And then the second half of my day happened.
At my first private lesson yesterday with my two 13-year-olds Ellie and Natalie (or so I'll call them on the blog), I wasn't going to tell them that it was my birthday. Class started and I asked them both what they did over the weekend. From this starting point the conversation jumped around: Natalie told me that she's been using her dad's old cell phone without his knowledge (if she passes all her classes this semester, then her parents will give it to her). Ellie told me about her handball practice last weekend. Natalie's 29-year-old math teacher is more like a friend than a teacher. And so on.
And then the girls started talking about birthdays. They quizzed each other on the dates of each others' birthdays. Then they were talking about Natalie's younger brother's birthday. Their parents' birthdays, etc. Pretty soon I started laughing to myself, and the girls look at me thinking what's so funny? So I tell them.
After wishing me a happy birthday, they each pulled my ear 23 times! Apparently that's a Spanish birthday tradition.
Later at Pablo's house, one of my 8-year-old students, again I didn't say anything about my birthday. We practiced using some of his new vocabulary (countryside, waterpark, town, football match, beach, etc.) while reviewing the first verb he's learned in past tense (was/were). I would ask him where certain people were last week, or if he was at the waterpark last month, etc. And then the following conversation took place:
R: Were you at the beach last weekend?
P: No I wasn't.
R: Where were you last Saturday?
P: I was countryside.
R: Ah, you were at the countryside.
P: Yes, I was at the countryside.
R: Where was your brother last Saturday?
P: He was at the countryside.
R: And Pablo, where was I last Saturday?
P: You were at the countryside.
R: I was? No I wasn't!
P: (laughing) Yes you were, Rebecca! But you are sleep! You no remember!
Pablo then grabs a piece of paper and continues the story. He drew the car in which he, his brother, and his parents drove to the countryside. Then alongside the car he drew a train. He said I was running back and forth on the train, as he drew long red lines back and forth inside the train. I was running back and forth because... monkey were chasing me. And they were chasing me because I had three bananas! He took a yellow highlighter to draw three bananas in the train.
He was getting pretty excited, and then flipped the paper over to make another story. He drew a huge rectangle and asked me how to say "cake" in English. Then he started drawing candles, wrote the number "21" on top of the cake, and said it was my birthday. I must have given him a weird look -- because I'm wondering why on earth he goes from monkeys chasing me on a train in the countryside to my birthday on my birthday without knowing it's my birthday. Phew, okay, where was I. So when I make this weird look, he hesitates for a minute, then erases the 1 and makes it say "22". I didn't correct him, and let him continue the story. He said my parents forced the whole cake into my mouth, then I turned into a one-eyed monster, which he saw at the cinema in the countryside last Saturday.
So the topic of birthdays appeared in both of my private lessons last night, on my birthday, without me saying anything.
When I got home last night, my roommate Alex asked if I was going out or staying in that night. I told him I was staying in, and he said good, because I'm making you a birthday dinner.
So when Jacqui (his wife, my other roommate) got home from work, we had dinner together: fajitas!
|Jacqui and I|
|Alex and I|
We were all full after dinner, chatting at the table. Then Alex disappeared in the kitchen for a minute.
He came back out with this and they started to sing...
|A birthday treat with candles!|
The dinner had already been a pleasant surprise for me last night. Then a birthday cake with candles! Now it had felt like a birthday. I was super happy and thankful. Then while we were eating the cake, they gave me a regalo (present)!
|A present to open!|
It was a cute, springy wallet from Blanco, and it will always remind me of my 23rd birthday in Madrid.
I am so lucky to live with such great people, and I'm very grateful for my family and friends.