On Monday morning, I went to work like usual. Fellow colleagues wished me a happy birthday. They had made me a little poster with Snoopy on it as well! I figured the birthday festivities were over.
One of my students wished me happy birthday before class. I wondered how he knew. He said a friend told him. He wouldn't tell me what friend but things in Piura get around!
However, my 11 am Intermediate II class was a bit restless. We had concluded a series of activities, and I was about to launch into the next batch, when they resisted. I could sense they were bored,so I said great, let's take a break. Then, some of the students proceeded to bring out bags of snacks and goodies, plus a card for me that they'd passed around to sign for me! It also was another girl's birthday too! I was so surprised. Some of the students presented me with goodies and the card. I was really surprised and touched.
Later that night, I went to the church party organized for me. They all were waiting for me. I'm glad I prepared a speech. We ate dinner and then the dancing started. I tried to learn two salsa steps but to no great end. I ended up dancing anyway and had a good evening! The cake part was funny, I didn't know what they were asking me to do, but it ended up that I was supposed to take a bite of the cake. I did and then it was "smushed" in my face. Hah hah.
Monday night, one student in my Upper English class asked me when my birthday was. I told her it was the day before. On Tuesday, she brought me a gift!
I was really touched by how welcoming, genuine, and kind (some!) of my students and ward members have been for me to actually make this effort for me. Plus my colleagues are all nice to me. This has been an easy part of the transition, thanks to the people. It's a great lesson for me to make sure I also reach out and care for the people around me - here in Piura and at home.