Nothing makes you miss friends and family like events where they are supposed to be present.
The letter I write to you today is a day late because yesterday was my birthday. It is the first birthday I have ever had outside of the Louisville area. It was the hardest birthday my wife and I have ever tried to plan because all my favorite restaurants, my favorite museums, my favorite people are an ocean away. Being homesick because of an event isn’t exactly something new for me, Christmas to name one, but this felt more personal because a lot of major holidays don’t get celebrated with friends. They are celebrated with family gatherings.
Birthdays are different. They are holidays strictly for the person born that day. I have more or less always celebrated with friends and food. Jazmin and I have decided to theme every fifth birthday we have. Last year I celebrated my 25th with a Hamlet themed party. There was a great meal and venue (thanks to my friends Steven and Susan, who opened their home to us). There was an abridged script adapted by another friend, Jacob. There were props brought and just about everyone who came took part in the reading where we squeezed each and every laugh we could out of it. It was a ridiculously good night and was an event which showed how true my friends were– especially because even the abridged script was LOOOONG. (It pains me to revert Steven, Susan, and Jacob to just friends as they are more like siblings to me than anything.)
Now, this year wasn’t supposed to be anything so fanciful, but the usual formula of Friends+Food=Birthday was more difficult to follow. Where should we go eat? We could go to my favorite restaurant, Martini’s– nope. That’s in Louisville. We have to make sure to invite Jesse and Ro; Sally and JD; and Caleb– except they would need a plane ticket apiece… Trejos? Louisville. Comfy Cow? Louisville. You get the point.
All the natural choices were not options. However, we did go to my favorite restaurant in Lugo on Tuesday night: Brios. And we did invite our new friends that we’ve made and who have made this experience, let alone my birthday, generally much better than it could have been otherwise. They have helped us build a home away from home here in Lugo.
For my actual birthday? I took off from my house husband and writer duties. I did all the things that people think I do every day: play video games in my pj’s; go out for lunch, tea, and coffee in three different places (I ended up writing for fun); (I did tutor– a job I like enough not to skip); then I came back home for pizza and more video games with Jazmin. It was the most lazy day and was just what I needed.
Thank you to all who have already wished me a happy birthday on social media! It really was great, in spite of also very much missing home.
P.S. I have officially shaved the beard off, but I had to take this selfie and turn it into a work of art. I call it “Requiem for a Beard”