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Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Last-Minute Birthday Bash

Perhaps it's in bad taste to brag about one's own birthday party, but I must. Besides, my friends here in Santa Eulalia organized the thing in about 24 hours so that has to be some kind of record right there and worthy of note for that reason alone. But since it turned into such a splendid party, I really must share the photos and a bit of the story.

It all came about, I suppose, because I kept gloating that I was able to keep up on the "hike from hell" despite it being the last day of my 67th year. So everyone knew my birthday was the next day. After our relaxing afternoon on Marcial and Seidy's patio, I made the short walk home (somewhat surprised I could still walk at all!) and not long after, I found an email from Sue saying, unless I objected, they were all coming to my house the next evening to celebrate my birthday. I was instructed to do nothing to prepare, assured that they would bring all food and drink.

Eroca and her outrageously delicious carrot cake!
For a natural-born hostess like me, these were difficult orders to follow but I did my best, heading to the gym early Monday morning for a workout then taking the 10:00 a.m. bus back to Santa Eulalia, where I spent most of the afternoon writing a blog on the previous day's strenuous hike. Marc and Eroca arrived around 5:15 p.m. with two cakes in hand and that seemed to signal the start of the party. Never short of anything to talk about, we entertained each other until a taxi arrived with Bonnie and Stephen and Chris and Sue, carrying plates of food and bottles of drink. When Marcial and Seidy showed up a little later, things were in full swing.

Sous-chef Stephen at work
Both Chris and Stephen are accomplished chefs who enjoy nothing more than whipping up something scrumptious in the kitchen. Chris had already prepared a special cabbage lasagna (I know it sounds strange but trust me, it was delicious!) and just needed an oven to bake it for an hour. Unbeknownst to him, my oven was awaiting a new lower element to replace a broken one so we had to resort to using the Broil setting on Lo. Chris must have felt like he was on Chopped on the Food Channel and had just been handed a pork roast with marshmallows to cook without a working oven! But he soldiered on and by using aluminum foil over the pan and setting it on a lower shelf, somehow it worked.

Meanwhile, Stephen was serving as sous-chef, cutting up the broccoli for the side dish and working his magic on a big salad with yummy chunks of mango mixed in. Seidy got in the act with her fantastic homemade tortillas while Eroca added candles to the cakes. Bonnie found a way to be helpful by tasting the icing!
The best tortillas you ever tasted
Bonnie shares icing with Eroca

Eroca, Bonnie & Seidy dish up!
Through the magic of the Internet, we even had virtual Layne at the party. Using Skype to Skype with video, he was displayed on the TV screen and we took turns saying Hi to him, giving him a running commentary on the evening's fun. It would have been wonderful to have him here in person but with his face on the big screen, we were able to share some of the pleasure by long distance at least.
Marcial and Seidy talk with "Virtual Layne"
Dinner is served!
Eventually, dinner was ready and we all helped our plates, ready to retire to the back patio. But not before Marcial took a moment to address the group, expressing for everyone our joy at being together and humbling me with very sweet comments about how much I am loved and appreciated by this great group of people.
Make a wish, Kat! 
When the cake was brought out - happily, a few candles short of my age! - I made my wish and blew out the candles as everyone sang the birthday serenade. It was a very special birthday, made even richer by all the Facebook birthday wishes I received, one I shall long remember as a perfect example of the Pura Vida world I've come to love.

Muchas gracias, mis amigos!!

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