Last week I celebrated my 28th birthday.  While 28 is not really a special number, this birthday is absolutely one I will never forget.

Prior to my birthday, my husband asked me what I would like as a gift.  While his thought was very sweet, we both laughed at the availability of shopping for anything here and I told him to not worry about it… after all, its the thought that counts right?  That said, we decided a good way to celebrate would be a date night at a local restaurant.  The morning of my birthday, my husband left for work early.  I began my daily routine of walking Jersey; however by the time I returned home, my husband’s car was in our driveway again.  I met him on the stairs and he explained he had forgotten something at home.  When I walked inside I was very surprised to see a wrapped gift sitting on the dining room table!  Back in the states this would seem normal… but given our new digs this is a difficult task!  I figured he must have found something at a local shop, but when I opened the package I found gym shorts I was looking at on pinterest a couple of weeks earlier!! Now THIS is a nearly impossible task here! Shipping items here is insane and the only way to do so is via DHL.  I later found out my husband had corroborated with family back in the states… talk about planning!  I was so pleased and the effort this took made me feel very special.

Every morning, my friend Mary is generous enough to give me a ride to the gym.  I had briefly mentioned my birthday to her a couple days earlier, but certainly did not expect her to remember.  When I got in to her car, she greeted me with a big “happy birthday!” and handed me a card.  Then as we walk in to the gym, I was greeted by another friend, Ani, waving pink balloons and saying “happy birthday”!!  This completely warmed my heart and again I felt so special.

All day long, I received messages, emails, and even a couple phone calls with special birthday wishes from family and friends back home.  Thank you everyone for keeping both of us in your hearts while we are away.

Later in the afternoon, I planned to go shopping for table lamps with my friend Lisa.  As mentioned before, shopping here is somewhat of a rarity so of course I was very excited.  The plan was to meet at Lisa’s house and we would leave from there.  When I got to her place, she invited me in and as I was taking off my rain boots, there was suddenly a train of ladies coming from the kitchen singing “Happy Birthday”.  I was completely blown away!!  I have known these ladies for a very short time, and for them to celebrate with me in a such a special way was so incredible!  I am amazed by how quickly relationships are formed here and how special they become in that short time.  Several of the ladies captured some moments from the party…

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Our yummy spread including some awesome dips, a homemade cake, and champagne!
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Posing with some of the ladies and the birthday tree (painted by Lisa) that everyone signed… something I will always keep!

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To end the night, my husband and I went to dinner as planned.  We decided on Mama Mia, the Italian joint in town, and dug in to some seriously delish grub.

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When I woke up, I did not have any expectations for this birthday.  My husband, along with family and friends back home, and new family in PoG made this one SO special.