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. But there is nothing like returning to Peru’s Chiclayo, ‘City of Friendship’.

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 in Loja, we went on a hike up to a beautiful park overlooking the valley. This is what we saw on the way up…

IMG_5656 2 2 And this is view we had while enjoying a delicious chocolate cake…
Most of the birthday crew, my friend’s Ecuadorian nieces and nephews and father. My young Ecuadorian friends in the picture asked when I would be back and I had to say 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 shouldn’t just come for a visit, but that I should come back and teach at their schools!
The view another evening, from another valley hill…

Back in Chiclayo, two days prior to 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 to be fine. A hospital visit ensued after lunch, but like on all the other days we went to visit, we were only allowed to be there from 3-4pm. This is a general hospital rule in state-run hospitals in Chiclayo: 1 hour to visit, take it or leave it, regardless of the state that any particular patient is in. And I won’t be able to see the babies until they are out of the hospital as I am not blood-related. Sigh…

Anyways, the day prior to my actual birthday involved having 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 the family of one of them, 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), and eating birthday cake. Eating is favourite activity of Peruvians, although I have no complaints about this reality. 😛
10934211_10204724108875511_1182581402_n 2(I don’t own a smartphone, but we left the phones on the table 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 had a wonderful time catching up after the holidays.
2015 is off to one amazing start! And not only because of my birthday. Work is going very well too and this past week I had a rewarding rehearsal with Fuerza Andina, a local Andean folk music group that has been around for about two decades or so. The music teacher for the Project Chiclayo programs is the leader of this group and I am honoured to have been invited to play with them. It was so much fun to add violin sounds to the well-rehearsed sounds of guitar, bass, quenazampoña and percussion. And another rehearsal awaits this week…

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


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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