Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blow Out the Candles and Make a Wish

As you already know, my 24th birthday began early. But that was just the start. My loveable section of girls went all-out. :)

After eating dinner in the comedor with them last night, I had to reassure all the girls a million times that, "Si, voy a bajar." Yes, I'm coming down to the section.  They made me promise to bring my iPod and speakers, and I threw my camera in my bag too -- knowing it would probably come in handy. Irma, Esme, and Melanie dragged me to the clinic with them to take care of a few things "Um, because the tia is, um, busy right now. So she said, um, that you should take us," which meant those three had signed up for distract-Carrie duty, and we eventually made our way down to the Girls' House.

At that point, I was blindfolded, my bag was taken, and they made me wait outside for what seemed like forever. Yaaaaaa???

When I was given the go-ahead, they led me into the section, flipped on the lights, and all screamed SORPRESA! SURPRISE! They cued up Justin Bieber on the iPod speakers (hah) ...and then commenced the cutest party I have ever had the honor of attending.

They'd gotten me a piñata, which was strung up across the room, and we spent the better part of 30 minutes swinging at it. They gave me cards, posters, stuffed animals, a pair of their favorite earrings, and about a thousand and one hugs. When we all sat down at the table, they covered my eyes again, and they brought out TWO cakes they had all helped decorate! Chocolate with vanilla icing and sprinkles and cocoa puffs spelling out "Happy Birthday 24."

They wasted no time in giving me another Guatemalan birthday tradition -- the mordida -- and when I'd wiped my face clean of icing, we enjoyed a feast of cake, chips, juice, and our favorite music. "Carrie just said she likes Taylor Swift. PUT a Taylor Swift song on for her now!!!"

When the food was gone, we cleaned up, and it was time for the girls to go to bed. They walked me to the door and got me with the final birthday tradition, just as I'd almost forgotten about it. Me mojaron. The second I was out the door, they were ready with jugs, pitchers, bowls, and basins of freezing cold water mixed with sand. And I didn't stand a chance. They absolutely drenched me in freezing, sandy water. A couple of  buenas noches later, and they headed to bed while I headed home to another cake with friends...and another mordida. :)

Hmm. I'm not finding myself very content with this blog post, because I don't think it really did yesterday's festivities any justice. And while the photos are GREAT (Fidelia is hands-down the best 13 year-old photographer I know), I don't think they really nail it either. I guess I'll just leave it at this:

I get that you're supposed to wish on birthday wishes for things you wish you had, things you hope for in the next year, things you can only dream about. But when I was sitting at that table, cake in front of me, surrounded by 20 little girls all telling me to blow out the candles and make my deseo, I went totally blank. No matter where I looked -- at them, at the cake, at the torn-to-pieces piñata on the floor -- I couldn't think about anything except where I was and who I was with right then.

 Dania and me
 With Marta, Sindy, and Estela
 Everyone. At this point I was blindfolded, so they kept having to tell me which direction to smile.
 Watch out, Tia Eve!
 Sometimes I managed to attack the piñata, sometimes it managed to attack me.
 Me and Marta
 Looking very nervous knowing the mordida is coming.
 Post-mordida. Yum!
 Loving my birthday glasses and headband.
 So much delicious cake.
 Fidelia, Esme, and Marta definitely enjoy the feast.
 ¡Me mojaron! So freezing.
 So, here's to 24. :)

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