Normally I write a blog around the time of my birthday (I think), and I am a bit behind this year. Nonetheless, here goes nothin'.
I actually survived 28 years of life so far! haha. How have I managed this? Surely not alone. It's been quite a journey, especially in this last year. I keep thinking about the whole "turning 30" crunch, and I cringe just a little bit at the thought. However, several of my friends who recently turned 30 or are already over 30 reassure me that life in your 30's is so much better than in your 20's. I hope they are right.
It's funny for me because sometimes I feel this immense pressure to be someone or do something because I am already such and such age. I guess the truth of the matter is that I am not everyone else, and God has me set on a certain course so I just better be shut up and enjoy the ride.
My 28th birthday was nice. Guido woke up extra early and decorated the whole apartment, including Zacchy, and he wouldn't even let me downstairs until he was done. He and Zac came upstairs blowing horns and singing "Happy Birthday" to me. Well, Zac just barked and licked me while jumping all over our bed, which was weird for him because it is usually forbidden territory to even be upstairs. Guido had ordered me a nice book about my new digital SLR camera that we had bought a couple of months prior. It was a nice gift, and I am sure I will use it often. Later in the morning, my mother-in-law came for a cup of coffee and brought me a gift and a bouquet of flowers. That was such a nice treat as she knows how much I just love fresh flowers.
Guido had it all planned out for my birthday day. He wouldn't tell me anything, but only reassured me that I would really like it. So, with Zac, we hopped in the car and went. Along the way, I tried guessing where we were going, but nothing made sense because we couldn't bring a dog to alot of the places. So, I gave up. Well, as we got closer to Amsterdam, I actually sort of guessed what he had in mind, but he wouldn't give me 100% confirmation that I was right until we were just about there. We ended up in a nice touristy town called Volendam. It's on the water and located not too far from Amsterdam. We did things like enjoying a nice drink on a terrace, walking around, hanging out by the water, and some other things. We also had our picture taken with the traditional Dutch clothing on, which was a lot of fun. Zac is even in the picture. We went to a historic museum and also visited the island village of Marken by ferry. In the evening, we had a very nice meal along with a beer for Guido and a Strongbow for me. We enjoyed it! There was a beautiful sunset on the ride home as well. All in all, the day was fantastic. It was a great first birthday to share with my lovely husband.
On Friday, the 28th, we set out to Scheveningen in the evening in order to feast with friends and enjoy a night out on the town. We went to a fun restaurant that had great spare ribs (so I was told), which is the main reason why my husband chose this place in the first place. There's nothing like having your own stomach in mind when planning your wife's birthday dinner party! It's really SUCH a man thing to do. Ha! It was nice though. We had a fun time with friends, and I also got alot of nice gifts. I still have the bear cup that the waitress gave to me. The employees even prepared an ice cream with sparklers, put a stupid, dirty "Gefeliciteerd" hat on my head, and sang "Lang Zal Ze Leven" to me, which basically is the "Happy Birthday" song they sing in Dutch. Afterwards, we proceeded to a place called Crazy Pianos. It was fun, and the music was good as well. We danced, hung out, joked around, and just had a nice time. We didn't get to bed until about 4 am. Yep, wayyyy past my bedtime these days. Haha.
Needless to say, when we had to wake up for the family birthday picnic the next day, Saturday, I wasn't the happiest camper in the world. Well, I hate camping altogether so my previous statement doesn't say so much. We arrived a bit late, and I was a little miserable from being overtired. It was nice though. We were celebrating my and my mother-in-law's birthdays as she also has a summer birthday, but hers is in July. The food was yummy, lots of conversation, and I also got a lot of nice gifts. I still need to go shopping to use the gift cards and money that I got.
All in all, this birthday was great! The only thing missing was...well...many of you. It really sunk in a bit deeper just how homesick I really am. It's been a really long time since I've spent a birthday or any other day with many of you, and I kind of felt like a part of me was missing this year. I really love and enjoy my friends and family here, but they will never take the place of my family and friends in the states. It wasn't better or worse to be here, just...different.
Looking back on this year, I can say that it surely hasn't been easy, but God has been really good to me. That's something that will never change either because it's just His nature to be that way...even to me. I've got a great husband who makes me constantly makes me laugh, puts up with my temper, and surely makes life interesting. We'll leave it at that. Haha. I am blessed to have a doggy who is the cutest dog in the world, and I don't care what anyone else thinks. He just is. He is such a little stinker and quite dramatic at times. No tellin' where he got THAT from! Haha. God has kept true to His promises to me from several years ago to restore what the locusts have eaten, and I see it ringing so true in my life. And...it just doesn't stop. Even in the past few days, He has given me a lot of brand new things to look forward to as well, and it's only getting better.
I feel a little "shocked" to be 28 already. I think because I always pictured my life to be different than it actually is, especially at this age. It doesn't matter though. Everything happens for a reason, and nothing is a mistake. It all works out for the good. I am just happy that Jesus is with me, and the love affair grows stronger and truer everyday, despite my stubbornness, among other things. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what this next year holds for me. I can be sure of one thing though: it's full of great things...new treasures to be found, new joys to be experienced, and new surprises to come to light. Here's a toast to turning 28! Cheers!