Feliz cumpleaños a mi!

Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Friday, June 29, 2007

I had cake for breakfast on my birthday!  And it was sunny outside!  And the door to my classroom was painted blue, BRIGHT blue!  All day my kids piled candy, flowers, and chocolates on my desk.  When I walked up to the school after lunch, I heard "Teacher!  Teacher!", but instead of running TO me, my students ran AWAY from me and into my classroom.  A couple of my 2nd and 3rd grade girls greeted me at the door and told me to sit down, barely containing their giggles.  I did so, barely containing my own giggles.  What were they going to do to me?!  And suddenly all 25 of my 2nd and 3rd grade class ran in with their hands behind their back.  Feliz cumpleaños!!!!!  And 50 little hands threw confetti all over me, my desk, and the floor.  And of course, there was so many little bits of paper on the floor that they then had to scoop it all up and throw it again.  Then I was given a pile of presents to open.  The usual stuff - a photo album, a little figurine, hair clips, perfume...deodorant.  We took pictures and sang Happy Birthday in English to both myself and to Erik, my 2nd grader with the same birthday.  The day zipped along fueled by giggles and chocolate and confetti.  And then it was off to San Jose for dinner, drinks, and dancing with Erin, Steve, Leilani, and the summer program volunteers. 

And from what I remember of the night, it was really great!  We started out with pre-dinner cookies and a bottle of wine, then had a very girlie time getting ready.  Dinner was at Cafe Moro, where the food was fabulous, the wine delicious, and the cheesecake (my second birthday cake!) was melt in your mouth.  After dinner we made our way to Castro's, my favorite place to dance in San Jose.  But we were early, so we had drinks in the karaoke bar upstairs where Erin serenaded us with a lovely birthday rendition of "Lady in Red" and Steve provided me with a birthday shot of guaro.  Thoroughly drunk, but totally happy, I danced a few salsas before it was decided that I needed some air.  The night ended as most birthdays do when one is in their 20s, hugging the toilet bowl, but it was a fun night!  Twenty-four in Costa Rica.

BUT, the festivities were not quite over.  Staggering out of bed at 6 am the next day, not yet hung over because I was still a little bit drunk from the night before,  I made my way to the bus stop back to Cartago.  You see, my students had planned a surprise birthday party for me and I had to make it back.  Magaly, the kinder teacher, was meeting me in Cartago to take me back to La Estrella.  When she pulled up I was sipping my water and munching crackers, hoping to sober up.  One look at me and she laughed.  "Mucha fiesta?"  Uh, yeah, you could say that.  She quickly pulled out the Alka Seltzer and chattered away in Spanish that, for some reason, I just wasn´t able to understand at that moment.  We had to get candy for the goody bags at the party and pick up Sandra with the cakes, so I was able to snooze a bit and sober up, though this meant that the headache was about to kick in.  When Sandra saw me, she too had quite a laugh.   "Mucha fiesta?  Besa  unos muchachos?  No?  Que lastima!"  Well, at least I wasn´t scandalizing anyone. 

When we pulled up to the salon, my students were all eagerly awaiting, once again with hands behind their backs and giggling.  Magaly gave me a breathmint and Sandra patted me on the back.  I gave a sigh, put on a smile, and stepped out.  "Oh my gosh!  ¿Que es esto?"  My kids were all crowding the door, giggling.  "Venga teacher!"  And I walked forward into the fistfulls of confetti once again, hung over but laughing just the same.  Pretty soon my arms were full of presents, my hair full of confetti, and both cheeks wet with besitos.  And then there was the real surprise!  Everyone in town knows that teacher loves to dance, and they had raised money for the biggest gift of all - a disco movile DJ!!!  They hired a DJ for me!  The kids were thrilled and the girls immediately pulled me into their circle to dance.  We shook and shimmied, Magaly led a conga line around the room, and Mario pulled the boys out of their chairs to join us.  Then the karaoke started, quickly followed by the most brutal game of musical chairs I have ever witnessed.  But all this was topped when they brought out my cake.  The candles were lit, both Happy Birthday and Feliz Cumpleaños was sung, and then I learned why Costa Ricans always buy two cakes.  As soon as I had blown out my candles, I found myself face down in in must have been two inches of marshmellowy frosting.  My eyes were sealed shut and my cheek a little burned from a still-hot candle.  The kids were hysterical as I pulled globs of frosting from my eyes.  Sandra took a picture.  Still covered in sweet stickiness, but still laughing myself, we went to cut the real cake, not the cake for smashing the birthday girl´s face into.  But I don´t think anybody actually ate all of their cake because about ten minute later the kids realized how much fun frosting can be when smeared on people´s faces.  I don´t know who actually started it, but pretty soon I wasn´t the only one covered in frosting.  Everyone was throwing it; smearing it on foreheads, arms, and cheeks; and then licking it off their own sticky fingers.  This probably would have gone on for a lot longer, but Mario then decided that it was a good time to break out the bubble machine.  So then the frosting fight turned into a soap suds fight with Mario in the center and kids running, slipping and sliding on the strange mixture of confetti, soap suds, and frosting on the floor.  And all the while reggatone was being blast out of two monster speakers by the DJ.  It was surreal, but it was great.  Walking back home, sticky and ladened with gifts, I giggled at the fabulous silliness of it all.  I´ve had some pretty fun birthdays, but I will always remember my 24th with a smile on my face!
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Comments

dadofdivaboots
dadofdivaboots on

happy...
...bday! My goodness...I have never experienced one close to this one. Many happy returns with cake on your face!
love
dad

cjlong24
cjlong24 on

presents
deodorant for a birthday present, ey?...reminds me of when all you gals gave me soap for a Christmas present in Aussie land.....:)

Happy Birthday and i will see you soon!! i'm soo excited.

goltzer
goltzer on

Uncle Mike
Lacey - was that the all time party of what - maybe
you should sign on for another year and see if they
can top that - or, not.

Hope all continues to go well, sounds most gratifying,
educational, fun - must also have its challenging moments being so far from home and in such a radically
different culture and environment. Truly a great
life experience with loads of perspective which you
will carry forward into your life for many years to
come - perhaps the rest of your life.

Take Care,

LOve,
Mike

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