Tomorrow I turn 36

Monday 18 July 2016

Tomorrow I turn 36, up to 40. The evening before your birthday used to be exciting…treating at school, putting on new clothes, receiving presents. As you get older, the excitement goes away a bit and you sometimes look up at the day with anxiety…
Another year older and the years also seem to be going faster and faster. When you are 15 you want to be 16 because then you could ride a moped when you are 17 and eventually you didn’t buy a scooter because you hooked a boyfriend with such a thing then you want to be 18 to get your driving licence. From there you will think a bit about what you want to do with your life and what it will look like in a couple of years. My idea was to have a little house, tree, animal around the age of 26. A nice job as a dance teacher and some hopping around children in the garden with a handsome, rich (not unimportant) man at my side…..

As it turns out, my life has turned out completely different than I thought. When I was 26 I had none of this, no husband, no dog, no children and certainly no house.
When I was 26 my Uganda adventure started and I never thought that 10 years later I could still celebrate my birthday in this beautiful country. Yes, sometimes life goes very different than expected and now I live in a beautiful house, have a handsome husband, a little more than two kids hopping in the garden and 5 dogs. What more do you want?

One hardly ever celebrates a birthday here. First of all, one doesn’t know when one’s birthday is. If an identity card has to be made, it is automatically born on 1 January if you don’t know the date of birth. No fuss about getting loads of groceries in the house and serving cheese, sausage or biterballs, while everyone is chatting in a circle in the living room. In a living room here an average of 4 people fit and there are no chairs (saves space). No Hema whipped cream cake or presents to celebrate a new year of life (saves money again). The birthday goes by quietly and because of that people often forget how old they really are (grandma is 47 years old). No treats at school because in a classroom there are about 80 to 90 children on average who are always hungry, so you can’t arrive with a box of sultanas or a bag of Croky chips (for the “easy” parent) no… None of this, but we don’t miss it either. It makes life a lot easier, without the stress of hanging garlands at 12 o’clock at night, putting together birthday treats or thinking about what to give as a present again…..

I often didn’t celebrate my birthday, didn’t think it was necessary and was reluctant to get another year older. Especially the 30, it really wasn’t fun to be 30. But we survived and life goes on. Now almost 36 and I am going to celebrate it….Before last year I celebrated it together with my dear friend Kim, had a lovely lunch with some friends in the garage and a special yoga class on the hill. This year the circle of friends has decreased a bit but that shouldn’t spoil the fun. I want to celebrate my birthday, I can live to be 36! Last year dear friends passed away and it made me realize to enjoy and live even more!

After a sad period and some psychological help (can never hurt) I am looking forward to celebrate my birthday, tomorrow morning with a high tea and in the evening cake with my girls. Yes, we’re going to make it a nice day and we’re going to enjoy a year of 36, nothing wrong with that and it’s really only nice to be able to get older :-).

Love from Uganda,