Friday, October 17, 2008

birthday celebrations in Kurdistan

I promised to upload photos of my surprise birthday party, but as it turns out, there is too much danger of putting up photos of people who don't want to appear online to people they don't know (but those who know me well can view the other photos on Facebook). Anyway, the photo below shows me entering the house and trying to figure out what is going on. My guests were all hiding around the corner and forgot to jump out... but I could see the decorations in the living room! (And I will have reminders of this great party for a while to come as there are little spots all over my walls now where the tape holding up the balloons and the banners took off the paint when they came down).

I don't know if it is normal to have a surprise party on one's birthday in Kurdistan, but some of the elements of my party were as they would have been for any of the Kurdish students at the university on their birthdays (one of my friends back in Canada asked how birthdays are celebrated here). After I came in, I was invited to have some snacks (the students at the university pass around cans of Coke and orange Fanta - at my party it was beer, wine, cherry juice & vodka or a little of the champagne that was left over after it was dumped all over me). Then came the cake, the candle blowing ritual and gift-opening. Finally came the penultimate point of any Kurdish birthday party - the Kurdish dancing. See below photo:

Unfortunately, I have no photos to document what came next (which was more typical of my friends than of Kurdish parties). D dumped all the wrapping from my presents over the balcony onto the balcony of N; Lesley started cleaning, and 3 or 4 other partiers got into a heated game of backgammon. I wonder if it is tonight that G, the loser, will pay the penalty and take us all to dinner.

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