Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Birthday Highlights: A Bag of Cheese, New Rice Cakes, Flowers, Parties, Purple Pants, Squid Five Ways, Campy DVD's and Hammock Swinging Til Midnight

As I head out the castle gate on my birthday morning, I see a sticky note: "Happy Birthday! Your present is on the top shelf of the fridge." It's from K, and what is on 'my' shelf is a bag filled with gourmet cheese.

Then Nam tracks me down in the market. "Mari!" (He has settled on this name for me.) He says "Banh Cu" and leads me to the other side of the market where he orders me some rice cakes to-go. I'm sure he does not know it's my birthday, but odd that he chooses this day to introduce me to a new "number one."

I get to school and Alice enters my room with a bouquet of Easter lilies, two baby quiches, some chocolate, and some fish made by her family's cook for lunch. On her way up to my classroom, apparently, she has told every student she sees that it's my birthday.

So during the day, I get four "Happy Birthday" songs, 6E hides under their desks to "surprise" me after lunch, and a party - planned by Alice and 6C. 6C is terrible about keeping the secret; they just cannot contain themselves. They have two dozen roses and two cakes and two cards for me, and ask me fifteen times, "Did we make you happy today?"

When I get home, there is another HUGE bouquet arrangement on the table. K tells me that Thuy just dropped it off, from her and Thanh. The tunic I told you about a few weeks ago - turns out that is for my birthday, too.

I see two gifts on the table, and Tarn tells me that Ms. Hao (Sweet Seamstress) just dropped them by. Inside one is a purple shirt - made in the pattern of another shirt she made me a month ago, and inside the other is a pair of purple pants. Really cute, too (although I have not tried them on yet). I take the pants and shirt three doors down, peek into the half-closed door, and she and Lieu (her assistant) give me the cutest little grins. They tell me the shirt is from Lieu, and that the pants are from Ms. Hao. I give them both big hugs and they just giggle.

Alice comes over after rehearsal and K, T, Alice and I go across the street to our stir fry place. I have thought this out: what I want most for my birthday is to order every squid dish on the menu: squid with cauliflower, squid with green pepper, deep fried squid, squid with onions, sweet and sour squid. We are all in love with squid. Especially the deep fried squid. Heaven.

After dinner, we watch two of Tarn's five gifts to me- he got me five new music DVD's - campy classics. I wish you could all see "Modern Talking"- for there is no way to describe it (go ahead and YouTube this 80's German band)- and Boney M.

After videos, Alice and I take the hammocks and some incense to the roof, and we swing up there until midnight.

Plus, all day long I receive email after email and post after post wishing me a happy birthday. And this weekend is my Karaoke Birthday Weekend: Friday night with AIS people, Saturday night with T, K, T and T. We all had dresses made for the occasion (except for Tarn).

Never in my life have I had such a unique, surprising, varied birthday. I'm sure it's all because of your wish, Brian. We have this cool reciprocal wish thing going, which began with me wishing him into existence. So thanks, Brian.

Oh, and I guess the blog game answer will follow, if it really must...


Cecilie said...

What a great day you had! And you really deserve it :-)

PS! Would love to see Modern Talking.....

Brian Bowker said...

It was about time I returned the favor. ;)

Brian Bowker said...

Darn it, Marjie - Now I'm super hungry for Calimari... And it's only 9AM!

Michelle said...

You deserve all the best Marji . . . I'm glad your day was extra special!

Mungo said...

What a groovy b-day... blessed as always!

The Norris Clan said...

That sounds like the best birthday EVER. How are you ever going to come back to the US with the deliciousness of food that is Vietnam? Oh so sad... So THAT is why you are staying... I get it now. Did Momma Nam ever realize it was your birthday?