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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer of Firsts: Bday Party

Every year on June 30th something interesting happens.  A number in my life changes.  I age.  Now, obviously this happens to all of us.  For some it brings an ecstatic sense of excitement: "One year older!  One year closer!"  For others, birthdays bring an impending doom: "One year older... One year closer :( ."  To each person a birthday carries with it a different emotion.  And indeed, that emotion can change from birthday to birthday.

In my family we don't really celebrate birthdays.  Sure, we have a family dinner on the nearest Sunday, throw in a cake or maybe some pie, but that's pretty much the extent of it.  So, to go along with my Summer of Firsts, I decided that I wanted to have a big birthday party for my first time.

I knew my first bday party had to be something exciting, something memorable, something that only I would do.  Succeed, I did.  I decided to throw a Mediterranean dinner party at an Italian villa, in the one hundred year old pear orchard at dusk.

The first thing to do was to decide on our menu.  I wanted something utterly Mediterranean.  I also wanted it to be visual vivacious, splendid smelling, and terrific tasting.  So, this is what we decided on :

Breads and Spreads with
-Tapenade (France)
-Hummus (Egypt)
-Pesto (Italy)
-Tzatziki (Greece)
Caprese (Italy)
Chicken Piccata (Italy)
Meatballs (Morocco)
Purses (Greece)
Green Beans (France)
Horoset (Israel)
Kalamata Olives (Greece)
Paella (Spain)
Pasta alla Putanesca (Italy)
Pork with double mushroom sauce (Spain)
Ratatouille (France)
Roasted Lamb (Algeria)
Roasted Veggies with Feta (Greece)
Tabbouleh (Levant)

Baklava (Greece/Turkey/Albania...etc)

After deciding the food I obviously had to have people to cook them for.  So, I made my little facebook event and started inviting people.  I figured it would be a small and intimate evening with close friends, all dressed to the nines in their classy Mediterranean linens and other attire.  It didn't seem to be catching on very quickly.  There were the really close friends who were already excited about it that responded right away.  It seemed that it would be a party for about 12-15 people.  I was excited, because I don't need more.  Then, the numbers began to grow.  Before I knew it, there were 50 confirmed people coming.  At one point the estimation swelled up to over 75.  But, as things drew close and plans became more solid, it settle back down to the confirmed 50 people.  It was much bigger than I had dreamed.

As the day arrived, despite having a rocky start to the morning (I fell running and got really cut up) and a late start to cooking (long story) the time finally arrived.  Guests were arriving, and wandering about the villa, enjoying the beautiful night air.  We were busily doing out last preparations on the food and decor before dusk was to arrive.

Finally at 8:45 (dusk).  I came down the stairs completely dressed in my white linen ready for the event to start.  The guests were sitting outside at the tables.  I exited the building, the eyes of everyone on me (yes...I hate that...we all know its true... but I decided to enjoy a little spot light.  After all, I did lose 75lbs). I came out, welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming.  Mark and I introduced everyone to all of the food and then with the Bon Appetite traditional in french dining, it was off!

It was an absolutely magical evening.  My closest friends were with me--old dear friends, great new friends, music friends, church friends, school friends, family, coworkers, and a few complete strangers--and I felt such a great amount of love.  I went from table to table, just talking, and enjoying everyone company.  I think   I smiled all night; my cheeks were tired by morning.  Not to mention, I don't think I have hugged so many people in one day in my WHOLE life!  Oh ya, and to top it off, there was a huge firework show at the end (not planned). 

This little birthday party actually taught me one thing; a valuable lesson that I've been needing to learn for sometime now.  The lesson is simple: I have friends.  Now, this seems dumb.  Everyone has friends.  But, lately I've struggled with lots of self confidence issues, and have had a hard time believing that people want to be my friend because of me.  That they want more than a laugh, than food, then a car ride, or some other such thing.  I realized that I had been conditioned to think that people were my friends because they needed something from me...other than friendship.  But to have so many people there, just to celebrate my birthday, made me feel so ecstatic.  Isaac said it best when he said that my food was like a microcosm of my life.  It brings people together and makes them happy.  I'm so thankful for my friends and for my family.  I'm grateful they're in my life.  I'm grateful for the lessons that they've taught me.  I'm grateful for the influence they've had on me and on my life.  I hope that in some way, however minute, that I've been a positive influence on their lives as well.  Many more firsts to come (and lots of pics of my party) because after all, Such is Life.


  1. LeeLee, that sounds like quite the party and I wish I could have been around! Can't wait to see pics!

  2. Umm pictures, Lee?? That sounds so cool! Happy Birthday!

  3. I agree! Where are the pictures? Glad it was a wonderful evening!