt number 2! Sasha had her finger over the lens, but it makes the picture all the more endearing.
A few of the Albanian parents caught wind of my birthday. I received beautiful bouquets of lilies and awesome makeup imported from Italy. No, I'm not in Kansas anymore.
That evening, I went out with my closest friends (minus Florian) to an Italian restaurant called Amor. It was a bit of a challenge to get their with 11 people. Two bus rides and one wrong turn later and we were there! Oh my, the food was worth it!!!
During the antipasto course, the electricity went out. It really wouldn't have been an Albanian birthday otherwise! Travis happened to have a lighter in his pocket. (Really, I don't know why he carries a lighter. I forgot to ask him.) Everyone burst out in a spontaneous rendition of "Happy Birthday." Anyhow, the salads were yummy; the mushrooms and vegetables were incredibly simple but tasty.
I couldn't get enough of the pasta course! Neither could Mary Jo, Doug and Tracey. It was decadence on a plate. The chef took our order, but really ordered for us. He makes everything, including the pasta, fresh from his kitchen. I'm in love with Amor. It's by far my new favorite restaurant on the planet.
Aren't Stephen and Valbona fun? Stephen teaches the 11 year olds and both are in my Bible Study. I love this community.
Even after all that pasta, we still wanted to try the fillet that we had heard about. Sarah and I shared one (the others shared too). It was the perfect fillet, the best I've had in this country for sure (beats the Burns Ball and Marine Ball by a long shot!). Tasty!!!
I'm so blessed to have amazing friends with whom to share a milestone birthday. Entela certainly is a lifetime friend.
Yippee! I have my very own Entela card. She's such a great artist. I love the symmetry. I can see the Swedish influence, can't you? (Entela used to work for the Swedish Embassy.) Anyhow, everyone signed the card and the girls gave me a gift certificate for a "relax session" that we all are going to experience (Entela got a gift certificate for her birthday and Tracey and Sarah each got one for Christmas). A student's mother has this tea house where she serves teas and cakes and does massages. Can't wait. We returned to the apartments for the carrot cake that Sarah had made for me from scratch! Florian met us there. Candles are a scarce commodity, but Sarah did find a single "4" candle. She decided it could mean "For your birthday" or "The Fearsome Foursome" which is what Mary Jo has Christened us.
Thank you to everyone who sent birthday greetings either over e-mail or Facebook! I celebrated with my friends here, but did sort of long to be home too. I had a memorable 30th birthday (with no tears or major breakdowns)!