Moldovan birthdays are a little different than what I’m used to. You are expected to invite guests to your home, prepare a big dinner feast, serve lots of alcohol, and send them off with a small parting gift at the end of the night. It’s a lot of work, especially for someone who is not interested in celebrating her birthday.

I begged my host mother to not tell anyone in the village about my birthday, and to my surprise she agreed. Our host sister who lives in the neighboring village came with her husband and their 4 year old kid. We ate potatoes and meet, clătită with apple jam, salad and the most delicious apple and walnut cake. They toasted to my health and happiness, and wished me all the money in the world. They gave me flowers, perfume, and a few figurines. They were very generous to me. And as much as I don’t like birthdays, it was a great day.

My favorite thing is breakfast in bed, so on the morning of my birthday, Curt walked in with a breakfast platter serving a cheese omelet, french toast, juice, and tea.

Because we knew our host family would want to do something on my birthday, we celebrated my birthday the weekend before. Curt made me a delicious pasta (garlic, apple, tomato, basil, and white wine sauce) and a calorie-filled dessert (ice cream over a fudge brownie, topped with hot chocolate sauce and chopped up milky way bars).