Maria was my host mother when I lived in Ruseștii Noi, and she turned 60 on February 19. Her three children threw her an unbelievable party to show her how much the appreciate her. Maria really is an exceptional woman, and she and Tudor raised some wonderful children. It was fun to be with them all again.

Lilia did a lot of the planning for the party, and she did an excellent job. The party started at 4pm with the MC inviting the guests by name to greet Maria. Then we were all ushered to our tables while Maria cut the ribbon at her table. Tudor and Maria each said a few words, and dinner was served. Servers came around with fire-flaming plates of fish while the men at the table made no hesitations to open the specially labeled cognac. Maria’s four grandchildren each recited a poem, and Flavius and his dance partner even preformed a special dance. Maria and Tudor visited each table, toasting all the guests to health, money, and love. Then it was to the dance floor for Maria’s and Tudor’s first dance. (Moldovans dance… a lot.)

There were several surprises for Maria throughout the night. Special people from Maria’s life came, and even a popular folklore singer performed. After a slideshow illustrating special events in Maria’s life, a second dinner was served. (Moldovans eat… a lot.) More dancing, conversating, eating, and drinking followed. We all went outside on cue to see the fireworks, and came back in to light sparklers and usher in the birthday cake. The party was still going into the AM, but we left just after midnight. The time, money, and effort Maria’s children put into that party was so thoughtful. The Panfil’s are a great family, and I’m lucky to know them.