Sunday, June 3, 2012

More birthdays

This time, it was mine.
I don't know if I'll ever get used to having a birthday without my family and friends around, but it does get easier the more friends I make here and the closer I get to Manuel's family.  It's not the same, but it is nice in a different way.
The Vernazza apartment - on the second story - still mud lines
As I've explained, this month has been full of parties.  Openings after the flood, followed by the kick off of festivals and two other birthday parties of friends, week after week has been cake and prosecco filled.  That's why for my birthday, which though technically was on Friday but celebrated on Wednesday since the Cantina is closed, was spent doing nothing cake related at all.  We woke up late and did my favorite activity in Monterosso - took the tourist boat around.   Tourist or not, seeing the Cinque Terre by boat is really the most amazing way to appreciate how small and isolated this little piece of coast dotted with villages is, and even when you know that they are small, it's still a great view.
birthday tian :)
We had a long lunch in Vernazza, which was more amusing when our waiter picked out Manuel's accent and then figured out how they knew each other and were, in fact, related through some sort of marriage, as Manuel's grandparents were from Vernazza.  The lunch was beautiful, and it's really great to see Vernazza getting back on it's feet, but at the same time, it was Manuel's first time seeing Vernazza since the flood, and while we were there we checked in on their first floor apartment there.  So many months later, with our lives busy, mud-free and totally back to normal, it's a hard blow to see mud again.  It brings you crashing back down to Earth to see more things to fix, more mud to scrape off, more walls needing to be gutted.  Vernazza looks so much better then it did, but, understandably, it's not where it was, and this wasn't easy to see for the first time for me, let alone for someone who has lived their whole life here.
View of some of the mudslide remainders from the boat
After we left, we sailed over to Riomaggiore for cocktails at the little bar right before the Via Dell'Amore, which has the most amazing view.  At the right time in the afternoon, you have the place to yourself,  hanging over the water, sitting in the sun and gazing at the sea.  Then, back to Monterosso.  A perfect Wednesday ended with dinner back at home at Miky, where I can eat all sorts of wonderful things from the sea that I'm not allergic too, and when you know the chef, your food allergy anxiety is non-existant.
Corniglia by sea
A perfect birthday Wednesday could only be topped by a perfect actual birthday.  I wanted to do something I've never done before, and I picked paddle boarding.  I'm a scaredy-cat, worry-wort who can't swim quite well, so this was a bold move.  Thanks to my other American-Monterosso ladies, I walked to the beach Friday morning to umbrellas covered in ballons, prosecco, cake, fruit, and my fears staring me right in the face.  I tried it, and couldn't really stand up too well (mainly because I saw a huge jellyfish swimming underneath me and didn't want to fall on it) but it was still quite fun and I'm excited to float around town again.  Ironically, my beloved tourist boat was stirring up some waves that made my fledgling paddle boarding even more wobbly.  Friday afternoon, I headed to work, but was surprised by a "not" surprise party with all of Monterosso that night.  Manuel's mom and great-Aunt brought in a huge cake and bottles of prosecco, and conveniently, all of our friends (and then some) happened to be there for the occasion.  Randomly, two mixologists from San Diego were there drinking, and whipped us up some great cocktails later on in the night.  It never ceases to amaze me how many randomly odd things happen here.  Last week, a nude New Zealand man wandered over to the Cantina, literally - totally naked - and wanted help finding his hotel room and clothing.  He didn't even remember he had left his more drunk wife inside the room.  This week, flaming cocktails and a dance party.  Two weeks ago, an angry Japanese chihuahua.  And two more earthquakes to boot.

The most wonderful place for a drink

My third birthday cake

guest bartenders whipping up flaming drinks
At least it's never boring, and I had a great time at all my birthday celebrations.  It would have been made better only by having my family and friends here, but it's really wonderful to read facebook messages and e-mails to remind me of all the love and wonderful people I have in my life, all over this crazy world.


  1. Happy birthday!! You don't know me, but I am a faithful reader of your wonderful blog. Following the events of this past 7-8 months has been a regular part of my days - it is amazing to see all that has happened in your life and in your town.

    Cheers- Laura

  2. thank you so much!! haha, it's amazing for me too to see what happened here and how far it's come - thank you for reading :)
    best, christine