One thing I really enjoy here in Russia is the way they celebrate birthdays. I received many fine greetings today, both near and far, but I wanted to share a few from some of my Russian friends:
1. May your birthday be the beginning of another great journey!...Cirque du Soleil, okay so this was not a Russian friend, but I really liked it so I thought I would share it with everyone.
2. Happy birthday to you, Vince! Wishing you a good health, a big success & happiness, and big money with great love. Many happy returns of the day.
3. Happy birthday, dear Vince! Many happy returns of this day! I sincerely wish you success in everything you do, happiness, health, and joyful adventures!
4. Happy birthday Mr. Kramer. I wish you good and happy life till the end of your days!
5. Happy Birthday! I wish you have a sunny coming day, many smiles, reliable friends surrounding you, feel family warmth and always be the way you are.
6. Happy Birthday my dear friend! I wish you good health, good friends (you already have), long life, and no bad days in your life.
Great Group of Friends!
The Ultimate Obninsk Team, aka the Obninsk Street Guards
7. May life's brightest joys illuminate your path, and may each day's journey bring you closer to your dreams! Happy Birthday Vince!
8. Happy Birthday "Dr. Evil" . 4th anniversary - this is serious! I hope there will be a huge celebration tonight! I wish you no headaches for tomorrow!! But seriously, I wish you to be happy!!! (Anything that makes you happy to be there for you!) Big, huge hugs!!!
9. Phone call, "Wince, Happy Birthday." (all in English from someone that only knows Russian so it made it all the more meaningful!)
It was a good day filled with a lot of emotions. First of all, I can not believe I am 40. There are days I feel like it and then other days I feel like I am in my twenties still. I had many great gifts from those at work. The two that stand out the most is the Gzhel vodka holder in the form of a stergeon that Misha got for me. It is really nice and I had been looking at them for some time. The other gift was from my Microbiologist,
Look at that ol' man's form
as I cross the line and probably threw a gutter ball, but we did have fun!
who always has some of the most meaningful gifts. Last year she got me a dust gnomel (sp?) to watch over the house. It may sound funny, but the story that goes with him, makes it mean a lot. This year, Lena bought me a plaque that has several things in it. One is grapes representing wealth and the other is walnuts for health, if I remember correctly.
Today, after volleyball, the team presented me a game ball that they all had signed and told me I am welcome on their team now and anytime in the future whether here or after I move back to the States. I brought some drinks and cake to help us celebrate as well and presented the team with a small volleyball with our picture on it and thanked them for allowing me to be part of the team and more importantly for their friendship. Sorry I do not have any pictures from here, but had we taken any, they would not have been appropriate for posting since this was after sauna.
On Wednesday, Alan, Michael, Dasha and I went out for my birthday. We went to the "famous" bowling alley that
Having a Good Time
Although you can see Gaukhar, she was the only female in the group so she too was having a good time with all of these single guys around.
after two years is finally open. It was nice, but not much different from what Michael and Dasha said. After a drink, we decided to bowl since there were several lanes open. The first game Michael won with a score around 150's and I had second with a 133, which is really good for me. We will not discuss Alan's or Michael's score but Alan wanted to bowl a second game and boy he come back with a score of 151 and I dropped to third with a 119, which is about normal. It was fun!
On Saturday, I had a party at my house. I am glad I did most of the work preparing for it on Friday because I had to work on Saturday and did not arrive home until 15 minutes before the first guest arrived. It was nothing too wild, but I think everyone had a good time with the last guest leaving around 2 AM! However, what was awesome was gifts. I did not want anyone to bring anything, but everyone thought they should bring something. To name just a few of the gifts, Jack Daniels, a vodka tie, roses, compressiable (travel) extra large
metal shot glass, fruit basket, a few hand made items such as jam and a flax doiley (sp?), ski googles (humm, wonder how someone knew I wanted those...lol), a book with pictures and history of most of the major Russian cities (to help me with picking my next Russian city to visit), and a hand cut mediallion from the Obninsk Atomic station that says, "Friends will be friends - to Vince from friends of Obninsk" and then the Russia and US flag engraved on the opposite side.
Now the best was the tee shirt from the Obninsk Street Guards. On the front it has one of the pictures from Sochi and says, "Conquering Sochi - Your City is Next!" and on the back "Ultimate Obninsk Team". As you can see, I have some great friends here that have really made Russia home for me. As I toasted, it because of them that Russia has become home!
Thank you to everyone for making my 40th birthday a wonderful birthday!
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