Julie’s Birthday (Posted 12-4-2012)

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago.  Birthdays are celebrated differently in Spain.  The person who is having the birthday is expected to invite their family and/or friends to celebrate with them.  Then, I believe, the expectation is that everyone brings a gift, and it’s a fairly even exchange.

My birthday creates a bit of a dilemma for me as far as the inviting thing is concerned: my dear Spanish friend has a son who shares the same birthday as me.  Thus, I haven’t known whether to invite them to do something anyway, or to just not plan something because she is busy with her son’s special day.

This year I mentioned my dilemma to Chad, and he said, “Just invite them anyway!  They can always say no.”  Within a little while of having that conversation, I received an email from my friend asking if we’d like to have lunch with them that day!

Two days later at church, I told her that we were planning to come.  Her face lit up, and she said that she remembered it was the tradition in the States that your friends invite you for your birthday.  (So thoughtful!)  She told me that they were buying speciality hamburgers, that she was going to the “American” sale at the local grocery store the next day, and that we were going to enjoy an American hamburger lunch for November 14th.


It was a delicious meal and the thoughtfulness behind everything was so special to me.  We had hamburgers, french fries, a special “Big Mac” sauce, cole slaw, cranberry juice, Coca-Cola, brownies.  She even had all the fixings (tomatoes, lettuce, onion, cheese) prepared and ready on the table just like would be done in a house in the US.  Such a treat!  I also brought cupcakes that I had made to complete the American birthday celebration!

Finally, we took a gift to our sweet little friend, who turned 5 that day.  We purchased soccer cards (like baseball cards) and a toy car and wrapped it in a little gift bag.  He waited patiently all through lunch and then couldn’t take it anymore and was ready to open his present.  He was SO thrilled with this small gift.  He thanked us immediately and his joy was evident on his face.  He and his older brother began tearing through the cards and exclaiming over exciting ones.  A little while later, I went over and sat next to them to see what all the excitement was about, and he looked up at me with his adorable face, smiled, and thanked me again.  So precious!

On top of my amazing lunch, I enjoyed receiving notes from friends, new and old, all over the world, two special packages, and an electric fondue pot from my husband and inlaws!  I was reminded this day how blessed I am and how rich my life truly is.

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