Today I turned 18!!! I woke up around 9 and went for a run. When
I got back, there was a huge package waiting for me from my parents.
me a new camera (mine is broken) and some more USA candy. Also, my uncle sent
me some giant gumballs. I knew the package was coming because my uncle had sent
me an email saying that he had sent it. Also in the email was a long letter
about how much my family there in Chicago loves me and wants to become a bigger
part of my life. We’re really not a close family, and that had been bothering
me a little after seeing how many people love and miss Cristobal and thinking
about how few probably miss me. It was really nice to get that letter and I’m
excited to go back and start to form a closer relationship with my family. Then
I showered, got dressed, and just kind of chilled in my room writing my blog. There
was no internet in the house and I don’t have a cell phone, so I was basically
prepared for a sucky birthday. Nobody could call me to say happy birthday, and
I couldn’t make plans with anyone to do something. We ate lunch together, and
then I went with Monse to the Jumbo to print out pictures and buy frames for my
family as gifts for when I change host families.
After we got home, we shut
ourselves in my room to put the pictures in the frames without anyone finding
out what we were doing. Then, I was going to leave the room, but Monse asked me
to stay with her there and watch TV on my bed. I knew something was up, but I
played along anyway. After a while, Maxi came in and asked me to help him with
something outside. I went out into the living room, and Cata was standing there
with a gift in her hands and the table was set and there were balloons
decorating the lamps.
It was a great birthday surprise. We sat in my room and
talked for a while and it was so great to catch up with Cata. Then we went to
eat dinner with my family. They made me tacos because I always tell them how
much I miss Mexican food. After tacos, they brought out the cake and sang happy
birthday. It was in that moment, when everyone was singing the birthday song in
a different language, that I realized how amazing this experience was and how
weird and sad and cool all at the same time it is to have your birthday in
another country. After they sang, they told me to bite a little bit of the
cake. I know it is their tradition to
smash the cake in the person’s face while they bite it, but I did it anyway,
and Maxi smashed my face in the cake. I was so absolutely covered in cake that I
couldn’t breathe through my nostrils because there was cake up there.
finished taking pictures and I came back from the bathroom, my family had their
present for me to unwrap. It was a pencil case from Frutillar that said “with
love from your Chilean family”, and a frame with 4 adorable photos from our
trip to the south. It was really hilarious for Monse and me to discover the
frame because we had bought the exact same one with some of the same pictures
as a gift for the family.
We couldn’t stop laughing and we couldn’t tell anyone
why. After dinner, Cata and I talked for a while longer in my room, and then around
10 she had to leave. Maxi and I hung out
for a while comparing the differences between US passports and Chilean passports
and just making stupid jokes. Then I watched a little TV with Monse before thanking
my whole family so much for a great birthday and going to sleep.