MY birthday is almost over and except for me the house is sleeping. We are in our new flat, finally have internet and a phone line and are starting to feel more settled. I just wanted everything to be done by today, so that I could have my birthday as a goal to relax and enjoy our new place but of course, as Dwight Schrute of “The Office” says, “If onlys and justs were candies and nuts, then every day would be Erntedankfest.” (Even in Germany, not every day is Erntedankfest, unfortunately).
I did have a nice day however, and although it did not snow, I enjoyed the winter spirit when I went downtown briefly to pick up some Thai food for dinner. My longstanding tradition of Chinese food (Sweet and Sour Pork for me always) on my birthday was broken today. Even Rijen was shocked and really wanted to make sure that I was OK with the variation. “How long have you done this on your birthday?” “As long as I can remember,” I told him. At least, as long as I can remember celebrating December birthdays with Steffan.
My reasoning was this: I didn’t want to take the time to go out to eat, and just wanted take out (zum Mitnehmen). I have been more impressed with the Thai food here over the Chinese food, and I feel that Sweet and Sour Pork just isn’t that great in take-out form. Plus, although I intend on keeping the tradition, it really isn’t the same when it is just Rijen and myself sharing 2 or possible 3 entrees. I miss the original way it was back in San Jose when I ordered Sweet and Sour Pork, Steffan always had the Broccoli Beef, Mom had the Cashew Chicken and Dad was the wild card, but usually got something with shrimp or snow peas. I am OK now though to postpone the real birthday tradition to a time when hopefully our family is bigger and can have a fun variety or celebrating my birthday with more friends/family.
Fiona woke me up this morning with a big smile (much like the one above) and a demonstration of all 3 of her baby languages. Her repeated consonants, her parseltongue like sounding sibilant tones and my favorite, the bobble bobble. The other highlight of the day was an apron from my friend Melinda and getting to see and talk to Sara on Skype. Little Sam sounded so excited to talk to me on my birthday and sang me the alphabet instead of Happy Birthday. That was OK with me though.
When I think of what I did with the last year of my life, it doesn’t seem like I amounted to much. I feel like most of the year was spent waiting. Waiting to find out about the move, waiting until the school year was over after going back to work, waiting to visit family, waiting for the packers to come, waiting to get on the plane, waiting in our hotel….Finally it is over and it is December. I actually began to feel significantly depressed about this, but then realized that almost the whole year was spent with my new daughter. Looking at her, she is my best accomplishment this year and ever. Each day is a discovery for her and I love being there for every new moment. The pictures are some of my favorites from a hike we took together in Garmisch. I miss you all and hope that after over a month of non communication that we can feel connected again. I hope to catch up on what we have been doing in future posts. And if anyone does go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant, and you happen to order Sweet and Sour Pork, then think of me.