Since coming to BA holidays and birthdays are easy. I know that I will never spend them alone unless I absolutely want to. My friends here would never allow it. It is not that I did not have friends or good friends in the U.S. it is just that the relationship to people seems to be secondary, here it is primary.
About a month before my birthday my friends started talking about my birthday. "What were we going to do?" They would ask me. The operative word here is "We". I know that when I lived in the U.S. the operative word would have been "I". Here it is always we. We travel in packs here.
Sandra was the main planner. I could ask for no better friend. She is like a sister to me. We are together every weekend. We talk at least once sometimes twice a day. Although she is younger than me, she is always ready to defend me, to watch over me, to give me advice. If she even breathes suspicion around something or someone interacting with me, she is like a mother hen. Only with a very sharp tongue.
Most people here celebrate their birthday at home and in a restaurant. I added a milonga, because that is who I am. On Friday at Gricel my table was full of friends. We kept adding chairs to accommodate. People kept dropping by the table to kiss me and wish me a happy birthday.
My friend Juan kept treating us to bottles of champagne. Sandra bought me a beautiful cake and that dratted birthday crown. Eva was here for the third time to help me celebrate - My US sister and my Argentine sister together. It was an amazing night that lasted until 4:30 am.
On Saturday a group of us went to my friend Eduardo's restaurant. I have known Eduardo for maybe 5 years or more. He called me a couple of weeks ago to say hello and ask where I have been. I decided to have my birthday dinner there.
All day my phone rang and I was receiving text messages from friends wishing me a happy birthday. Every time I would go out, when I came back, Yuko would tell me that I had messages. Even Felipe remembered and texted me. Of course why wouldn't he? We met on my birthday....and broke up on his. (Thanks to comehombre who now has ragged hair with black roots....meow)
Before we left for the restaurant, my phone rang. It was Marcelito! My "son", the young man who has since moved to Brasil. I miss him so much. We shared so many mates and so many experiences. It was the first time I have spoken with him since he left in January. I was very touched that he remembered, that he took the time to call. No one in my familia de sangre even called me, yet my "Argentine sons" all called regardless of where they were or how much it cost.
We were a small group Saturday night but we had fun. I know that for my Argentine friends, going out every night is not that easy. Our inflation is high and salaries are not keeping up. Jorge introduced us to a new wine. Sandra who almost never drinks wine, drank. She entertained our table with stories.
Eduardo prepared a special dinner for me. It was mind blowing. I wish I could have eaten the whole platter, it was that good. There was enough food for 3 people. A whole merluza in a wine sauce with shrimp. I normally am a grilled fish kind of girl, but I ate until I felt like I was going to explode. My friends shared a pararilla. Yuko had her first taste of such lovely delicacies like amorcilla. (blood sausage)
It was a nice surprise to have Eduardo's daughter and niece come. He invited them so they could wish me happy birthday. Can you imagine teenagers - young people giving up their Saturday night to come to their dad's restaurant? To greet someone that is not really a dear friend, but just a friend?
At midnight when they sang happy birthday to me the whole restaurant sang. People wished me well. It was amazing. A table of men told me they would come next year to my party. In a restaurant full of strangers we all became friends.
Sunday I had my friends over to my apartment. My friend Pablo came to greet me. He is the Pablo I call my son. (Not the one that sings to me on the subte) He could not spend the day with me but wanted to come and greet me. Pablo always buys me books and this birthday was no exception. He is proud that I now read only in Spanish. He bought me my first Lunfardo dictionary. My new book is written in the slang of the gauchos and comes with a gaucho slang dictionary.
My apartment filled with women friends and of course Jorge. Jorge who all his friends give him a bad time because he is never on the prowl for women. While those guys are still in packs of boys prowling for women, Jorge is always surrounded by women since he is usually with Sandra and me.
Marta and Diana came from Floresta. I love them. I do not get to see either of them much as they live far from the central. Diana loves to dance and is a natural at all rhythms. I make her promise to go dance salsa with me.
My apartment fills with friends: Sandra of course, Lilliana, Pia, Eva, Krassi, Janis, Renie, and others. How lucky I am to have people to share my life. How different my life is here. I feel so blessed to be here, to have the good people in my life that I do. It never seems to matter when friends and family are involved, people are there for you. I actually think that the line for the most part between friends and family is blurred. For me here in Argentina, my friends are my family.