My Birthday (or The Egging)
Thanks to many of your kind wishes and the enthusiasm of my sister and my co-voluntarios I had a wonderful, memorable 25th birthday on Rancho Santa Fe.
The day (this past Sunday, the 23rd) started in the Ranch computer lab where I was surprised by Elizabeth who came bearing a card and a piece of cake. No ordinary cake, mind you. This was from the best cake shop in Teguc. The top and bottom were dense, moist chocolate cake and the middle were 2 thick layers of chocolate and vanilla mousse. I took one bite and decided to save the rest for later so as to fully enjoy the luxurious chocolate treat. (I did save it for later, in case you are wondering. I ate it about 10 minutes later, sharing a few bites with my friends.)
Then, accompanied by my sister and some fellow volunteers, we headed into Teguc. We had the best pizza at this great local place, Pizza Hut. Yum. Greasier than in the states, but a luxury none the less. We even had free refills of Pepsi and ice in our glasses. Danijel alerted the staff to the fact it was my birthday and I received a TGI Friday-style serenade at our table and a balloon animal.
We then hit up one of the American Clothing stores. These shops dot the city center and the precise equivalent to a US thrift shop. (Exept without all the junk and grumbly, disheveled clerks.) These shops sell only used clothing and linens and are staffed by salegirls who take the clothes you want to try on and reserve a dressing room for you as if you were Renee Zellweger shopping for Chanel. Almost everything at these stores is some sort of brand name, the condition is usually good, and the prices are affordable. After a search of nearly 5 years, I actually found jeans that fit. 2 pairs! And a pair of black capris for school and a retro tennis zip-up sweater (thanks, Hannah!). Now, with bluejeans, I finally feel I am back in the fashion of the rest of the world. Funny that I searched all over the US for jeans and found them in Honduras. What other questions will be answered here?
We shopped and did other errands (internet\phone\groceries) for the rest of the afternoon and returned to the Ranch late in the day.
Upon our arrival, we discovered that the electricity had gone out (a fairly regular occurrence, so I´ve been told). With only a few more hours of daylight, we scurried to make our preparations for the evening´s fiesta. (Did you really think I could let my birthday pass without a party?) Hannah and Danjiel worked on the Sangria; I chopped veggies for the salsa. We hauled wood from the kitchen to Casa Personal for the bonfire. I was banished to the terrace so some surprise preparations could be made. (Balloons, party hats, and a birthday banner! Thanks everyone.)
The generators came on sometime after dark, so Duffy and Margot were able to make me some wonderful from-scratch brownies (with eggs begged from the kitchen) and we had a couple hours of power to finish our work for the party.
Sometime around 8:30, with Elizabeth´s expertise, we started the fire. People began to join us with an odd collection of mugs and cups full of Sangria (I was using a one of the pitchers coffee shops use to steam milk). The fire was wonderful, the Sangria was amazing (full of wine and rum and watermelon, apples, oranges, pineapple, and other lucious fruits), and before long we were singing and generally making merry.
Around 11, a few of the "older" volunteers appeared with candles and sang me the birthday song that is traditionally sung here. It is complicated and long, but very nice, of course. I was enjoying the music and the candles and musing on the fact that since we were short on eggs I had managed to escape the Honduran tradition of smashing raw eggs on one´s head on his/her birthday. Just as the song ended and I was about to thank everyone for their efforts and alert my comrades to my happiness regarding the egg shortage . . .
3 eggs came smashing down on my head, whites and yolks dripped down my face, egg shells imbedded themselves in my hair. After I recovered from the shock, I immediately thanked the benefactors of this gift with big, eggy hugs.
Then I took a (cold) shower.