Today was my birthday... 61! I don't feel 61. When you get this old, age seems even less relevant than ever. I am blessed with good health, a wonderful family and so many loving friends it amazes me. In all those years, I never imagined that this is what I'd be doing in my sixties... and I'm absolutely loving it! I woke up to text message after text message wishing me happy birthday and sending me love. It was raining and I had the hedonistic pleasure of staying in bed till after 9! Then I spent a very leisurely day chatting to Katie on skype, fielding facebook messages, reading a James Patterson novel and listening to music... a perfect way to spend a rainy day.
Here are Katie, Jordan and Bailey singing Happy Birthday to me on Skype
In the evening Greg and Gemma came on-line too, so I got to chat with them as well. When I was their age, video calling was something you only saw in science fiction movies and now it's available to everyone. The difference skype makes to my life is immeasurable. I can't imaging enjoying living so far away from my family without it.
Will came over at about 6 and got to meet Greg and Gemma, then chat to Katie, and half an hour or so later Xuân, Quỳnh, Trường, Nga and Hảo arrived.
Hảo, Will, Xuân, Quỳnh, Nga and Trường
The plan was for us to all meet here at 6 and then go out for dinner. Khánh was running late because he was trying to exchange the shoes they bought for me on Wednesday (unsuccessfully)... but he outdid himself, for this beautiful plaque is what he got me instead...
By then Emma had finished teaching so Will picked her up and we all headed off to a specialty goat meat restaurant.
While we waited for the food to arrive, they pulled out a cake and sang me Happy Birthday
and more pressies! A lovely tan shoulder bag from Quỳnh and some yummy cookies from Will and Emma.
(The 3D jigsaw puzzle is from Linh)
Dinner was BarBQ'd goat followed by a hot pot. It is so well organised here. Plates of meat and vegies cooked at the table as you go on these little portable gas cookers.
A couple of hours later and the pots were still half full of by then even more delicious broth and meat and noodles and vegies because they keep on topping it up, but we'd had enough... and there was still birthday cake to come!! The table was overflowing with debris from our meal, but over here you don't sit around waiting for the table to be cleared... you just relocate to another table!
So we enjoyed birthday cake and watermelon... and by then we were REALLY full!
Nga, Hảo, Trường, me, Emma, Will, Xuân, and Quỳnh (Khánh took the photo).
We finished up a wonderful night having a quiet drink back at Meagan's with a few of the teachers who hang out there. Lovely night, lovely friends. I feel very blessed.