The 3rd anniversary of my 30th birthday was the best birthday celebration I can remember having since back in the day when my mom used to rent out the second floor of the local Round Table Pizza where I’d have endless options of pizza slices to choose from and I could run around playing video games with family friends (those were the days!) I remember I’d sport a foofy dress, socks with ruffles and white patent leather shoes. (Actually I think I may still have that outfit!)
Yesterday was my birthday: the first one I spent here living in Chile AND the first one I celebrated with Gonzalo (last year at this time we lived apart.) And if there’s ever any doubt as to why I would pick up my life in San Francisco and move to South America for the love of my life, let me tell you, yesterday – from beginning to end – reminded me [and anyone else who questions it] why.
The minute the clock read 12:00 midnight on January 5th, G jumped up to hug me and wish me the best birthday ever, to tell me how happy he was that we could be together and to tell me how much he loved me. Then he ran away … outside and down to his car to get me my presents. Awwww … and when I saw him coming I was most stoked about a card I saw in his hand, mainly because in Chile, cards are not the norm. Random, I know, but as G’s company is the official importer of Hallmark products into Chile, he told me of some crazy statistic that indicates that Americans buy about 8 cards a year (pp), the British buy about 15 cards a year (pp) and Chileans average about 1.5 cards a year per person! I expect no less from him though since 1) he imports Hallmark product into Chile and 2) he’s detail-oriented like that and he’d never show up sans card.
In the first gift were the cutest beach towels I’ve ever rec’d. Two of them and they’re mine – all mine!! Pink and purple and girly and fabulous!! Just like me (minus the pink and purple). For a split second I was confused as to why he’d chosen beach towels but then I remembered that we go to Pil’s apartment to use her pool in this ridiculously hot summer and I’m always complaining about not having large towels. Obviously then I was even more stoked! (It’s the little things that do it for me.)
Then I proceeded to open the second gift in front of me, and I’m not gonna lie… it truly made me wonder if he knew me AT ALL. For a second I imagined he thought we was about to marry Florence Henderson. I didn’t proceed to pull out necessarily the ugliest purse known to man, per se, but I will say that it’s got to be the blandest purse to grace the Earth. Poor muffin … I thought to myself “Oh well, he tried” … but then he told me that while he was purchasing it, he was telling the sales lady that I’d return it anyway. She apparently insisted that no, this purse was just “great” and that I was “sure to love it.” And he just smiled and shook his head and said “No la conoce.” (You don’t know her.) Yes, I too wonder why in the heck he’d buy it in the first place, but I think it’s because he wants me to have a new purse, so with this one, I can go back and get the one I like. A+ for effort, my sweet little muffin pants! BRAV-O!
Then I reached for the card … and aside from OF COURSE being the best birthday card a woman could ever receive (in the same manner that most moms think their kid is the most genius of all genius little kids out there) inside was a print-out of an apartment he rented on the beach … a five day getaway to one of the best beach areas in Chile. Knowing how much I love the ocean (even though I lived near one for almost my entire life, I took that for granted, I now realize) and how much I love seafood and all things related to the sea … by far, the best gift ever, from the best person ever.
Later, after we woke up, and he made me breakfast before he left for work… after I rec’d a call from the front desk of our apartment building alerting me to the delivery of a dozen roses … after eating half the chocolates in the box I rec’d while he was at the office (moo!)… after all that, it was time for my “romantic birthday dinner” – or so I thought.
Let me just preface this little paragraph by stating that G could never – NEVER – work as a double agent. I was on to him as early as Sunday – two whole days before my birthday. I knew something was up. Mainly it was because almost everyone I know here in Chile, except for about 3 people, wished me a very ‘by the way’ type of ‘happy birthday.’ Those who usually called me insistently on my bdays in years past, called all of once…and there were still others who called yesterday who previously had NEVER called before (would send happy bday emails instead.) And when I asked G what the name of the restaurant was called so that I could Google it, I found that there were various sites stating that the restaurant was closed (something he brushed off as pure fabrication when I pointed this out to him.)
Oh I knew something was up … but I was surprised – and nervous! – to see that he had pulled together as many people as he could from my new Chilean life to celebrate my 3 to the 3 over drinks and apps (and a waffle dessert…) Nervous because I tend to feel that way with groups of people who are together to celebrate me. Mainly this happens because I freak out over not being able to talk to them all as much as I’d like! And I was surprised because it was the first time I truly realized that I really did have a life here in Chile. I really do know people – great people – and they all wanted to come out and celebrate my birthday with me. My Chilean friends, my gringa friends, my family, alongside my fiancee – all of them were there to wish me a very happy birthday. :o) My friend who had just arrived from a very long trip just the day before, my friend who helped G plan a good chunk of it, to my friends who are preggers and can’t even drink cocktails, to my favorite cousins who trekked to a part of the city they never hang out in, and to the friend who lives at the other end of Santiago – all were there! And I was grateful for all of it.
Cut to me five months ago and I never thought I’d see the Chilean day when I would walk into a bar in Santiago and find a table full of people waiting to celebrate me! In the end, I know it was the sweetest thing G could have ever done for me to celebrate my bday because I know he did it to show me that I was ok here and that I really did have a life (outside of him) here. And that gift, my fellow bloggers and blog readers, is worth its weight in gold.
My “Gringuita” Friends (adore them!)
Including G’s partner-in-crime
My cousins (who traveled from afar!) and their boyfriends
…and a group shot following the waffle incident
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