I’m 16 and a half hours into this birthday, and that’s the best word to describe this feeling. As I prayed with two of my boys this morning, their prayers of thanksgiving centered on their family and friends. And I felt the same way.

I’m writing now, a few minutes before time to head out for dinner at an unknown-to-me location, because I don’t want to forget the way I feel so well known and loved. From my family FaceTiming (new verb) one right after (or during) the other to roommates bringing breakfast in bed (delicious!), then watching Drew and Eli play for a bit, the first hour was an amazing start

My students debated when to sing happy birthday- to replace our normal morning song with it, or wait a few minutes? It seemed to be a big decision, and the student in charge of leading today eventually decided to do the song and greeting normally first. It was a day full of celebration as we celebrated my birthday, a student’s birthday, and another student’s last day with us before a move back to her passport country. We had a few more renditions of “Happy Birthday” in chapel, leading one student to ask, “Ms. Olson, how many times are they going to sing to you?!”

There have been many more things- perfectly chosen gifts that scream, “We know you well!” Yummy birthday merienda at school. My kids eagerly asking to do compliments for me to have a birthday card, even though they had already made (with Kelsie’s help!) a beautiful book with their pictures, then discussing whether I could type my own card or if someone else should do it, and if someone else, who could type quickly?

Oh yeah- then I got home and had a card, delivered today, from Heather- impeccable timing! I opened a few gifts from friends who know me SO well.

That’s what gets me. One of the hard things for me in moving is feeling unknown- feeling like no one really knows me.

And that’s not how I feel at all. This birthday has been the icing on a big, beautiful cake of feeling at home in one more place, and feeling like I still have a home on the other side of the world.

Ahh…now on to a little more fun!

My birthday buddy- who can’t quite figure out this two days of birthday thing!- and I got to chat this morning.


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