First things first...I'm 21! So legal in all the countries of the world!
I've had an absolutely lovely and wonderful birthday here in the southern cone. It's been incredible; turning 21 and being so far from home makes me a bit sad but I have been received so warmly today by all of friends, students and family that I have entered into a state of continuous smiles! And the fact that my birthday is coinciding with the rescue of the 33 miners has been a very unique and special experience, que todos esten seguros y con sus familias antes de la medianoche hoy dia! (I hope that all will be safe and with their families before midnight tonight!)
A couple memorable moments from today:
1) I arrived at volunteering a few minutes late but my co-teacher told me not to worry, that there were visiters at the school today, so we wouldn't be starting class until half past the hour. 20 minutes later, I entered the classroom to a huge surprise party from my first class of students! They sang feliz cumpleanos and had all brought food to share, as well as buying me a Kunstman cerveza (beer) to drink on my 21st! So, like many newly legal estadounidenses (U.S. citizens) I began drinking at 8:30 in the morning on my birthday. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten my culture.
I went to my second class and after half the period was over, we left because they had an assembly to go to. 15 minutes later, my co-teacher informed me that the "assembly" had been cancelled and I returned to the class only to be surprise partied once again! This time there was a cake, I made a wish and blew out my candle and then was told to shove my face in the cake, apparently a Chilean tradition. Pretty sure I looked super chori fly (basically, really cool) with frosting all over my face! The girls bought me an apron with pictures of empanadas and recipes, so be prepared to eat some yummy traditional Chilean food when I get back!
2) My lovely program mates also threw me a surprise party in the office of our program director. We had chocolate cake with manjar and will be enjoying a delightful dessert wine from Mendoza on our next trip which begins in less than 8 hours!!!
3) All the girls on my program came to my house to have once (translates literally to elevens and is the third of four daily meals, essentially tea time). The ladies and my family sang me feliz cumpleanos and my host mother informed me before I blew out the candles that in Chile you get 3 wishes instead of one. Perhaps I should have my birthday here every year! The cake was a mixture of lucuma (fruit that is stil unknown to me but rather delicious) and manjar (dulce de leche) Yummmm!!!! Afterwards, my host brother made us some sort of special "family secret" drink. All I know was that it had pineapple flavored ice cream and was alcoholic. Drink up!
So in summary, I have consumed alcohol, sugar and received lots of carino (basically equivalent of TLC). All in all, an absolutely wonderful and most memorable birthday!
Shout-out to all of you who have contacted me today! I miss you all and hope you are as well as can be!