To be honest, I was really dreading my 23rd birthday. I thought the day was going to be hard for me. Although it would be my second birthday spent in Costa Rica, it would be my first-ever without my parents.
I was proved wrong, as this birthday turned out to be one of the most special I remember in a long time. It was filled with special moments and thoughtful surprises that reminded me that even far from home, I am still surrounded by people who care about me.
I was kind of bummed when the town student art festival was scheduled on my birthday. My sixth grade class had written and performed a skit that won the drama portion of the school art festival and this meant they would be moving on to compete in the town's student art festival on the 1st. This meant they'd spend the day in Cóbano performing and then waiting for the results. Why was I bummed? Because the students in this class are the ones who show the most affection for me probably since this is my second year teaching them. I wanted to be around people who would hug me and make me smile (plus I thought they might actually remember it was my birthday!)
On Wednesday day, the day before my birthday, one of my sixth grade babies brought me a birthday surprise a: coffee cup with my name on it! That was such a thoughtful gesture of her, and I actually like it. I remember that gift shops would rarely have souvenirs with my name on them when I was younger, but now I have my own cup.
|Thank you for my cup!|
That thought about only sixth graders remembering-- yeah I was wrong. I woke up on Thursday morning to find two e-cards in my inbox from a co-worker. The thought of someone remembering me and taking the time to find and send an e-card made me smile. I had also received a birthday cat and a birthday dog. Leave it to my mom to buy party hats just for the sake of sending pictures and FaceTiming on my b-day.
Thursday morning I left my room to sign in at the office, as I do every morning. I was gone a maximum of 5 minutes. I came back to my room to find this on my desk:
Turns out that this nuttella-frosted brownie slice, was left on my desk by an unsuspecting fifth grader of mine.
Then as the students started to come in for the day, another one of my fifth graders gave me a lovely bundle of chocolate goodies.
I guess that was just a hint of what my fifth-graders had up their sleeves...
Side note: I had plans to go out of town (but still in Costa Rica) on a mission trip the following week, so this Thursday I was giving the substitute the low-down on this particular day. Later I found out, that they had asked her to "keep me occupied" during lunch.
Alright, alright, I knew that something was up when I headed back to my classroom during lunch to grab my water-bottle and one of my students jumped in my way with a cheerful "let me go bring your water bottle to you." Don't mind if you do. But I really, truly didn't expect all that my fifth grade class did for me.
Heading back from lunch with my substitute, I was thrown off to see my classroom door closed. My door is open 99% of the time. Then I realized they had not only put a welcome sign for our substitute (who they were very excited to me), but they had also put a birthday sign on the door for me. Awwww.
When I stopped to pose for this picture, I could hear the bass of music pumping from inside of my room. Definitely not coming from my computer speakers...
Well, I opened the door to see and empty room except for my desk covered in treats of all sorts including a cake, homemade guacamole, and pico de gallo, just to name a few.
All of my students jumped out from under my desk and rushed to hug me. It was so cute. I actually don't think I've ever had a surprise birthday party until now. The whiteboard was covered with messages and with all their names. Remember the thumping of music I heard? One of my students had brought his big speaker and computer and was playing DJ for our party.
|I really was surprised!|
The class party was great. We had plenty to eat, and I just couldn't get over the fact that my students had actually planned this and kept it a secret from me! We ended our party by going outside to play "red rover" which I had taught them the previous day (they LOVE that game!)
Later, during the 1:30 recess, the Director's assistant came into my room and said the director needed to speak with me and that my substitute should come too. Stuff like that makes me nervous. I was thinking, oh no, what if he's changed his mind about my trip next week and I can't go?! As the substitute and I were walking to the office she said "this is like walking the plank." For real.
Well, we were led into the director's office, where I was once again surprised! There were all of my co-workers waiting and a big cake sitting on the director's desk. I was completely shocked!
This is not abnormal. From time to time when a staff member has a birthday, we all get called out of class, usually the birthday person last and gather to have a little treat. Normally we all gather in the lunchroom, so going in the office threw me off. But honestly, the last thing I was expected when I walked in there was a surprise cake! I know the birthday routine now, but when it was my turn, I still got completely caught off guard!
As if my daytime celebrations weren't enough, my friends Amy, Joe, and I went out for more celebrations. Not much to do here in Montezuma, but we still had fun.
And to my surprise (yet again), after we got back from town, there was a birthday cake at Amy's house that the two of them had made for me. What great friends! They went to the trouble to make me a cake. :)
And if as those 3 surprise birthday cakes weren't enough, I was surprised with yet another one from my Daddy our first night in San Ramón. (and there went that diet...)
I'm thankful that my 23rd birthday proved my pessimistic expectations wrong! I am so blessed by all of those who remembered me and made me feel special and loved. GRACIAS.