Many of you know I celebrated a birthday at the end of January... and it was fantastic, mostly thanks to Greg. He started off the celebrations a week early with the iPod touch I'd been hinting at not very discreetly. After that, every morning I found a little wrapped present waiting for me in the guest room. We've never been big into giving presents because we hardly need anything, but Greg put a lot of thought into each one. It was very sweet.
I also had a wonderful lunch with my friends and aunt on Thursday; brunch at Cafe Beethoven with a piano player and cross-country skiing last Saturday in beautiful Oberammergau. Thanks for all the cards, pressies (as my British/Irish/Aussie/NZ friends call them), calls and e-mails! It was an absolutely amazing birthday week!
I'd like to share two interesting observations about birthdays here before I sign off. First, at work, everyone came to wish me "everything good on my birthday" or the rough translation of that, and shook my hand. It felt very formal. I did get two hugs from the 20 or so people I work with, but the rest were handshakes. I'm pretty sure it wasn't because I smelled funny because I've seen them do it to others before. Thankfully, there was no singing of the birthday song at work.
Secondly, it appears that some Germans (not sure if this is how everyone does it) will take their friends for a meal and pay for it all. The waiter at the place where we had lunch on my birthday told us one time they had a group of 30 in there and the birthday girl ended up spending 7000 Euros ($9,500+) on her dinner. That's 233.33 Euros per person (yes, I did get the calculator out for that one ;-)! Can you believe it?!?
And with that, I'll leave you with a photo of the flower coming off of our spider plant.