Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gezuar Ditelindjen

Once again I found myself celebrating my birthday abroad, this year was the big 25. Ironically, Sofie- one of my closest friends in the group- also celebrated her 25th … just one day later. Thus, a party was thrown, though it was hectic having just returned from the USA and being jetlagged.

Albanian birthday are celebrated in one way and one way only: the person having the birthday invites guests to drink and a big meal – sounds like American tradition right? WRONG. The person having the birthday is to pay for all drinks and all food- guests are never allowed to pay. Thus, true to Albanian tradition I took a group of 12 of my closest friends out to a nice meal on the town of Berat followed by an endless flow of beverages the rest of the night…

Well the truth is that actually I didn’t pay for everyone because if you remember correctly I am a Peace Corps Volunteer, and collectively as a whole, we are broke. Thus, true to AMERICAN tradition, each person paid for themselves and the night carried on as normal. The day of my birthday was spent with my host family: making a traditional food called byrek for the occasion. We had a picnic dinner out on the porch accompanied by a lovely swarm of mosquitoes and at least 15 people all telling me the same thing “U bëfsh nje qind vjeç” which means “May you live 100 years!” For the special occasion I was able to drink a shot of raki, (the locally made somewhat lethal alcohol) which is a big deal because women drinking alcohol is turp or shameful. Nevertheless, I somehow swallowed the awfulness down, marking the start of year #25 of my life. May I live to be 100…

Our birthday cake, funfetti of course!

The birthday girls out to dinner at the White House

Phoebe, Luke, & Daryoush at dinner

Carrie Ann & Raino

Sof, Me, Marie, & Corinne celebrating


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