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…
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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!
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The view another evening, from another valley hill…

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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.
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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!

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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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