I am a social butterfly, and if I have an excuse to host a party or schedule an outing, I jump on it. That is usually the case with my birthday, but this year it just didn’t work out that way. With Granny’s passing and new teammates coming in, life was pretty much a whirlwind during this time.
What happened instead? I was greatly blessed to see the fruit of beautiful Peruvian friendships in action. This will be a mish-mash of photos, but that is the most perfect way for me to document my last birthday here in my home of Arequipa. I remember Greg and me talking about moving to Peru. At the time we were talking, we were planning to move here with two of his best friends in tow. It may sound selfish, but I felt that it was so unfair to not be moving here with a best friend as well. I will never forget Greg mentioning to me in this moment, “maybe you will meet a Peruvian that will become a best friend.” Almost 6 years later, I have been abundantly blessed by friendships that have cultivated in this time. I couldn’t see it six years ago, but I know that my heart will ache for these dear friends that I shared this chapter of my life with in Arequipa.
I give thanks to God for beautiful friendships, and I give him all glory for providing a circle of people that have loved and cared for me in our time here like sisters and brothers.
January 15… my actual birthday.
Greg usually teaches his theology class at the cafe in the early afternoon. He walked in the house a little early with a huge bouquet of flowers, my favorite chocolates, and a new wallet (I had lost my wallet in a taxi earlier in the week). What a guy!
I went to a Bible study in Sandra’s home that afternoon. I always meet up with Etelvina and Bethany to walk over to her home. Etelvina not only surprised me with a wonderful “snack” of Papa a la Huancaina, but Areli showed up (in the pouring down rain) with my most favorite cake in the city, La Tradicional (from Capriccios), chocolate cake with manjar and chocolate icing. What fun!
I need to mention that in the middle of reading a chapter in Mark, my phone rang twice. I decided to take the call, and what was on the other end? Emilia’s sweet voice singing “Happy Beerthday to you” all in English. I loved it.
The next day, Emilia called me and gave me strict orders to not make plans for Friday lunch. Areli, Paty, and Emilia were scheming behind my back.
Friday came, and the girls took me to eat ceviche (a favorite of Peruvians and a favorite of mine). I missed Paty (family emergency). With Ana in tow, I enjoyed a lovely lunch with my two Peruvian besties: we shared an appetizer, ceviche, and crab empanadas. It was out-of-this-world-good.
Manuela loves to make us a lunch for our birthday present. One week after the 15th, she brought Adobo to the house. It was perfect planning considering I had delayed my plans to make my birthday dessert for this day.
Chase and Briana were sweet to offer and make me a birthday cake. I quickly responded with a “no,” and explained to them that baking is a hobby of mine. I love nothing more than to try a new recipe for my birthday. This year, it was Bakeorbreak’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake that caught my eye. I couldn’t resist… (pretzel crust, peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate syrup and toffee crumbled on top). I will save my review for a later blog post, but I had a ball making the cheesecake, and I was blessed to share it with Manuela, my family, and my new teammates. (I missed sharing with Kyle and Larissa and their family. Thanks Sissa for the cheese cake pan!) Oh… and CUDA employees might have benefitted from the left-overs the next day as well. 🙂
See what I mean by mish-mash? 🙂 Greg always laughs at me when I refer to celebrating my “Birth Month.” It actually felt like such a celebration this year! Bring it on Year 33…