Last Wednesday was my 35th birthday. Yeap… I’m an old lady. Had to go to work early that day, so I got up at 6:00 am. Took a shower, feeling nothing special about today. To be honest, I felt a little mushy. Couldn’t help but thinking how great it would be if I were home. Jakarta, I mean… with my family and friends. But wait a minute… this is my home now. And I do have my own family. Hubby, the kids, and Max. Although I don’t have ‘friends‘ like back home’s friends, I know some people here. Yikes, started to sound really pathetic.

This day was also my daughter’s first day of school being over, but the summer program hasn’t started til the next day. So she’s staying home with dad, and not to make our son jealous, he’s staying home too. As I was pulling out from the drive way, around 6:50am, the sky was kind of grey and gloomy. Great. Will it be the theme for my birthday today?
The neighborhood was spookily quiet. The grass and the road were wet, from the hard rain last night. The air felt a little heavy. Funnily enough, so did my heart.

Oh, this is bull! I scolded myself. Get it together…
So I lit up my cigarette and turned the radio on. Axl Rose was singing his heart out with ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’. Oh for crying out loud… I’m not close to death yet, I don’t want to hear this on my birthday. Trying to cheer myself up, I pulled out Amy Winehoouse CD and blast ‘Rehab’ up.

“They tried to make me go to rehab
I said no, no, no.
Yes I been black, but when I come back
You won’t know, know, know…”



Arrived at the clinic about 7:05 am. Parking lot was empty. Yayy… I got to park super close to the door. Just in case it’ll rain later, I thought. Walked in to my desk, all the lights were still off. I have not felt eerie walking in to our dark clinic before as the early person; but I don’t know, today I felt different. As I was getting stuff ready for the clinic to open at 8:00 am, more people were coming. Doctors, nurses, techs, and receptionists. Nobody knew it was my birthday. But since I had already planned to buy treats for people at work (whatever happens to the birtday person getting the goodies?), I ran to HyVee real quick to get donuts and some fruits. I actually was hoping that nobody at work would remember, but in case that somebody does. First question they’ll ask would be, “Where’s the treat?” 

Made it back to the office just in time before we start seeing patients. One of the nurses saw me with the goodies on my hand, and yelped, “Is it your birthday today? That’s right… Dr W was telling me that.” So of course, I got ‘write up’; meaning it’s being announced to everybody in the office that it’s my birthday. Wishes and greetings were pouring in, even few attempts of singing the birthday song. Exactly at 8:40 am, hubby and the kids called and they sang ‘Happy Birthday’ on the phone. I could tell that they just woke up and feeling guilty about forgoting to wish Mommy on her special day before she left for work! Although my son did whisper sleepily to me the night before, “Happy birthday tomorrow, Mommy.” So after they sang the song, hubby asked if they could take me out for lunch today. And I could pick the restaurant *woo hoo!*

 quail in nanking sauce sweet n spicy salmon squid fried rice

Of course, I opted for Bali Satay House, the Indonesian restaurant here. The kids and hubby picked me up at work at noon, then we’re off to the restaurant. We ordered big for lunch: fried spring rolls and fried tofu for appetizers, bihun goreng (thin rice noodle) and dara panggang (quail in nanking sauce) for the kids to share, sweet and spicy grilled salmon (with sambal terasi) for hubby, and nasi goreng cumi (squid fried rice) with extra telor ceplok (over hard fried egg) for myself. For dessert, the kids were having jus alpukat (avocado shake). I was so full afterwards, I didn’t want to go back to work. I just want to take a nap…

Back to work, I found two birthday cards were laid on my desk. One was hand made, the other was Hallmark’s by my fellow receptionist. The hand made one was sign by a lot of people at work; with some interesting messages/greetings that I posted here under ‘Precious Sayings’  side bar.  Sarah, our medical record girl, made the card by using a Tootsie Roll, a Dums Dums sucker, paper clips, and ‘Sign Here’ post-it to form my name. Then she copied it into a yellow stationery paper, and accessorize it with one of her fancy ribbon. I was very pleased to received it. Along with the hand made card, I received a big Cheetos.  This surprises me because I thought nobody was paying any attention to my ‘rituals’. From time to time in the afternoon, I visited the vending machine to get a snack. I usually told the other receptionists that I’d be just a few minutes away from my desk ‘to get my afternoon Vitamin C booster’. I meant Cheetos.

Done with work at 4:00 pm. Went home to get Dante for gymnastics. When I walked into our house, I saw this pink box laying on the dining table with two cards next to it. Gasp!

“Guys! You didn’t!” I yelped.
“Yes, we diiiid…” Hubby said.
“But I told you not to, because I bought myself a massage for tomorrow.”
“Mommy, we have a surprise for youuu,” Davi said.
Her face was beaming, being the first who ‘delivered’ the news.
Then came along Dante, running to me from his room.
“Mommy… mommy… we got you a new camera!”
Surprised spoiled.
“DANTE!!!!!” Davi screamed frustratedly, then tears came falling down.
“Oh honey, what’s the matter? Why so upset?” I asked.
“Well, it supposed to be a surprise for you. Daddy told me not to tell, and Dante too. But he didn’t listen and spoiled the surprise. And now he’s the first who told me about your present,” Davi just went on and on.
“Ha… ha… I told Mommy,” Dante teased.

After settling the kids down, I opened the present and let out a big ‘WHOA!’. Been dreaming of any brand of an SLR camera for quite some time, I was given Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi. Sweeeet!

At night, before going to bed, I checked my email, and found more birthday wishes from home.

It was not a bad birthday after all…