I have already passed my first big milestone in the Peace Corps! This weekend I celebrated my first (of what will be three) birthdays in Colombia! My actual birthday was on Monday (September 10th) and my host family had been counting down the days until the big day when I would turn 23. On Sunday morning I got up and was working on homework in my room when my host mom came in and told me something in Spanish that I couldn’t quite understand (current story of my life). After a quick game of charades and the help of BOTH host sisters I finally figured out that they were having a birthday party for me! This might seem strange to find out there is a party in your honor that is beginning only moments after you found out about it….but after being here for two weeks I have come to find that I often have no idea what is going on until it is actually happening. My mom sent me down the street to get Kate (another volunteer) to come over for the fiesta. Also in attendance was my extended host family (abuela and aunt). Kerry (who lives with my aunt) came over and brought Chris who lives near her host family.
We were immediately adorned with leis and party hats/headbands by Kerry’s mom (this is the same woman who gave Kerry and I hats and made us dance on our first day here….she means buisness when it comes to celebrations). We had a delicious lunch of arroz con pollo and then sat out in the front yard to enjoy the breeze. Kerry’s mom came out with confetti and enthusiastically sprinkled it on each of our heads and threw the remainder up in the air (this activity was later repeated inside the house).
Soon after, she once again declared it time for a dance party (this seems to be a reoccurring theme when she comes over). We went inside where we were no longer able to enjoy the cool breeze and she showed us the CD she brought over called “Un Hora Loca”. And that is exactly what it was. This hour long CD showcased a variety of loud party music ranging from Colombian favorites, to the YMCA remix, to the Daddy Yankee hit “Gasolina”, and so much more. We stood in an awkward mostly gringo circle and danced to these hits until we were sweating so profusely we were able to persuade Kerry’s mom to let us go back outside. I don’t know about you…but that’s a pretty solid way to celebrate my birthday if you ask me!
My host mom had beautiful birthday decorations and we had a delicious chocolate cake and everyone sang “Feliz Cumpleanos”. My family gave me a birthday present (a beautiful bracelet, cute pens, some candy, and a coffee mug). After everyone left we had dinner and cleaned up the party (confetti EVERYWHERE!). I finally Skyped with my parents and it was wonderful to talk to them. We chatted for almost an hour and I got to see my perrito Heidi 🙂 I received lots of nice emails and texts from friends at home as well (including homemade videos from Lindley, Lindsey, and Spencer!). I appreciate everyone’s birthday wishes and kind words…I love to hear from everyone at home!
My host family has made me feel like I am a part of their family and they made my birthday feel so special. It is really hard to be away from home on special occasions (this is the first birthday ever that I have gone without seeing my parents) but I really felt at home here and I owe it all to the special people I currently have the privilege to call mi familia.
First Colombian birthday was a success….here’s to the next two!!
Until next time… paz y amor.
P.S. I am no longer using Picasa for pictures (it takes a really long time to upload here and doesn’t have much storage space). From now on I will be using my Facebook album. I posted the link on my pictures tab. I made the album public so you should be able to see it without logging in….but my parents weren’t able to so I am still working on it. Unless I come up with something better….that will be where I post all pictures. Here is the link again: http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10152101389845118.906087.784965117&type=3