Yulia’s 29th birthday

The morning of my 29th birthday started with a visit by Jehova’s witnesses. I was woken up by a knock on the door early on a Saturday morning and as I stood, blinking in the bright sunlight, three bright happy faces looked merrily at me – two parents and a little boy. Seeing as how we had gone to a neighbor’s party the night before and went to bed pretty late, I was not at all prepared for this conversation. So I meekly agreed that peace on Earth is a great idea and is completely realistic, accepted a leaflet and agreed to see them again. No sooner that I drifted off to sleep, another knock on the door woke me up, this time bearing more pleasant things – a delivery of fresh flowers and a chocolate cake courtesy of my student and her family

I started a bit late on the food preparation, and if it wasn`t for Mike, the house would have stayed messy and unfit for receiving visitors.

I skyped with granma to get her cabbage pie recipe and she oversaw my pie-cooking from my laptop screen. I also made a couple of pizzas (from scratch) and some canapes.

We invited some new friends, who also brought some friends with them.

Sfiha – pastries made by Margherita (the girl in the photo above)

Sarah (on the left) made this wonderful Pavlova for me. Pavlova is a traditional New Zealand meringue-based dessert typically served with strawberries and kiwis. It was created in honor of a Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (the surname is pronounced pAvlova, but the dessert – pavlOva)

This bottle contains not champagne, as I initially thought, but Moa beer – Belgium-style craft beer.

The cakes

The best part of the evening was playing charades. We did have to google a couple of things (one guy had to google “French manicure” as had no idea what it was, and a few cultural references also had to be looked up.) Everyone was impressed when I had to show Ferris Bueller’s day off and Mike guessed it in under 10 seconds but nobody else knew what was going on. But  that’s why we are married!

Explaining “bucket fountain” (which is a real fountain and on of the Wellington landmarks)

Explaining Arnold Schwarzenegger

In the evening, we usally close all windows and draw curtains, as it tends to get chilly. But yesterday as the party was in full swing we forgot to do that and the house was overflown with moths and beetles – we had no idea there were so many here! So we kept coming across them in most unexpected places

All in all, I felt very lucky that day – with my amazing husband by my side, in this wonderful and exotic country, with people extending their greetings from two other continents – being 29 is not so bad!

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