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Happy birthday! June 23, 2016

Posted by stinawp in Uncategorized.
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June 14, 2016

Don’t worry, it wasn’t my birthday today. There’s an OTS field biology course here and one of the students had her birthday. Which meant that we all got birthday cake for dessert at dinner. Every year I’ve been here there are two OTS courses that come in the middle of June and there’s always been at least one birthday while they’ve been here*. What’s really fun is that Palo Verde is always their first stop, so none of the students are expecting it. And there’s a ritual to it, so I can tell when I arrive at dinner that there’s a birthday even when I wasn’t told about it.

First, there’s no dessert set out like there usually is. This is a huge red flag that there’s birthday cake in the house. It also means that I’ll need to stick around longer than usual to get some, but it’s worth it. Sometimes a student or two will finish eating, leave, and need to be herded back to the comedor. Once it’s time, someone has to turn off the ceiling fans, because the candles won’t stay lit long enough for the birthday person to blow them out. Sometimes the students notice the fans are off, but they never seem to guess what’s going on. Then the lights get turned off, which definitely gets everyone’s attention, and they bring the cake out of the kitchen.

Finally, there is a rousing, more-or-less incompetent rendition of Feliz cumpleaños and the cake is served. In Costa Rica, it’s customary for the birthday person to cut the cake for everyone else, so it can be a while before they get to eat any. But the cake is definitely worth the wait. This cake was chocolate with dulce de leche as frosting. Delicious!

 

* Statistically, I guess this makes sense. If you have 35 people staying for 10 days and they each have a 1/365 probability of having a birthday on one of those days, the probability that someone will have a birthday during those 10 days is 96%. (1/365*10*35 = 0.96)

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