Eating (plantains), Drinking (wassail), Being Merry (very)
Today is my birthday. My second in Honduras. It doesn’t seem quite fair that I came here a young gal of 24 and leave a wizened woman of 26. Well, maybe not so wizened. Anyway, hostess that I am, last night we rang the devastatingly big number of 2-6 (and I know I’ll regret complaining about this when I am older) in style with a bonfire, wassail, 125 homemade mini pizzas, and lots of friends to eat them.
We (Hannah, her friend Raya, and I) spent most of the day yesterday preparing for the party: making pizzas, carting boxes of wine for the wassail, hauling firewood. We managed to fit in making a homemade lunch–Honduran style. We fried up a bunch of ripe plantains that were blackening in the Casa Personal kitchen, heated up some beans, made a batch of chismol (a salsa of tomatoes, onions, green peppers and lime juice), and blobbed some mantequilla (a liquidy soury creamy type substance) on our plates. Yum. We do a pretty good plato tipico.
The party started early, around 7 p.m. and ended just into the first hours of my real birthday. Everyone was there, including the 11 new volunteers (who just arrived a week ago) who had ventured into Tegus for their first time that day and brought me back a bottle of champagne as a present. It was wonderful to be surrounded by friends–old and new, stuffing our faces with pizza and downing the hot, sweet wine. Annie, Michelle, and Francie made me green and gold heart-shaped sugar cookies. The Padre made flan. We ate, drank, and sang songs to which nobody, ever, knows the words.
This morning, I woke up at 8 to a knock on my door. It was my next door neighbor Shannon apologizing for waking us up and telling us that school had been cancelled (due to a transportation strike, now resolved, in the city). I felt like a kid on a snow day. I think I was actually happier than a kid on a snow day! No school! We took advantage of the morning by doing more eating (making a breakfast of pancakes with lime and powdered sugar and scrambled eggs) and drinking (just coffee).
The afternoon was more eating and drinking. We walked through the woods to La Venta, the nearest village, to eat and drink a beer at a roadside restaurant, Gabriel’s. When we got back we cracked into the cake (a delicious, incredible thing from Pan Y Más that Shannon and Jen got for me and--even more impressively--successfully got back to the Ranch in one, gorgeous, chocolate piece).
Then I got to feeling sick. Big surprise, huh? All that eating, drinking, and being merry caught up with me, I guess. So, here I am, holed up in my room for the night, reflecting on another great birthday in Honduras.
My sister reminded me today (as I was panicking that I went from 24 to 26 during my 13 months in Honduras) that the wonderful thing about having celebrated 2 birthdays on the Ranch is that I spent my entire 25th year of life here. I am proud of this year and it makes me happy to think that whenever I think back to being 25, I will think back to children begging to be cuddled, green bottles of beer filling the table in La Venta, friends who will check your hair for lice without complaining, and the way the rain sounds when it hits the red tile roof of my little room.
Happy birthday it was.