I have always been a big fan of birthdays. I used to be the type that would have a full on birthday week with events with different groups of friends for the entire week of my birthday- which means that OF COURSE I was the girl who called dibs on the princess themed birthday party before other kids in my class so that they knew if their birthday was near mine, they would have to pick a different theme.
As I have grown older, I have learned to really love celebrating other people’s birthdays. Its so much fun to surprise people you love and care about with songs, memorable photos and gifts while showering them with praise for how wonderful they are as a special person in your life. Because lets face it, it’s more fun to be belting out HAPPY BIRTHDAY in an off key, hoarse voice (not harmonizing like some of you acapella people) rather than being on the receiving end—because after 21, being on that sides can almost 100% of the time be very awkward. Like yayyyyy thanks for singing to me while I sit here smiling awkwardly at you…BAH. But of course I still love it because I relish the awkward moments of life.
In the midst of the craziness and haziness of the past 3 weeks, ZamFam has been blessed with 3 birthdays for 3 of my dearest friends thus far.
On July 4th I had the distinct pleasure of not only celebrating the birth of the United States, but also the beautiful existence of the purest light of our ZamFam. Reena, the youngest of the crew, turned 22, and we brought it in with margs and songs at Bucca de Beppo in Time Square. I loved celebrating with this lil nug and miss her so much since she moved off to the Copperbelt district of Zambia today, which is 5 hours away from Lusaka.
On July 16th, our lovely Kalin hit the quarter century mark on an emotional roller coaster of a day. Still warming up to the reality of load shedding, the day began in a bit of a dark place (literally and figuratively), but came full circle that evening when we had an incredible nshima dinner with the current and past ZamFam GHC fellows. Kalin had been SO excited for nshima and it was SO delicious; I think we were all stuffed and happy following that meal while in the company of so many cool people. Of course we surprised her with a cake, card, and some NAUGHTY GIRL wine (which was loved by all). And in honor of traditional Zambian practice, Kalin had water poured all over her (which is suppose to be reminiscent of being born out of the womb…a really intensely graphic metaphor but we embraced it nonetheless)
On July 18th, it was Sara’s 25th birthday and was the day that marked our first weekend in Lusaka. Reena, Brian, Sara, Kalin and I decided to adventure out to one of Lusaka’s top 10 places to eat, Deli, for a delicious brunch! After a night of no power, girl talk, nail painting, banana-grams playing, and New Girl watching (via an external hard drive), it was nice to escape the walls of the Belvedere Lodge for the day. And Deli was perfect! Although the power went out, it was a cute, boutiquey looking restaurant that served EGGS AND MEAT AND COFFEE. We were all ecstatic!
Talk about celebrating the little things in life! We had such a great meal and conversation which transitioned nicely to our first Lusaka braii, or cook out, hosted by the current GHC Zambia fellows. Booze was a-flown and meat was a-cookin (for quite sometime since the power went out again), and everyone seemed to be having such a great time! And it was really fun getting to know some of the current and past fellows even better too! In honor of Zambian tradition and Sara’s birthday, we sang, we showcased a cake and we drenched her in water- and it was beautiful. Many people hit the town following the braii, aka Darty, and had the chance to feel out the Lusaka clubbing scene!
All in all, ZamFam goes hard for birthdays despite power outages. It has been so fun celebrating my new friends in our new home!