Tag Archives: Birthdays

Birthday Surprise!

I forgot to post this a few months ago…better late than never, right?!

For those of you that don’t know, birthdays are a very big deal to me.  Growing up in my family birthdays were always something to look forward to.  If my birthday fell on a school day, my parents would always send a large bouquet of balloons or yellow roses.  I would be loaded with cards, flowers, balloons and gifts, and let’s be honest, I absolutely loved this.  Birthdays were always fun celebrations of love and laughter and I came to cherish each and every one.

As an adult I find it a little more embarrassing to be as openly excited about birthdays, but the truth always slips out.  I just can’t contain the joy that overcomes me when birthdays are near!  This year, the day before my birthday at our Bible study, I was surprised with the most amazing birthday cake ever.  I mean ever.  It was a tribute to America and me and I loved every bit of it (including the person who made it!!).  Everyone at my work knows how much I love birthdays so they did an amazing job of decorating my desk in the craziest way possible.  There were decorations everywhere, cards on my desk, a beautiful bouquet of roses, and a nice big gift!  I was ecstatic.

Another reason I love birthdays aside from all the attention you get, is I adore surprises.  With that being said, I am a fairly difficult person to surprise because I am always thinking of how people could surprise me!  You can imagine my delight when Ben took me out to a nice romantic dinner and all my girlfriends were there to surprise me!  Ben kissed my cheek and left us girls to enjoy a nice night out together.  We enjoyed tasty Italian food and good conversation.

The last surprise for my birthday came a few days later.  Ben had asked all of my Cambridge friends to write limericks (I had to have him clarify exactly what kind of poem this was!) about me and the past year.  There were 29 of them and each one was made up (for the most part) of 29 syllables.  They were amazing.  Some had me crying, others had me smiling, and some had me rolling with laughter (Jackie!!).  Ben put them all together in this great book that had photos of my friends and favorite memories from my 28th year.  This is a gift I will always treasure.  I thought I would share one of my favorite limericks with you since so many of you won’t have the opportunity to see it anytime soon.  I hope you enjoy!

The Surprise by Ben Wilson
She flew across the ocean,
holding this crazy notion:
To home she goes,
but no one knows-
this might cause some commotion!

IMG_8644 B&W IMG_8733 photo (8) photo (9)


Birthdays and Business

I love birthdays.  Like really love birthdays.  I am the girl who a month out is reminding everyone that it is coming.  I am not discriminating either, I do this for everyone’s birthday.  Ultimately I think it has to do with the fact that I love happy people, food, cards, and presents…but who doesn’t?!  For the last four years I have spent countless hours and cash on birthdays for co-workers.  You spend 40 hours a week at a job so you grow to love those people you work with, and therefore want to really do something special for them on their birthday.  Birthdays are my speciali-ty!

I love to decorate, and birthdays are a great excuse to decorate those awful cubicles.  I go a bit crazy.  On a person’s birthday, their desk will be buried beneath some theme that has been personally selected based on their personality or interests.  For instance, my closest work friend Dani loves Tiffany’s, so one year I decked her desk out with diamonds (fakes of course), Tiffany’s boxes,  and wrapped the outside of her cubicle in Tiffany blue paper and had an enormous white bow on top.   It was beautiful.  My boss Debbie, loved Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean (secretly she loves him all the time!) so we fashioned her office into the black pearl with pictures of Johnny everywhere…we even had a long leather jacket and of course a pirates hat for her.  She looked spectacular.  We decorated desks in everything from sports memorabilia to Hawaiian luaus to sweet 16 parties.  Michael’s and Party City made a killing off of us.  The rule was this, everyone left an hour early the day before their birthday so that everyone could begin decorating.  We took it very seriously as you can see.

In addition to your desk looking unrecognizable, we would have the most amazing feasts.  We would do pot-lucks, order pizza, get chicken-minis from Chick-Fil-A, go out to eat, or order in.  Whoever’s birthday it was, got to pick.  Basically it was a day of not working and feasting.  It was glorious.  We would send around a card where everyone who loves you would write endearing or witty comments.  If you had to be at work on your birthday, this was the way to do it. 

So as my birthday approached this year, I didn’t exhibit my usual excitement for the day.  I think a lot of had to do with just getting back from the States and Rome and honestly, I just hadn’t had time to think about it!  Then I started my new job, only a week before my birthday.  I knew that my new co-workers didn’t know it was my birthday, and as I already felt extremely uncomfortable as the only American in the office, I wasn’t about to let them in on my secret.  How awkward would it be if the new girl says on Friday, “Oh by the way, did you know it is my birthday on Monday?”  Aka…I am letting you know it is my birthday so that you can prepare for it and treat me special that day.  As difficult as it was, Monday came and went without anyone at my office knowing it was my birthday.  As a matter of fact, they just found out today, a week and a day later! 

I have realized that birthdays in the office are celebrated much, much differently.  For instance, there is no decorating.  There are no flowers or presents.  You do get a card, but literally, everyone just signs it…no personal messages can be found even though the card is the size a manilla folder.  A huge card with lots of white space.  Weird.  Then the strangest part of the whole thing, is that you (as the birthday person) are expected to bring cakes (multiple because they are small here) or some sort of treat to share with the whole office.  What?!  I haven’t brought my own birthday treats since I was in fourth grade!!!  And you don’t just bring enough for your team, you buy enough for a large crowd.  Last Friday someone had a birthday and the entire counter was taken up with all sorts of cakes, scones, and cookies.  That is when I found out about this strange cultural difference. 

Today when everyone found out that my birthday was last week the first thing they asked me was why I didn’t tell them.  I explained that, and then the next question that was asked was, why didn’t I bring in cakes!  Now I know.  Next January 31st, I will bring in cakes.  Lots, and lots of cakes!