Though I am living in a country far, far away, all of my peeps both here and abroad made me feel very special for by 31st birthday! =) First, Gordon took us on a Magical Mystery Tour (literally) of Liverpool for a surprise birthday weekend! =) Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2008, L-pool was up to its eyeballs in museums, cathedrals, awesome architecture, Beatles-related sights, and- well- cranes. There’s a lot of construction that goes along with being a capital of culture, it seems, but sometimes even cranes can look really cool if you have enough of them! We stayed in a lovely hotel right by the water and had a fantasic view from the 9th floor of the docks and/or fog, depending on the weather. =) My highlight was our tour, which took us to some of the houses where the Beatles were born and/or have lived as well as to Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. Penny Lane has always been in my ears, but now it’s in my eyes, too!
My actual birthday fell on the Monday, so I went to work. =) I arrived to a stack of birthday cards and I even had a few prizes! Notably a cool book about a motorcycle trip through New Zealand and lots of packs of stickers (thanks, Jo!) and a paua shell necklace from the consultants for whom I work. Totally unexpected to have so many well wishes at work, but really appreciated! Made me feel quite special! I also had calls from people in the US and Britain, some sweet e-mails and e-cards, a very fancy homemade card and prizes from my mom- the queen of die-cutting, and had a beautiful bouquet of tropical flowers delivered from my brother and sister-in-law in Atlanta! All of you guys are awesome! A huge THANK YOU to everyone! =)
My birthday is a big holiday here- it’s Guy Fawkes Day (sometimes called Bonfire Night) where traditionally little kids make effigies of Guy Fawkes (the dude who famously conspired to blow up the Houses of Parliament 402 years ago), they get put on a big bonfire (the effigies, not the kids! What kind of country do you think this is?!?!), and then there are fireworks. (Recently there has been controversy about burning Guy- see one article here.) “Remember, remember, the 5th of November,” they say. There is also a tooth-threatening kind of toffee made with treacle and black carbon paste, a small quantity of which my cultural ambassador Jo was kind enough to procure for me. Actually quite good, though sickeningly sweet, as one might imagine. (Do I have to plant something green to offset my black carbon paste footprint?) So Jo and Jess (another City Council friend) came over for a little pasta (see recipe here) and apple crumble, which Jo made (delicious!), then we all took hot chocolate to go and headed off to see the fireworks at the Forest Recreation Ground. It was crazy! Hundreds of people, a giant fire, and a bunch of fairground rides! Always a fun adventure to have fireworks for your birthday! =) Afterward Gordon, Jess, and I went to a small club to see Jess’s friend’s band, who extended birthday greetings between poppy punk tunes. Rockin’! Who could ask for a better birthday? So official thanks to all of my peeps- you guys are so sweet to remember little ol’ me! And just think- next year my birthday will be in the summer and you're all invited to celebrate it in New Zealand! =)