Last Monday, 26 November, was my 23rd birthday. To celebrate, I spent the weekend in Jakarta with some friends and returned to my site on Sunday night. I had a great time. We went out at night and restored our energy during the day. On Saturday, we went to the movie theatre and watched Skyfall. I enjoyed the movie, thoroughly; it felt good to watch an action movie on the big screen.
On Monday, I worked on lesson plans for the last week of class. Bu Yanti, one of the vice principals, announced to the entire school that it was my birthday, and all of the teachers and hundreds of students came up to me, shook my hand, and told me "Happy birthday!" It was incredibly sweet. I asked a teacher about the handshaking and he said that this is what is done, traditionally, throughout parts of Asia when it is someone's birthday. He also added that it is like saying, "Congratulations, it's your birthday," with a handshake. Well, thank you!
Bu Yanti showed me some birthday love.
She suggested that we form a heart.
Later, Bu Yanti and I had lunch, and while we were eating, some students asked if they could sing me a song for my birthday. They sang a condensed version of Happy Birthday in four languages: English, Mandarin, Korean, and Indonesian.
In the evening, Jordan, my site mate, took me out to dinner. We dined on fish, shrimp, squid, vegetables, and rice. Then, as a gift, he gave me delicious Van Houten milk chocolate bars, something which I love and have not had in months. It was a great way to end my birthday, which started with a call from my dear mother. As the day came to an end, I thought about how fortunate I am to be surrounded by caring co-workers and friends.
I wrote this on my Facebook profile, and I will share it here: I am grateful for my family and friends in the US, and now here, in Indonesia, as I start my new year. Thank you all.