Friday, January 27, 2012

Twice As Nice

"I think I'll take a moment, celebrate my age,
The ending of an era and the turning of a page,
Now its time to focus in on where I go from here,
And I'll do it better in my next thirty years."
~Tim McGraw
("My Next Thirty Years")

In the past I've not tried to hide or avoid my birthday, just not advertise it.  I have no problem being the center of attention - I'm a teacher after all - but only on my own self-imposed, red-faced terms.  Also, birthdays growing up were never huge affairs; most were low-key events involving immediate family, a card from Grandma, a nice breakfast before school, a midnight phone call from a friend.

Turning thirty must have flipped the switch.  I not only observed the passing of my third decade, I got to have two parties.  Two!

The first was beyond my control.  Most Sundays I do a movie date with some friends.  The second weekend in December, my actual birthday, was no different and I went to a cinema near my house with Kristin and Kelsi, who informed me beforehand that we would get dinner afterward.  We did, but not before taking me to a mens' clothing store, having me pick out a tie, then blindfolding me with it, and taking a taxi ride to an undisclosed location and lead to a private room full of friends!  (Side note: A gringo, riding through Cali, Colombia, in the back seat of a taxi, blindfolded surely turned a few heads; of course I couldn't see them...)

Friends at Platillos of Cali's best!

Ridiculous hats and cakes...happy surprise birthday!

The invitation to rumba!!!
My good friend and colleague, Beatriz, also turned 30 recently and we had decided back in November to do a joint celebration - this, after I said I probably wouldn't do anything special, was kind of decided for me.  We wanted to have some sort of a theme but we wanted it simple and ultimately decided on a "black & white" party.  Having parent connections to a local salsa establishment, we were able to reserve an entire end of one room, adjacent to the stage where not only the live band played, but a trio of professional salsa performers did an exhibition and a mariachi group serenaded the crowd.

With Rob and Daniel
Black & White party people!

Dancing salsa, merengue, and a bit of reggaeton until almost three in the morning surrounded by friends who have become my "Colombian family" reminds me how incredibly blessed this experience of living here these past four and a half years have been.  The first thirty years were fantastic; I can't wait to see what God has in store for my next thirty!


kelsi said...

The more the better!!!

Kristin Rads said...

LOVE IT!!! :D Glad I was there to celebrate dos veces with you!!

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Василий Макиенко said...

I always knew that Colombia is not that friendly country. At first I also do not believe it, but then, after this article, I was shocked -