Happy Birthday to me!
It is my birthday – my favorite day of the year. And it was truly a very happy birthday. I couldn’t fall asleep last night since palpitations decided to make themselves known and, I guess, I was a bit worried for today, but they were manageable again by morning and it all turned out well. And the weather started out rainy and by 11am for all blue skies and sunny and about 28C (82F) and very hot, just my kind of weather.
I woke up and read a bit until my parents woke up, pulled my ears and gave me lots of presents. Mama got me a pearl necklace from Novica, the same type as I got Sveta only in my stone. Papa got me a Russian biography of Catherine the Great and printouts of the presents waiting for me at home including a Soviet Moscow Olympics coin for the year of my birth, W. Somerset Maugham’s “Theatre,” soundtrack to “(500) Days of Summer,” and Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution Cookbook” (Uncle Tolya mentioned that he is on TV in Belarus too). I also opened Bear’s card, that he gave me before I left, and it was perfect: he found one with a polar bear holding flowers with a big heart and inside Bear wrote a mushy message.
In the kitchen were three white-pink roses with a card and diamond-shaped pendant with a blue stone from my Aunt’s whole family. I wore it today with my violet summer shirt.( picture of my roses )
After a breakfast of omelet, we left under umbrella’s for Katya’s to pick them up to go to Park Gorkogo or Gorky Park. That part has lots of amusement rides for kids and it was always a favorite of mine. Not to mention the trees and woods are pretty too. So I saved the excursion there until my birthday. And that was loads of fun. We walked to it along the river back first and through another leafy park. Rain stopped by the then and it was a lovely walk with not a lot of people around. We got to Gorky Park right after 10:30, walked toward the rides and waited until 11 for the rides to open (you pay per ride). This is what we did:
• Bumper cars – I was going pretty fast there. Papa skipped this time. Still this one is always fun
• Ferris Wheel – not as scary as it used to be since the cabins are now fully closed. Well, one can go in one where you are just strapped in and your feet dangle but that is too scary for me. I’m not great with certain heights. Was still a bit scary going up even in a closed cabin, not as much going down. The view was amazing, though. Mama skipped this one.
• Swan ride – Mama and Lenya went on this one. A circular ride and you control how high the swan goes.
• Helicopter ride – Katya and Lenya this time. Same principle as the swan but smaller.
• Shooting range – Mama, I, Katya and Lenya all shot from this shooting rifle. We all had five shots, Mama a bit more. I missed all. Mama hit at least three targets, Lenya hit one and came close a few times (and that is with his not brilliant vision).
• Toilet – fun ride into Soviet times with a hole in the ground design and the privilege of paying for it.
• Fun house – Katya, Lenya and I went in a small room filled with fun mirrors. We had an awesome time. I liked the abstract mirror and skinny mirror.
• Soap bubbles – I used to love it as a kid so naturally I got me and Lenya some. We both had loads of fun with it. I got big bubbles out of it and we would try to catch some too.
• Lunch – pancake with mushrooms – a light lunch because of the café later and anticipation of tons of food.
• Boat ride – Mama wanted to go so we all went. Saw baby ducks and some views.( view on the river )
At the end, around 2pm, we stopped by the tall Victory Memorial with the eternal flame outside the park and were trying to figure out how many hero-cities there actually are. We were counting too many on the display. ( I just looked it up – there are 12 plus Brest has a title of Hero-Fortress.
) Then we all caught the metro home. Papa and I got out a stop early to exchange money and I stopped by “Thumbelina,” my childhood toy store. Then we walked home lamenting the heat.
I checked my email – Bear sent me an e-card as well with flowers, hug, cake and love and with a bear in it. I also chatted with Tjamke on Skype, which was fun.
Then I had to take a shower and get ready for the café and my party. My black dress that my parents gave me earlier is just awesome and very pretty. I wore my hair in a sort of low tail and put on my new pearl flower necklace, tan, stockings and heels. We left for the café a little early to find parking and we walked around the area a bit.
All guests arrived rather promptly at seven, which was surprising. We had ten adults and three kids. Tanya and Misha gave me a glass flower and an awesome book on history of Minsk. (The kids and I were examining it later – Lenya and I have love of books on common and it was great to relate to him looking at the book). Sveta gave me another beautiful set – a silver tray with a milk and sugar bowls, which I opened later at home.
The café itself was very nice. The food was very good - I got a steak – the music was perfect in that it wasn’t loud and we could have conversations, and our waiter Julia was lovely. I played with Lika a little. We took lots of pictures and stayed there for four hours. Misha sang for me and Lenya played a song for me on the piano. I has a really excellent day. If Bear were here it would have been perfect.
Oh, and something I didn’t anticipate: instead of marriage questions, I got all sorts of wishes to procreate and give me parents some grandchildren. (which would also solve their hovering problem, according to Katya). They all skipped the wedding part. Maybe I should have had a game about that.
Two more days here, I’m ready to go home. I think packing starts tomorrow. This is turning out into a really good vacation but I’m ready to go home to my life.