Unforgettable birthday bash(es)!

2015 is speeding on by, with two very busy weeks since returning from my New Year’s trip to Loja, Ecuador. I have fond memories of my time spent there, with an intelligent and creative friend I have known since my childhood in Bermuda and the large Ecuadorian family she is soon to marry into.

I celebrated my birthday earlier this week and I must say that I have never had such an amazing birthday celebration–well, several celebrations (actually, starting with one in Loja)! To celebrate my birthday, we hiked up to a beautiful park overlooking the valley. This is the view on the way up…

IMG_5656 2 2 And this is view we had while enjoying a delicious chocolate birthday cake…
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Below: Most of the birthday crew, my friend’s Ecuadorian nieces, nephews and their father. My young friends asked when I would be back; I replied that I honestly didn’t know, but that I did know that I love their city and hoped to return one day to visit them all. They said that I shouldn’t just visit, but come to teach at their schools!
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The view another evening, from another valley hill…

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Back in Chiclayo, two days before my birthday involved a pre-birthday lunch invitation at my former host family’s home, where I was pleasantly surprised to hear that my host brother’s wife had delivered the twins she was expecting late the night before! The twins arrived at just 7-months, so everyone was a little worried about their health, but they seem fine. We visited the hospital after lunch, but like on all the other days we visited, we were only allowed to stay from 3-4pm. This is a general hospital rule in state-run hospitals in Chiclayo: 1 hour to visit, regardless of the patient’s condition. The idea is to ensure more tranquility for patients, but no one likes the blanket-statement-type rule, and patients complain about boredom and isolation. So, I’ll see the babies once they are released from hospital, as I’m not blood-related (I’ve only seen their mom). Sigh…

Anyways, the day prior to my actual birthday involved a short impromptu music-making session with two violinist friends (there was a third violin just sitting there…waiting to be played…), eating lunch with one of their families, then swimming at the beach, eating a delicious dinner, watching a movie and finally…at midnight, being serenaded by my two friends with ‘Las Mañanitas‘ (a Mexican song heard throughout Latin America, especially at midnight when a person’s birthday begins). They had even bought a birthday cake!
10934211_10204724108875511_1182581402_n 2(I don’t own a smartphone, but we left the phones out as proof of what made the secret birthday surprise possible. I had no idea anything was being planned, but now all those text messages everyone was sending make sense…)

My actual birthday was filled with my lovely co-workers…from morning until afternoon. The Project Chiclayo staff came out in full force for lunch–what a treat! We all had a wonderful time catching up after the holidays.
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2015 is off to one amazing start! Work is going very well and this past week I had a rewarding rehearsal with Fuerza Andina, a local Andean folk music group that has been around for two decades. The Project Chiclayo music teacher is the group leader and I’m honoured to play with them. It was so much fun to add violin to the well-rehearsed sounds of guitar, bass, quenazampoña and percussion. Another rehearsal awaits this week…

More on my not-always-so-celebratory days in Chiclayo soon to come. Thanks for reading!

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4 thoughts on “Unforgettable birthday bash(es)!

  1. My pleasure, Nancy! I love using scratch board, but it can be a challenge as there is no ‘erasing’ allowed!
    I hope you enjoyed your birthday! Take care, Ciera.

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