Sunday, November 17, 2013

Katie's Un-Birthday Party

About ten years ago, Katie's best friend, Hannah, was living in Newcastle. She knew Katie's birthday was coming up at the end of the year and decided to arrange for time off work so she could come back to Coffs Harbour and celebrate it. But she got the date wrong by a month and arrived in November instead of December!  So Katie and Hannah have celebrated her Un-Birthday every year since on 17th November. Last year Hannah was here in Hải Phòng with Katie so the tradition continued. This year, Hannah wasn't here, but we decided it wold be a great excuse for hosting a party so we could treat all of our friends as the time for leaving draws rapidly closer.

During the afternoon, Katie and I went to Big C and bought some party supplies and at about 4pm Hiếu and Hải arrived to take us to buy a cake. There are several fabulous cake shops on Cầu Dất, so that's where we went...

Stunning cakes! Katie chose the purple one and it was personalised...

After dropping the cake off at the SingSing, we then went to Cát Bi market to buy snack food for the party and have dinner.   I'm so glad the boys were with us - they knew what people would like. For dinner we tried something different. Even Hải and Hiếu hadn't eaten this before... rice pancake parcels with prawns and pork and other yumness steamed and served with a great sauce...

It doesn't look like much, but I think I have a new favourite! Bánh Bột Luc  (at least I think that's what it was called!) - too delicious!!! The green pawpaw salad with pork sausage was excellent too!  I'll be back at that lady's stall next year for sure! When we sat down, she asked the boys about us (like they do...) and when she found out that I am 62 she wanted to know if I suffered from back and knee pain - because she is years younger and in pain all the time. How blessed am I with good health!  Mind you, I'm not surprised she has a sore back and painful knees, for she sits on a tiny little stool for hours every day tending her business, so the strain on her body must take its toll. I only sit on a tiny little stool when I'm eating street food  haha!

It's amazing how time gets away... Hiếu and Hải dropped us off with just 20 minutes to shower and change for the party...then picked us up again and took us to SingSing to set up for our guests while they went and bought drinks ... bless them - they know where to go and what to get and we don't have to worry for they take care of everything for us.

Dịu and Luyền arrived early to help get everything ready... and they bought gifts !

Katie with her girls.

Our guests began to gather and the singing began...
Thương, Ngọc, Tuyền, Graham and Lee Farrell

We got off to a happy, but slow start, till darling Tuyền jumped up and enthusiastically got the party started... and then the dancing began  haha!

Katie blew out her candles while we all sang Happy Un-Birthday ...

 ...and drank a toast!

Thành dropped in to say hello - lovely to see him!

Hiếu, Long and Tùng (who is off to Japan in the new year!!!!)

Tùng and Tuấn Anh with beautiful Josie Giacomelli

Delighted that Tiến is still in town!

So many dear, dear friends!

Thảo, Tiến, Tuyền, Hùng and Tiến

Trang and Mý with Trung and his wife.

Such a great night. Katie rated it the best birthday ever!  We are truly blessed to have such wonderful friends. It was our pleasure to thank them with this party! And even though we didn't tell most of them about Katie's "Un-Birthday" she still was blessed with all these presents!

For several of our guests we realised that this would be the last time we would see them this year as work commitments keep them busy and we are leaving on Thursday. In particular, my dear friends Tiến and Tuyền were scheduled for a training cruise this week and will probably not get back to port on Thursday in time to see us off. It seemed unreal saying goodbye to them, because I'm not at all in the farewell headspace....


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