Peruvians love to celebrate.  This year, President Ollanta added additional holidays to the already long list, including an extra day to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Monday is Día de la Amistad (Friendship Day) and Tuesday is Día del Amor (Valentine’s Day).  Government workers have both of those days off.  Ollanta says that an increase of holidays/days off increases tourism in Peru.  Paty and Carlos went to the beach this weekend, so maybe he’s right!

I have been de fiestas as well, as I am truly becoming more Peruvian each day (ha—maybe not).  Last week I celebrated my birthday a la Peruana!  It was a birthday of firsts: first birthday I haven’t been in the States, first birthday I spoke Spanish all day, and first birthday where it was summer.  Oh and here’s the best first of all: first birthday celebrating up close with Ronald!

It was a great day.  The days leading up to my birthday had been a little teary, so I tried to keep myself busy doing things I love.  Ágape had visitors from New York volunteering with them, so I was able to help on Wednesday with translation.  Introducing people to a place I love so much is one of my favorite things to do.  I also was able to have lunch with coworkers from my internship in 2010 and had birthday cake with Ágape friends and the New Yorkers.  They sang “Happy Birthday” in three languages—English, Spanish, and Quechua.  That night, Ronald and I went out to dinner at one of the most significant places of our relationship—a pollería where we would go to escape the stress of work and have time alone.  We got back to my apartment, and Paty and Carlos and their girls surprised me with more cake!  It was so fun to celebrate with so many people I care about.

Thursday was another day of celebrations.  Paty and Carlos got married!  They had a civil ceremony at the local courthouse.  The vows were meaningful, and it was meaningful celebrating with them and their friends.

I also celebrated my birthday with friends Kaite and Chris Gregory, who live in Lima and graduated from Wheaton.  They took me to a lovely Italian dinner, where we caught up and talked about their upcoming baby.  I am so grateful for their friendship—to know that there are people who understand where I come from but also love where I am going.

And the fiestas haven’t ended yet!  I celebrated my birthday (again) last night with Ronald’s two best friends, Jhon and Hiuston.  And I’ll celebrate tonight by watching the episode of Parenthood my mom gifted me via iTunes!

And I’m sure there will be celebrating on Valentine’s Day too!


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