So August 1st marked a pivotal moment in my life… the big 3-0 occurred. I am honestly not one to be too attached to numbers as I go based on more how I feel, and more often than not, I still feel 25! Although I must say, I enjoy being 30 (already) because perhaps people will take me more seriously… right? Or they think I have it all together by now and well, that is not quite the case but taking steps to get there. I do feel wiser (in some ways) and figuring out who I am and who I want to become…. I like that we can make that change ourselves and we don’t have to say ‘this is it.’ You can always change!
All that to say, I had the BEST birthday ever. I went to visit my friends in Liberec after getting settled in my flat in Prague, and they went above and beyond what I could have ever thought or dreamed of. First off, we made homemade chocolate muffins made out of zucchini…. yum. The first surprise occurred with coffee around 3PM – Iva and Michal came outside to greet me with a cheesecake made from scratch (see below)! It was so perfect. Iva made it for her first time ever and was stressed a bit with how it would turn out – it was absolutely amazing. How thoughtful that she took such time to do that for me. I received cards from Charlene, Lori, and Michela who are from all parts of the world – a perfect Audrey Hepburn shirt from Mattie in Italy – I felt beyond special that day. That was more than I could have ever expected. I was just so grateful to be with loved ones on my birthday. To top it all off, Iva told me we should wear American colors for pictures later during dinner just for fun – I love themes and I was excited to wear my new American color bracelet (thank you Lisa Parker)!
Lo and behold, one of her friends whom I know, Linda, showed up around 5PM just to ‘stop in’ and before I knew it, there was a long table set up outside and then Iva said ‘there is going to be a party tonight- and it starts in 10 minutes!’ So yes, they planned a surprise party for me in the Czech Republic. Who does that?! About twenty people came, all Czech and some English speakers (including a lovely German girl), most of whom I met at the Resl wedding two years ago. The Czech people have a stereotype that they are somewhat rude and stand offish, but honestly, I have had such an opposite experience. To come there for me!? Now maybe it was for the American food – hamburgers and guacamole were served! – or the amazing beer/wine and desserts – but that is still a lot of effort. On top of that, everyone wore the American colors or something with English words. Loved it! A cool birthday tradition they do is as people were arriving, they would greet me and shake my hand while wishing me well for the new year. I also received five bottles of really nice wine as gifts (I should definitely make friends easily with that) – what an incredible gesture for someone they barely know.
Weeks of planning went into this as well as two very busy days after Italy for Iva and Michal to get all of this completed (once I knew), and it could not have been more perfect. I feel beyond blessed and thankful to have such amazing friends and people who show such love in this way- and I also feel that love in the amazing emails, messages, cards, posts, videos (Hayley/Grant Leatherwood, Laura, Katie, Jenny, Nicole, Rachael, Cara), fruit baskets (Kel Kel), songs and gifts (FAMILY!) that I have received from people all over the world! I don’t know what I did to deserve all of this…. I only hope I can pay it forward in some way. The thirties are off to a great start. I am so excited for what is to come – I shall keep you posted!
In the meantime, please let know how are you doing and what you think of this cool Czech tradition. Something you would start in America? And what advice to have as a new 30 year old? Anything you would have changed or done differently? Would love to hear your thoughts! Have a hesky (nice) week – Ahoj for now!