Friday, August 17, 2012

Best Birthday Ever?

So, even though the previous few days were crazy, Michael actually had a pretty good 31st birthday after 3 WHOLE DAYS of b-day celebrations, ok, maybe not 3 entire days, but 3 days with celebrations involved.
On Tuesday we went to look for guitars, as we wanted to get one for Michael's birthday present. One of Michael's awesome co-workers who plays guitar showed us the places to get them. The first shop was a place where this guy hand-makes all of his own guitars, and they were all really beautiful. We also looked at a music store with Fender brand guitars, but they didn't sound as good as the Vietnamese guitars, but it was pouring rain so we decided to come back the next day to buy the guitar. And when I mean pouring, I mean like someone standing over you with a bucket pouring it on your head kind of pouring - here's a photo of my pants once we got home:
Yeah, only the top 2 inches are dry, it was nuts!

The next day, Wednesday, Michael went back to the guitar shop to pick up the guitar he liked the day before, but on arriving he saw another guitar that he liked also. After a while of playing both guitars, he decided on the new one:

The sound is really good, and it has a really loud volume output, which makes it nice for playing for people. He's as happy as a clam now that he has a guitar.

Wednesday evening after he got home we were invited to dinner at the home of his co-worker, Reuben, who is from Argentina. They are moving to the Philippines in a week so they wanted to use up more of the food they bought for a huge party they had the weekend before, and since it was Michael's birthday they teased that it was all for him. It was really nice to spend time with friends. Xavier and Geraldine came, and Marie, and Charles (both are also French), and we had Reuben and his wife Natty and their cute-as-a-button 2 year old daughter Matilda. Reuben grilled up some chicken on his fancy bbq, and Natty made some amazing potato salad and potato-cheese-thing which I think I remember her saying it was a Torta, but I can't remember. There was SO much food. It was different as they eat really late, it was 9:00 or 9:30PM but they usually eat around 11PM, and they eat a lot of food. But we had lots of fun so what can you say? I enjoyed practicing my Spanish as Natty doesn't speak very much English, and she showed us how Matilda can count to ten in Spanish, English, French, and Vietnamese, so cool!

On Thursday evening we went out to dinner with Michael's Vietnamese designer friends. For special occasions they always go out for seafood, so we did, and it was really good. For photos please refer to Facebook if you can, otherwise I will try to get some pics off of Mike's phone and update them on here later. We ate the standard squid, shrimps, fish, and then had some new dishes like frog legs and stingray. I didn't try the frogs as I think they are cute and can't eat them, but Michael loved it! He said it was the best part of the meal. We also tried the stingray and it was pretty good, like a very mild fish that had a bit firmer texture. The interesting thing about the stingray is that the Vietnamese eat everything - the skin, the meat, and the bones. Michael tried some of the bones and said that they were quite soft, but he didn't like them much. To top the evening off, the designers had a cake made to look like Michael's face! I can't wait to find some photos for you, it was so neat. We had them over to our house for the cake, and it was fun to spend some time with them - even though they don't really like cake much so we had a lot left over. 

On Friday we had planned to have a big party with our English speaking friends, and we ended up representing 4 continents and 6 countries all together, it was really cool. We had Xavier, Geraldine, Marie, and Charles from France, Harot from Holland, Reuben and his family from Argentina, Bernard and Delfin from the Philipines, and Harot's wife Alfa from Malaysia, and then us from the USA. Being abroad sure lets you meet people from all over the world.

For food, I made -
It was so interesting because no one at the party except us had ever had it before, it is a real American food I guess, and the reactions were very mixed. Geraldine wanted me to show her how to make it, some people didn't like it at all and left most in their bowls, and then some people only ate out the beans and left most everything else. It was interesting making the chili as I didn't have the standard seasonings here, but I had found some cumin and some plain chili powder and they even have Tobasco sauce out here, so all together it turned out rather well - but made Michael miss home a bit and his mom's awesome chili.
Other than the chili we had some bread from the bakery, some Nori seaweed flavored Pringles knockoffs (which were kinda weird), brownies a-la Alfa (very tasty), chocolate and coconut flavored ice cream, and Geraldine and Xavier surprised Michael with the most amazing chocolate cheesecake on a brownie crust cake from this amazing French bakery. The chocolate cheesecake had raspberries and passionfruit jelly piped on top, it was delicious!
We had fun just spending time together and people played the Wii a bit, which was fun as even Natty got into playing the games even though she couldn't talk to some of the people she was playing with. At least all of our French friends also speak quite a lot of Spanish so she had people to explain what to do if she got stuck. Wii sports is by far the favorite here, especially tennis.
Whew! Sorry for the long post, after all of these days of celebrating I think Michael was quite satisfied to finally be done with parties and officially be 31. Now we just need to find out how to top this party next year... :)

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