This year marked the first time I’d ever been in Estonia for my birthday, August 17. Despite having lived here for a combined 5 years now, my two moves here (to Tartu in 2005 and Tallinn in 2007) both took place in September, right after my birthday, and for the last few years I’ve managed to be on vacation in either the States or Finland on my birthday. So my 28th birthday was my first Estonia birthday, as well as my first birthday that I had to go to work… but that actually wasn’t even so bad!
My birthday started off on the right foot with balloons, cake and birthday gifts from J first thing in the morning at home (cake for breakfast is totally allowed on one’s birthday!). His gifts were great too– an adorable Muumi mug and some other stuff I’ll talk about later!
At work my day was filled with hugs and flowers from colleagues– it was fun to feel special and loved all day long, and to receive birthday greetings every time a colleague called to ask me to do something! As is the custom here, I brought in treats to share with my colleagues– wine, coffee-chocolate chip cookies, watermelon with feta, and a vanilla cake (from a mix) doctored up with mango puree and a coconut crumb topping. Ordinarily I never would have used a mix but it was just days before we left for vacation so I was short on time– forgive me?. Luckily the cake turned out pretty good and the rich chocolate cookies (which were flavored with packets of Starbucks Via instant coffee) were a hit.
The rest of my birthday included a group run with my colleagues, after which I went home and ate more cake. That was followed by dinner with J at African Kitchen, and then home to pack and watch TV together. It would’ve been nice to go out for drinks with friends, but unfortunately that didn’t fit into our pre-trip schedule– we were leaving for 5 weeks in the States two days later! It was a lovely way to start my 28th year (but yikes… why does 28 have to be so close to 30??).