Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Birthday Onboard

Another year, another country, another crazy birthday celebration overseas.  It seems that most June 24ths roll around while we are on outreach somewhere.  I remember turning 21 on a King's Kids oureach in Juarez, Mexico, turning 23 on the airplane to Paraguay, South America, turning 25 at Stratford Upon Avon in England, and turning 30 in Budapest, Hungary.  While I'm sure I've had some other great birthdays (like when all my aunts and uncles pooled together to buy me Louisa Dara, my first and only Cabbage Patch Kid in 1984; or both times I was pregnant and Dan threw surprise parties),  this one was definitely full of reasons to make it memorable.
  1. Greeted by a birthday blast upon opening our cabin door.  
  2. An introduction to French party thrown by my HR co-workers that put up with my shinanagans on Tuesdays.  Since we'll be in Togo next, I need to get my game on and start learning French!  They have just made Rosetta Stone French available to us!!
3. The traditional ringing of the cow bell at lunch to announce my birthday and being sung to by all crew members on board.
4.  Cookies waiting on my "doorstep" from the Hospitality Department, along with our ANNUAL $2.00 stipend (something about being required by maritime law...).

5. Various gifts showing up at our door and in our cabin all day long.

6. A party thrown by our Gateway "family" to celebrate with lemon muffins and sour skittles, and singing Happy Birthday the British way (try singing it with your lips pealed back into a smile so it doesn't come out BIRRRRRthday and Yooooouuuuu, but Buuthday to yuhhhh).

7.  Ice Cream night on the ship!
8.  A 'Come as Bizarre as you are' dance party onboard to party the evening away.
Of course this means that Dan gets to pull out his mullet wig and Billy Bob teeth - yay.

Kylie as Pippi Longstocking
Savannah as Angelina Ballerina
9.  Closing the night out with getting to meet Madieu Williams, #20 of the Minnesota Vikings, and NFL Player of the Year, 2010! 

The other Minnesota girls, Greta and Anna, and I meeting with Madieu

Madieu was born in Sierra Leone and lived here until he was nine.  He still has cousins in the area, can speak fluent Krio, and knows the names of the neighborhoods all around town. He and a group of 47 doctors, physiotherapists, sports trainers and other medical crew are in Sierra Leone with the Healing Hands Foundation and Madieu Williams Foundation to work hand in hand with some doctors at the local hospitals, and to check up on his educational programs, including a school he has had built in honor of his mother (beautiful story here).  Despite their group showing up almost five hours late to this tour and dinner on the ship, he was an incredibly gracious and humble guy with a beautiful spirit about him.  It was so encouraging to see him using his talents and resources to make a difference back here as well as in the states.
10. Lastly, I received word this morning that in the evening of my birthday, my beloved Grandpa Red passed away at the age of 91.  I am grateful to know that he finished my birthday celebrating his reunion with Grandma Grace and meeting the Savior that he loved and taught us all to love so well. 

 So for all the good and the sad, it will definitely be a birthday to remember. 

1 comment:

  1. Tiffany-
    What a memorable birthday! It sounds like a fun-filled day and one you surely will never forget! Love all the pictures. Best of luck to you as you continue your mission/journey! And, of course, Happy Birthday!
    Susie (Thill) Mollegas