The confusion was probably brought on because I actually celebrated my birthday on the 3rd at work. The reason being that, in order to prevent myself from sitting at home and crying over a lonely, single piece of birthday cake, I decided to bring a cake to work to
|...oops. Maths. Who needs them?|
Most people work on Saturday, so to optimize my impromptu birthday festivities, I brought the cake in on the 3rd. Plus, it was like a gift to myself - I love cheesecake, it's my birthday. Why shouldn't I have my cake, eat it too, and share it with all my friends? Haha. Once I had explained why I had brought in the cheese cake-y goodness, Jolin asked if they should sing 'Happy Birthday?' I said that was not necessary...until Ania suggested they should sing it in Chinese. My response: LET ME GET MY CAMERA!
Here's a link to the lyrics: Shenri Kuaile. It's pretty much the same song we sing in the US, but it was a cool experience nonetheless.
Then some unexpected things happened. During one of my breaks Ms. Mei (another teacher and supervisor) comes up to me and hands me a pair of fancy hose. 'For you,' she said, 'happy birthday.' I was not expecting that. I told her she didn't have to, but she insisted. I was happy with just that - I never expected any presents. At all. BUT, I also ended up receiving vouchers from Victoria in HR (that paid for my cake), carrot juice from Daisy (it's my new favorite drink), and the cutest mirror from Richard and Tina! It was so unexpected and just really thoughtful of them to do that. For the first time, I think I felt like I belonged....and that was a gift in itself.
|The card is hilariously creepy....see a closeup below.|
|'Even if you can't see me, I can see you.'|
On my actual birthday, I got even more surprises! Ania and I had planned to go to Pizza Hut on the 5th to not only celebrate my birthday, but to have 'you-studied-your-butt-off-for-the-HSK' congratulatory pizza in honor of her taking the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi or the national Chinese Proficiency Test. If she passes (which she probably did), she is qualified to work in or with any Chinese company. She had originally canceled, because her dad all of a sudden needed her to run some quality checks in some of their factories in China, but she had some time after her test before traveling south, so we got to meet up! Also, I know what you are thinking, 'Pizza Hut? That doesn't sound very exciting?' OH BUT IT IS! China's version of Pizza Hut is much crazier than ours. The things they put on their pizzas will astound you. We ordered a stuffed crust pizza - one half had popcorn shrimp on it, the other half had oysters and crab. The popcorn shrimp side was much better....and both of these were considerably tamer than some of the other choices: chicken feet, salmon, corn, etc.
|Not what we ordered, but it has mini hot dogs?!|
And to top it all off, I got to Skype with my entire family. Trust me that is nothing short of a miracle to gather everyone in one place during a specific time. I really appreciated it. Also, more unexpected presents - I say unexpected because I specifically asked for a plane ticket back to the US over the Chinese New Year for birthday and Christmas from my entire family. So sweet of them!
|Possibly the warmest pajamas ever and a book!|
So, I just want to tell everyone that made these last few days really special: Thank you. 谢谢 . I feel so blessed.