Monday, June 11, 2012

My 29th Birthday Week!!!

“The year you were born marks only your entry into the world. 
Other years, where you prove your worth, 
they are the ones worth celebrating.”

I believe that birthdays should be joyously celebrated. For as long as the people around you can tolerate you celebrating them. Or, at the very least, for a week. "The birthday week"! And, I'm happy to say, that my friends here indulged me in exactly that.

My birthday week started out with a lunch date at one of my favorite "people watching spots" in Gaborone with another PCV and the boyfriend. We had a birthday beverage and caught up on the recent happenings in our respective sites and then talked about our hopes for the upcoming year (both in terms of my birthday and our second year of service). Partway through lunch, my boyfriend asked if I wanted my birthday present then or to wait for my birthday. Before I could fully answer, he reminded me that it was, after all, officially my birthday week and handed me the bag. Inside was a box containing a fancy pants new dual sim cell phone! (I have been wanting one for a while and my brick of a phone was starting to putter out so this was a hugely exciting gift. Plus it is wayyyyy fancier than one I would have bought myself... YAY!) As I am sure you can imagine, I quickly opened the box and went to town reading the instruction manual and playing with it (and all its fanciness)! I now have two numbers that I can be reached on (woot woot - more double ups!) and I feel super high-tech and fancy every time I pull out my phone. (Yes, I have said "fancy" a lot but that's exactly what it is!)

A few days later, on the morning of my actual birthday, I got a call from my mama and my sister! I don't get to hear their voices very often so this was the most wonderful way ever to start my day! It never ceases to amaze me how an hour conversation with family can re-ground you and make you feel complete. It definitely warms a girl's heart and I was so happy to have that time to connect with my family.

I spent the majority of my birthday day at a workshop being held by Primson Management Services (from Zimbabwe) as part of the SADC capacity-building project that my NGO is a part of. The workshop was extremely worthwhile and we gained a lot of valuable insight into our organization and our plan for the future. I was happy to be a part of it and felt really productive during the entire day (which was really rewarding and made my day even more delightful)!

During the day, a number of other things made my day glorious, including a delicious lunch prepared by the women at my NGO and their singing the happy birthday song before presenting me with a Gabane Home-Based Care collared shirt to wear with pride "as a part of the Gabane family". Precious.  And, that evening, I was joined by ten of my friends for a birthday dinner and more merriment! It was great to get to spend time with wonderful friends. Finally (and perhaps most excitingly), I received a phone call from my Country Director with a proposition that could, if it comes to fruition, prove to be one of my life's highlights (and which I wish I could share right now but is confidential at this time - so stay tuned for the unveil!). Basically, I was giddy the entirety of the day!

I have to state that there was a bit of a downturn in my birthday week, unfortunately, due to a case of the flu (the real flu and not the tswana flu) and the loss of a dear friend from college. The passing of Michael O'Kelley will be felt for a long time. I was deeply saddened to hear that he passed away suddenly. Mikey was there for me during some of my happiest and hardest moments in life, he was always there with a helping hand and a smile, and was one of the most sincere people I have ever known. He left a huge impact on me and on those who knew him well. Any discussion of this week will have to include a memorial for him. Rest In Peace Mikey.

My birthday week concluded with one final celebration, complete with hugs of happiness and condolences (even some vicarious ones from friends who couldn't make it). Friends came from their respective corners of the country to Mountain Valley, a huge newly remodeled bar in my village, for a braai ("barbecue"), dancing, and laughs. I was grateful to everyone that came out because it gave me a chance to show off my village (which I am so proud of), catch up with friends, and round off my week with all the joy it started with. It was truly a blessing to share it with everyone.


This has been an emotional start to my 29th year. Full of happiness, excitement, education, loss, health and wellness, love, and hope. It has been a time when I have been reminded of all those things in life that truly matter. With that in mind, I really couldn't ask for a better birthday week. Thank you to everyone who was a part of it, both here and at home. With all my heart, thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday!! Sounds like you were able to enjoy it in full!

    It's so hard to hear of loss of a dear friend when you're so far away. I didn't know until a couple days later, and I spent a couple days hoping it was a cruel joke. So many of my fondest memories from college include him. R.I.P. Mikey.