I don't look 29 now do I? Be honest!
In the Western world, people fear growing old but where I come from, people grow old gracefully, and growing old is prestigious. I have always wanted to have a birthday party. Growing up in a family of many siblings birthdays were a simple affair. Many times we remembered to wish each other 'Happy Birthday' and that was it. I was 14 when I received my first birthday card from my sister Beatrice; I still have that card in my military trunk in my Mum's house in Uganda. I must commend my sister Beatrice; she never forgets a birthday or anniversary: being the little sister it was easy to follow in her foot steps and even exceed her role in remembrance and gift giving. When I was able, I began giving gifts and cards to each of my siblings on their birthdays. I still do except one of my sisters who has made loving her challenge. Did I mention I come from a big African family? Well I do and the love in it is something you don't see everyday. Today my sister Beatrice sent me a text message all the way from Uganda saying "Happy birthday my dear! Looking forward 2 seeing you soon! God bless u always.
Bie". Coming all the way across the miles makes this even more the special, if only you knew what a sister she is. She is always the voice of reason and that girlfriend any girl needs to have. My first birthday party was when I actually turned 28 years old (2001) and my daughter had turned a year old. My boyfriend then, Don, and I, organized a party at my house in Ntinda where I lived then. Don worked for the USAID in my country as the EXO and was such a darling. His friend Jerry who I had met before I dated him had been instrumental in helping put together a list of friends to invite. My girlfriend Agnes helped with the logistics and ordering of the birthday cake. Don helped with the purchases since he had a car and could carry crates of Soda and beer. That year my friend Robert who works for the CDC was in Kampala for a short period of time, so he joined me and was the photographer for the evening snapping those shots that get people unawares. This (July 02, 2009) is the second birthday party I have had since I was born and it stands to tell of how little I celebrate that day. In my adult years I did not celebrate much in honour of my late brother Henry who we buried on my birthday in 1996. He was very close to me and died in my arms after a long illness. His death affected me for many years as he continued to appear in my dreams.
The years have gone by and the dreams of him have slowly gone away. This year after such a struggle for survival from a bad heart condition, I was happy to celebrate life and life to it's full. It is amazing how little we appreciate what we take for granted - the breath we have in us. It was literally a one day decision for me to have a party, the best person to contact regarding invitations was my SAAC meet up leader Boyd, who instantly posted my invitation and I had 16 people immediately to join in my celebration: Click here to access the meetup.com link to my birthday (http://www.meetup.com/thesaac/calendar/10765183/), unfortunately Boyd and his girlfriend Christie could not make it he sent me a message that read " Sorry we can't make it Harriett, we are just too swamped here at the house :-( Happy birthday though!! Hey, did you know that your birthday party is our 500th event?!?!!?" Awesome! I had my old time friend Tim from the National observatory, and Tom a colleague from work join in outside of the meet up. A total of 20 fun loving people who gave time to celebrate with me, how endearing indeed. My two Closest Tucson TB and SAAC girlfriends Nikki and Sue joined me too.
My favorite bottle of wine: Turn me Red
My list of cocktail snacks included Leprechaun sausage and Italian tomatoes, sweet ham and green olives, sautéed mushrooms, fresh baby carrots and dill tip, boneless baby pork ribs, vegetable rolls, Italian crackers, Swiss cheese, red grapes, strawberries, cream cheese wraps with sweet mandarin sauce and Gouda cheese.
The invitation to participants indicated everyone was to carry a bottle of Red wine (No California wines), my favorite wines include South African, Italian and Argentinean wines. I know I have been tasting a lot of Chilean wines, but I have not added that to my favourite list yet. The red theme was dominant and I provided African music which played well until I had the room full and busy before the disc began cutting the songs. At the end, it was all good.
A heart all the way from Den Bosch from my friend Toon
Travbuddies who attended included: Nikki (www.travbuddy.com/ ) and Sue (www.travbuddy.com/ArizonaIndigenous), and for the overwhelming birthday messages I got, I want to thank the TBs who sent them, they include the following people: Edwin (www.travbuddy.com/vanhalme), Roger (www.travbuddy.com/x-drive), Melanie (www.travbuddy.com/mellemel8), Rini (www.travbuddy.com/rintjez), Berlin (www.
travbuddy.com/Good_shepherd), Jennifer (www.travbuddy.com/jenn79), Alice (www.travbuddy.com/alicegourment), Margie (www.travbuddy.com/margie_adventure), Gianina (www.travbuddy.com/gianina007), Lex (www.travbuddy.com/applesandcandy), Mark (www.travbuddy.com/travelman727), Adrian (www.travbuddy.com/acowboy), Joseph (www.travbuddy.com/darkinvader143), Jose (www.travbuddy.com/jendara), Dalmia (www.travbuddy.com/Dalmia), Wendy (www.travbuddy.com/Wendyweer), Joanne (www.travbuddy.com/Flyinhigh), Mellisa (www.travbuddy.
Some of the presents - red wines
com/melissawong), Julie (www.travbuddy.com/pinchora), Heidy (www.travbuddy.com/heidykaz25), Sandy (www.travbuddy.com/azsalsa), Nis (www.travbuddy.com/copernicusty), Jenn and Jeff (www.travbuddy.com/jennjeff1), Dianne (www.travbuddy.com/pale_beetle), Anita (www.travbuddy.com/aelder2259), Jos (www.travbuddy.com/joost1976), Michael (www.travbuddy.com/mkrh), Wade (www.travbuddy.com/wade5000), Yi Shao (www.travbuddy.com/yishao), Dan (www.travbuddy.com/Dancr), Dan (www.travbuddy.com/rotorhead85), Britt(www.
The ladies honoured my wish for RED
travbuddy.com/williamsworld), Roselle (www.travbuddy.com/row-zzzzz), Sven (www.travbuddy.com/svenman99), Petra (www.travbuddy.com/petra2111), Stephanie (www.travbuddy.com/transitory), JC (www.travbuddy.com/john1112), Eric (www.travbuddy.com/Eric), Terry (www.travbuddy.com/Terry7878), Joy (www.travbuddy.com/pvtjoy), Jeremy (www.travbuddy.com/Vulindlela), Lauro (www.travbuddy.com/Lauro), Judy (www.travbuddy.com/Hummingbird), Sue (www.travbuddy.com/ArizonaIndigenous), Jos (www.travbuddy.com/jos-nijenhuis), Yanti (www.
Mark, Marie, Roger, Lars, Barbara and me
travbuddy.com/Yantisoeparno), Carlos (www.travbuddy.com/Montecarlostar), Maricar (www.travbuddy.com/Mariz_sublime), Chris (www.travbuddy.com/Kurisu), Ian (www.travbuddy.com/Aussieusa82), Zdenka (www.travbuddy.com/Kalita-piskot), Dennis (www.travbuddy.com/dennis_d), Murat (www.travbuddy.com/Bluetraveler), Adel (www.travbuddy.com/iodized_96), Jim (www.travbuddy.com/blenderboy), Walter (www.travbuddy.com/gemini59), Yadi (www.travbuddy.com/Yadilitta) through Facebook, Maike (www.travbuddy.com/Globevoyager), Mickey (www.
Mark and I
travbuddy.com/tj1777), Mandy (www.travbuddy.com/PerfectiiOn), Andy (www.travbuddy.com/Andy99), Mark (www.travbuddy.com/marksreynorlds), Mike (www.travbuddy.com/geokid), Bernard (www.travbuddy.com/bernard69), Vanessa (www.travbuddy.com/vanessa_mun_yee), Kora (www.travbuddy.com/koralifix), Bill (www.travbuddy.com/oldschoolbill), Scott (www.travbuddy.com/snyderScottA), Fe (www.travbuddy.com/Fayemin), Francis (www.travbuddy.com/Fransglobal), Sonya (www.travbuddy.com/sonya), James (www.travbuddy.
Tom and I
com/pearcetoyou), Jeremy (www.travbuddy.com/festerwretch), Darya (www.travbuddy.com/shunya), Sandy (www.travbuddy.com/hotchick21), Liz (www.travbuddy.com/Quest), Marius (www.travbuddy.com/marius1981), Nicander Van Duijn (www.travbuddy.com/Ape), Debbie (www.travbuddy.com/diverbed), Donna Christine (www.travbuddy.com/donnats), Simsim (www.travbuddy.com/justasimsim), Jacqueline (www.travbuddy.com/jacqinmiddenamerika), John (www.travbuddy.com/jonyb66), Biedjee (www.travbuddy.com/biedjee), Scott (www.travbuddy.com/snyderScottA), Erin (www.
Nikki and I
travbuddy.com/poohstanggt) through Facebook, David (www.travbuddy.com/David) through Facebook, Vance (www.travbuddy.com/vance), Bart (www.travbuddy.com/) through Facebook, Jessica (www.travbuddy.com/jessica0606) on Facebook, John (www.travbuddy.com/pensacolapyro), and Carla (www.travbuddy.com/cvanzoen)
Sue, Nikki, Me, Mike, Barbara and Roger
I did have a happy birthday indeed, my gratitude to all who made the wish; your wish came true for me. Wishes do come true indeed. I did get a few long distance phone calls that I was not expecting from the following people: Anita (my sister who is in Morocco right now), Luis (my friend in Argentina, Elizabeth (a card and phone call from Schondorf, Germany), Stephen (from Australia), Brendan (from Ireland), and Mark (from Amsterdam). Text messages are a whole different story, I felt like a high school student with one of those high tech cell phones on which they seem to only text and never call or receive phone calls.
My Tucson friends from the meet up and work sent so many text messages, I'm still trying to figure out a way of downloading them onto my laptop, with any luck I will. In the meantime, I felt loved.
Marie, me and my colleague Tom
Happy Birthday indeed! Happy Viewing.