I turned 25 on February 7th. I have reached the quarter century mark, and I must admit, it feels a little old. Our generation calls this the “over the hill” age and I’m definitely feeling over the hill.
Alex was very thoughtful and planned a surprise birthday party for me on Friday, February 5th with our colleagues Meltem and Asli. She was very sneaky about the entire plan; they even got a cake and gave it to the restaurant ahead of time. We ate at a fancy restaurant called “Çatı” which means “roof.” It had a live band, the atmosphere was very family-oriented, and the aroma of good food filled the entire place. One bizarre thing that happened during our evening was that roof windows above our table opened and closed every 10 minutes to let the smoke out, even though it is prohibited to smoke in public spaces like restaurants. Alas, this is Turkey. After eating Adana kebab and drinking şalgam (turnip juice), the live band started playing a tune that I recognized…and all of a sudden, “doğum günün kutlu olsun Mariya” and I was shocked! The entire restaurant clapped and cheered. My friends are great, they made me feel so special in that moment. Meltem and Asli gifted me a poncho that I had been wanting for a while, and Alex got me some magnets from places we had visited together, as well as a wallet to carry my change in—all of these were thoughtful gifts and very much appreciated by me.
Two days later, on my actual birthday on the 7th, I was surprised by another birthday cake by my Pakistani family. They also managed to surprise the gullible me. They told me they forgot to pick up my cake, and that they hope I don't mind. Then, after dinner, the lights went out, and a glowing cake was carried out to me. I’m so grateful to have all these people in my life.