Of course my family is awesome and had a little party for me to celebrate early... before I left which was really nice. On my actual birthday, I did that hike I just blogged about, and mostly just forgot that it was my birthday. It was a perfect distraction and I LOVED it. Great idea to be on vacation for my birthday. All of those things that I care about happening on my birthday when I am at home, none of it mattered while I was on vacation in Brazil. Just didn't think about it. I was having a great time. I wasn't at work. I wasn't around anyone I knew except for Stacey and he was celebrating with me. It was awesome. So all of the Facebook messages and text messages I got that day were just a bonus that made me feel extra loved and special and made my great day just that much better. I loved reading each message from each person and just had the biggest smile on my face. Even though Facebook tells people it is your birthday, I still always feel super loved that everyone writes to me. One of my favorite messages of the day was from my sister-in-law's mother. She is the sweetest and she wrote me the greatest poem for my birthday. I read it to Stacey and he of course told me that I needed to reply with a poem that he helped me write because he is better at that stuff than I am. My other favorite message was from my couch surfer friends from Switzerland. They not only sent me a message telling me happy birthday, but they made a video of them dancing out in the wilderness in Switzerland to the Beatles Birthday song. How awesome are they? I'm so sad they live so far away... otherwise I would hang out with them all of the time. they are my type of people.
I was totally satisfied with my birthday and had just showered and was ready for bed. The power had gone out for like an hour so Stacey and I were just hanging out on our bunk beds in the dorm chatting and trying to figure out ideas for our video from the trip. All of the sudden, one of the girls from our room came in to get something and saw us in bed at only 10pm and she started to playfully yell at us in her Brazilian accent that we needed to get out of bed and come join the party our in the common area of the hostel. We were telling her that we were tired and I don't remember how it got brought up that it was my birthday, but when he heard that, she got even more excited and pulled me out of bed and gave me the biggest hug lifting me off of the ground. It was adorable how excited this stranger in our dorm that we had never talked to before was for my birthday. She dragged us out of our beds and got us to the common room and was telling everyone in sight that it was my birthday. People kept wanting to buy me drinks, but I told them I don't drink so I got a peach soda instead. We were just sitting at the table chatting when all of the sudden a group of people from the hostel (again... that I had never met before) came up to me playing to ukulele and sang Happy Birthday in Portuguese to me. It was THE BEST! I loved every minute of it. Then after each and every one of them gave me a hug after. Stacey being the great documenter that he is... recorded it, so that I could remember this very sweet moment with strangers forever.
I expected nothing on my birthday and for the first time didn't care and I ended up having an awesome birthday with all of these strangers that treated me like family. I was actually really touched by the whole thing. Sure, some of them might have been a little drunk but I loved every minute of it. This is why I LOVE hostels. You connect and make friends instantly with all of these people no matter what part of the world they are from, no matter what race they are, no matter what they believe or how old they are. You are all doing the same thing. Traveling on the cheap and love to meet new people. It's an amazing community of people that I really wish people wouldn't be so afraid of. When I tell people that I stay in hostels when I travel they instantly think I am crazy. People think of the scary hostel movie or what creepers you could be sharing a room with. Sure, occasionally you get weird experiences, but mostly... you get these type of experiences and make amazing friends and people that make you feel special on your birthday even though they don't know you at all. This is what people should think of when they think of hostels. This is why I love them. What an awesome birthday that I will not forget.