It’s the year we (ok I) have been dreading. The big one. 40. Thankfully Josh is taking one for the team first. This being a big one, I really wanted to make it special for Josh. But I found it to be a struggle. I wanted us to go somewhere for a few days, but then there were personal things that came up that made us rethink spending the money on 2 trips – one for each of our birthdays. We thought we’d go on one trip some time in April – only April is in another week and between our availability, our babysitter, visitors, etc – that’s not going to happen either. We’ve got both kids birthdays and then a surprise trip with Liam and Josh at the end of the month, so we’ll postpone the trip to perhaps June. Anyways, I still wanted to make it a special day and found this to be difficult. And it was difficult because even though I’m comfortable in our little village, I really don’t know Amsterdam at all and what it has to offer, especially for a big birthday like this. Ok, I should say beyond the obvious of what Amsterdam has to offer so far as drinking, pot and sex. This is where living somewhere for a while would really be of benefit! I tried and failed with several big gifts – primarily because they just weren’t available to the mass market yet or I couldn’t find them here. We talked about doing a spa weekend for his birthday. But then he found out he was going to Singapore the day after his birthday. I seriously can’t win on this one. In the end we settled for dinner out as a family on his big day and we opened gifts the night before. The spa and getaway weekend are still in the works, but a TBD date on them.
As his birthday was on Friday, Josh had to go to work. This is the first birthday we’ve celebrated in our new country and the traditions here are different than that of the US and Spain. Birthdays are huge here. Like everyone has a birthday calendar and interestingly, it’s placed in the bathroom. So when you are doing your business you can also see who’s birthday is coming up I guess??? Unlike in the US where your co-workers present you with a cake to celebrate your birthday, here it is the custom that YOU bring your own cake or goodies to share with the office. Since everyone’s birthday is on record in the office (at least that’s my understanding), it’s considered to be offensive if you skip out on this.
So Josh actually went out and picked up some goodies and sent the following email:
Spring is in the air and you don’t want to miss the super moon & solar eclipse today.
It also happens to be my birthday.
To celebrate the celestial events of today and share my lucky charms, there is something sweet near the coffee machine on each floor.
Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold beer-and another one!
You’re not as young as you used to be.
You’re not as old as you’re going to be.
So watch it!
May your liquor be cold,
May your women be hot.
And may your troubles slide off of you
slicker than snot
To all the days here and after
May they be filled with fond memories, happiness, and laughter.
May the winds of fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea.
May it always be the other guy
who says, “this drink’s on me.”
What he loved about work that day is that everyone, in Dutch tradition, shook hands with him and congratulated him on his birthday. People went out of their way to stop by his office and shake his hand. He said it was a really nice tradition and it made him really feel a part of the culture here.
As I mentioned, the kids and I met up with Josh to take him out to dinner. Unfortunately we’ve all been sick over the last 2 weeks so I can’t say we were all at our best 😦 But we had a lovely evening feasting on seafood at a little bar – restaurant called the Seafood Bar. While the service started out poor (but ended great), the food was fabulous and we were all in a little bit of seafood heaven – Josh’s favorite.
While it wasn’t totally the way I envisioned the start to his 40th year, I think Josh enjoyed his big day and the promise of a great year to come. Given how 39 went with his commuting to and from Barcelona / Amsterdam, a dislocated knee, a second international move and more, I think that 40 is looking good so far. After all, it started off with great co-workers, fun family time and then a trip to Singapore. Let’s hope the rest of the year continues on this upward trajectory – he most definitely deserves it! Happy birthday Josh! Love, Julie