Although my birthday was on Thursday, I felt very lucky to be celebrated all week by the people I've held nearest and dearest in my time here. Kicking off the week on Monday with a red velvet cake Veronica baked for our Bible Study was certainly a great start! Everyone was so kind and generous.
I got to spend the actual day at the Vine - lunch club with the pensioners and homework club with the wee ones - an hilarious balance of those who consider 30 to be very young with those who consider 30 to be very old!
After work, my friend David and I rushed to the bus station for our 5.5-hour trip to Cork. We spent the next two days exploring the city and incredible grounds at Blarney Castle - yes, I kissed the stone!
We made it back to Belfast for work on Sunday, but my special birthday treats were not yet over! Last year, when my friend Bill learned I would be spending the year in the British Isles, he told me about Scottish singer Julie Fowlis - who some might recognize from the soundtrack for the Disney movie Brave. So when I heard that she would be performing in Belfast, I was sold! What a great show - it was held in a tent with little twinkle lights dancing in the breeze, and the whole thing was just a bit magical. Here's the end of their set:
and the song from the movie (the only song that wasn't sung in Scottish Gaelic):
While my life has now more or less returned to business as usual after 2 weeks mentally dedicated to Derby and birthday, in the end even though hitting 30 was a scary milestone... it's not so bad on the other side!