Saturday, March 3, 2012

Birthday

Do you remember how birthdays felt as a kid? To me, birthdays were always so exciting and special. They were a day when the world almost did revolve around me. My relatives from all over the states would call just to wish me a happy and fun birthday. My friends would come over and bring me presents. My mom would bake/buy a cake, prepare games, make up gift baggies, and do basically everything to make my party spectacular. I would get to cut the cake; I would get to open the presents; I got to hit the pinata first. Of course, writing this now it looks very self-indulgent and I'm sure I seem terribly spoiled, but it was a wonderful day.
Now that I'm an adult, my birthday doesn't seem special. I'm not a child and so I guess it's assumed I don't need (or want) the same amount of attention. Part of the problem is probably my location and the internet. Of course I haven't gotten visitors or phone calls all day, I'm in Mongolia. Phone calls to the far east aren't cheap, and facebook messages can convey the same sentiment without the cost or time zone calculations of a real life phone call. But, I miss the phone calls and the visitors all the same. And I miss the external trappings of children's parties. Adult birthday parties don't have pinatas and gift baggies. They don't have to have silly games or funny hats. Some people even have a party without cakes, songs and presents.
In the service of “cross-cultural” education, I'm reclaiming the trappings of my childhood birthdays. I'm throwing myself a birthday party with games, gift bags, cake and candles. Later today, my 8th grade students will join me for birthday cake, pin the tail on the donkey, and pinata filled fun. After baking the cake, drawing the donkey poster, cutting out the donkey tails, paper macheing a turtle (sort of) and cleaning my house, I really appreciate all the effort that my mother put into making my birthdays so amazing. I don't think she reads this blog, but I didn't appreciate her enough when I was a kid, and I don't tell her what a good job she did often enough now.
Anyway, I have to go to sleep so that I'll be energetic enough to wrangle the kids tomorrow. Sleep tight, my friends!