As some of you know, Thursday was my birthday. And it was one for the record books; one of my best birthdays to date!
I worked in the morning, and one of my co-workers, knowing I love feijoas and am sad they’re out of season, gave me feijoa-flavoured chocolate. That definitely made my morning.
At noon I went into town and decided to treat myself to BurgerFuel. For the North Americans reading, BurgerFuel is sort of like Red Robin but with a quasi-fast food feel. I hadn’t been in months and figured I didn’t care it was going to be too much food. After all, what are birthdays for if not a little indulgence?
So I got my favourite meal there: a flame thrower, which is the closest thing to a chicken fajita I can get in New Zealand. It has chicken, jalapeños, salsa, lettuce, cheese, onion and I think capsicum (bell pepper). It was just as messy as Red Robin, too. And the meal wasn’t complete without kumara fries with aioli sauce (usually a meal in and of themselves), topped off with an L&P, a New Zealand drink that is sort of a cross between 7-Up and lemonade.
I came home to find a package from Mom and Dad – perfect timing! They sent a card and the puzzles section of the Tacoma News Tribune. I’ve always loved doing those puzzles at home and have now converted my co-workers on our smoko (tea/coffee) breaks. I went for a quick jog, and it was fantastic to soak up some sunlight when I’m used to going to and from work in the dark! Afterwards I enjoyed a luxurious nap.
I got ready for the evening and got on the first bus that came by, not realizing it would get to town later than my usual bus. The Palmerston North bus drivers once again proved their awesomeness. The drivers of both the bus I got on and the bus I should have gotten on pulled over so I could get into town on time. Not only that, but since I was the only passenger on the second bus, the driver drove past the Main Street terminal and as far up the street as he could so I didn’t have as far to walk to the dance studio. My heroes!
The evening began at Palmy’s Ceroc dance studio. For those of you unfamiliar with Ceroc (I was!), it’s quite similar to swing dancing. About 20 people showed up to dance, including four in my party. There was a bit of crossover in the moves from the swing dancing class I took six years ago, but obviously I was still a novice! Everyone stood in a circle around the instructors and after practicing a new move a few times with one partner, the women rotated to a new one. Most of the guys were very understanding that I was a newbie, and they tended to be strong leaders anyway, which helped! It was fun and a bit of a workout to boot.
Next came karaoke. When we arrived at the bar, the karaoke had just begun and the crowd was small, so we all had ample turns to sing. I was sad at the lack of country and old jazz songs available to sing, but I wasn’t too surprised, as country as not a very big genre in New Zealand. I did find a Lady Antebellum song that worked well, along with some Sara Bareilles, Adele, Colbie Caillat and Michael Bublé (the last one was a bad choice, as it turned out. Too low for me!). We stayed for a couple hours and it was a blast.
Even though I told everyone I didn’t want gifts, nearly everyone gave me a card or present of some kind. Below is just a smidgen of the birthday love I received from around the world, not to mention all the love I got on Facebook and via texts. The painting is of a tiger fish from my flatmate Sarah, who knows I’m trying to fill up the white walls in my room!
Since New Zealand time is 19 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time, the Facebook love continued through Friday. I took off work and enjoyed a lazy morning of sleeping in, doing a crossword puzzle and taking a walk by the river (mostly to pet the cute dogs that are inevitably there). It was oddly warm for a New Zealand July day, so I was thrilled to be able to put out laundry on the line and be able to take down dry laundry on the same day (is that a sign I’m getting old?).
It was so warm I went into town without a jacket. I got coffee at my favourite cafe and wrote letters home. I decided to move to the library to finish them because I could sit in next to the windows and enjoy the sun. From the third floor, I was treated to a lovely sunset. I think I even got a little sunburned! But I’m not complaining.
Back home, Suzie made me pancakes for dinner, which we ate with lemon juice and cinnamon (highly recommended, folks!) while finishing off a bottle of red moscato and playing cards.
In short, it was a fabulous, basically two-day birthday that really couldn’t have gone much better. My friends and family know how to make turning a quarter-century old pretty darn spectacular!
And now that I’ve photographed that chocolate, I think I’m going to break it open …