Awesome birthday weekend :)
Hi friends and family!
I hope you are all doing well are having a happy Memorial Day. I am thinking fondly of all the cookouts you are all enjoying right now....mmmm, the simply joys of a good hamburger or hotdog, beer, and veggie trays. Enjoy them people.
I had a great birthday weekend. Thanks for all the well wishes and birthday emails and cards I got. On Friday I went out shopping in the nearby city of Santa Rosa with two of best PCV girl friends - I don't spend much money in my town so I have accumulated enough over the past two months to buy some clothes which I needed. I think I spent about 40 bucks maybe and got 2 pairs of jeans, one old for work and one new, and 6 cute shirts. Not bad huh? Then my friends convinced me to stay the night to celebrate my birthday and celebrate we did, ending up at the disco dancing. Saturday I was going to leave in the morning to go back to Dulce Nombre and my two friends were goingto come into town to go to a birthday party my counterpart/adoptive mom was throwing for me and her hubby, but again I was convinced to stay a few extra hours and we watched chick flicks in the PC crash house and made french toast (a treat, believe me).
Around 2 pm my friend Angela came up the stairs and said, "Lauren, I don't think you'll be able to go back to Dulce Nombre as soon as you'd planned, come quick"...and all these awful thoughts passed through my head, like my friend Sarah is deathly ill, or their was a bus crash, or something, when up the stairs come one of my best friends Michael and another volunteer, Ely, who came the7 hours from the North Coast to come surprise me for my birthday. I squealed and jumped and was so excited and happy. I had missed Michael a lot and he had had a rough month with parasites and a knee injury, yay. So it was a wonderful birthday present. Angela and Sarah had totally been manipulating me the whole weekend to keep me in Santa Rosa to wait for Michael and Ely's arrival, those sneaky girls. We showed them a bit of Santa Rosa, which they loved and also thought it seemed rather European and surrounded by absolutely gorgeous mountains. Then I took all my gringo friends into Dulce Nombre. They thought my town was adorable and peaceful, the people were friendly, and that the house I'll be moving into in a month was very nice, complete with the new garden I planted this week. We ate dinner in the little diner and then I took them to the birthday party at my counterpart's house. They were immediately welcomed and pulled onto the "dance floor". They had a keyboard and mikes and it seems as if many people in my "family" here are very talented and can sing and play the guitar very well. It was a great party, complete with cake and blowing of candles and cake in the face, a tradition here. Then after the party most of them caught a ride back to Santa Rosa to go to a party there but Michael and I stayed to catch up. I was already tired from the night before and really just wanted to talk and see how Mike was doing. We played dominoes and stayed up til about 2 or 3 a.m. talking about our new sites and worries and funny moments. It was a great time. Friends here are so important because we are away from our loved ones from home, and we kinda form a PC family here. The next morning I showed him a bit more of the town and some beautiful views and he helped me in the garden for a while, and then I sent him back to Santa Rosa to spend the day with Angela. All in all an awesome birthday, which would have been perfect if I had had my friends, boyfriend, and family from home with me. But I know you were all sending me love from the states :)
This week is a busy one: publicizing a meeting for a women's microbusiness project we are starting here with the help of an organization, publicizing a meeting for the new latrine project Pri and I are starting, English class at the kindergarten and at the high school, the aerobics class, supervision on the improved stoves that were built over the past few weeks, meeting with the mayor and some other people to organize the materials for the latrine project, and on and on. This coming weekend I am going to a film festival in another volunteer's site about an hour and a half away, so I am excited about that. I am so happy to have internet in my town now, so keep emailing because I should be better able to respond now.
Well that's it from here...write so I know what's going on in each of your lives. Miss you all!
Lots of love,