Dear Husband is turning almost 30 today! Happy B-day to the man who rocks my world, wakes me up with coffee (after I scream COFFEE PLEASE! from the bathroom), the man who walks our dog and lets me sleep, who is sweet even when I am being a total bitch and who this morning talked to my cat Max called him “Sossy” and told him he would have to wait to drink from the sink because he was using it.
Today we’ll have a cake baked by yours truly (I already apologized in advanced to the guests) and beer, chips, laughs and company. I love other people’s birthdays. It’s so much fun to sing silly songs and have an excuse to eat chocolate, drink on Tuesdays and give presents. I hate MY birthday because I really don’t like that moment when the lights are off and the cake is blazing and everyone is looking at me! It’s so uncomfortable!
Thinking of birthday always makes me smile. Back at home (here I go) you usually wait for the weekend so you can have a proper birthday party with dancing, and dressing up, the music blasting till four in the morning without the neighbors complaining (mostly because usually the neighbors are invited) and lots and lots and lots and I mean LOTS of food.
I gotta say, since I am the hostess this time I do not mind the fact that cake, some beer and finger food is all I am required to offer to our guests. My coworker is upset because her husband told her today that they were going to have a party on Saturday for her Birthday and she complained because she didn’t have enough time to plan.
For people here three to four days it’s all you need to plan an informal gathering at one’s house but if you are Hispanic, like she is, you need more than three days to go shopping for the Pernil, the cheese for the empanadas, the dough for the tequeños, the mini wieners, the quail eggs, the industrial size icebox where the beer is going to go, the liquor, the plates, the cups, the music alone takes like a week or so to put together in sets, the salsa set, the merengue set, the reggaeton, the Spanish rock set, the crazy hour where we dance to kids music from when we were growing up and last but not least the songs from our respective lands that we left behind, heartbreaking music about getting old and that first grey hair that we sing to the top of our lungs with arms on each other’s shoulders, swaying and raising the warm beer to the heavens. Sigh.
I remember like it was yesterday the first time I went to a birthday party here. I was working at McDonald’s and I was 19 or 20 years old and have made friends with my co-workers (nothing bonds people like alcohol and a mutual hatred for the work place). I though a party was a party and didn’t even stop to consider that there could possibly be a difference between a party here and a party there. So I showed up all cute in my size 3 jeans (those were the days, 5 sizes ago) and cute heels and a top. I was shocked first of all that the music couldn’t be heard outside and was amazed by the soundproofing of the house, and then walked in to find people SEATING all over the place. SEATING! You don’t sit at parties *she notes scornfully*. First of all there is not supposed to be room to sit, there is no need to sit when you have an outfit and a cute ass to show off and usually people are too busy dancing. Duh.
Well there was no music, no dancing but there were several poker tables where teenage boys though they were cool smoking their cigar with their newly grown chin hair and several people watching Colin Farrell do SWAT stuff on a big screen TV. Oh the humanity. I stood around with my friends, talking and hanging and while I had fun, some part of me was a little horrified that this was the future looming in front of me. Years and years of “party” after “party” of people seating down and watching TV. Pretty fucking bleak.
Then I realized that is the beauty of being here. I get to hang out, talk, lose at poker, and play drinking games with my Gringo husband and my Gringo friends. I get to enjoy the company of those around without music blasting in the background. I get to enjoy a gathering where the cops don’t show up because the music is so loud. I get to enjoy playing board games while drunk (believe me it’s a challenge to play Pictionary when you have 3 bloody marys in your system) I get to enjoy the best of both worlds!
I get to dance the night away with Dear Husband a little drunk and screaming “I’m the tallest man here!” I get to dance until I sweat everything I ate like a pig the hour before, I get to click in a way one can only click when you share history, background, music and upbringing with someone. I get to feel depressed and cry over the countries we left and reminisce with my own people, as a friend puts it.
I am so incredibly blessed, because today Dear Husband will get to cut the cake I baked with all the love (and Max licked half the icing of) drink, hang out and celebrate the “blond” hair he found during the weekend while the other half of the party dances to an iPod, deep fries food they brought and sing three different happy birthdays.
So in the words of the Venezuelan Happy Birthday Song I say till tomorrow with:
May the moon light always shine upon you.