Birthday Madness!

This past week has been pretty hectic at my house. On Saturday we had a huge birthday party for my two ‘cousins’, Ariana and Nicolas. So all week they have been over at the house all day CIMG0164preparing for this party and discussing what still needed to be done. I had no idea that this birthday party was going to be so huge! My host mom and host ‘aunt’ asked me if I would like to help them make the desserts and food. How can I say ‘no’ to some family time?  So, I woke up early (well….early in my book) and helped out as much as I could. Now, I have to let you all know that cooking isn’t my strong suit and my family never uses a recipe so I can’t read what I need to do. I have to figure out whatever it is they say for me to do, which sometimes can be difficult! I started out by making some vanilla cracker cluster balls. It was so incredibly easy to make so I was pretty proud that I was able to do it by myself. I even had some little helpers making them into balls and watching the youngsters steal some of the dough each chance they had. The day of the party I was making all the bite-sized sandwiches that would be served to the guests, which I was told was going to be about 30 children. My parents had rented a trampoline, a bouncy house, and they had hired a magician. At 4pm, people started arriving and what caught me off guard was how many people were actually crammed into this house. In the US at birthday parties, parents usually drop off their kids and pick them up at the end. Now, I should have known that in Peru (or Latin America for that matter) it is typical for the parents to stay; so not only where there 30 children, but their parents were here too! It was chaotic. But the party was beautiful. The kids were so incredibly happy and the decorations (most of them made by my ‘aunt’) were awesome. Oh, and those desserts? There was a whole table of sweets….I can’t believe the children didn’t die of all that sugar!

581662_10200230732424785_1627604270_n

Not only was it the children’s birthday, but I just celebrated my 21st birthday abroad! I had a great day spending time with the family and some friends! My day started out with the family lunch (and they made my favorite, Aji de Gallina!) and Cecilia (my host mom) trying to surprise me with a huge cake! It was a cake made out of ‘mil hojas’ with manjar (like a caramel) in the middle and the top was covered in strawberries. It was really good and I am excited to eat the left overs! The family all sang “Happy Birthday” in English and Spanish (as is CIMG0180the custom) and my ‘big sister’, Eva, even got me a few little gifts! It was a great lunch time with the family and I enjoyed being in their company. After lunch I went outside to jump a little on the trampoline that was still here from the kid’s party but as soon as I got on, my little cousins got on as well. So, together we played some games and I showed them some new ones that they really enjoyed. I hung out with Nicolas and Ariana for a few hours, jumping on the trampoline and playing with their new remote controlled race cars they had just gotten for their birthdays. I like playing with the children and I think they had a good time getting out some of that energy! I had a few friends coming over that night to cook a nice meal and celebrate. So, we decided that we would make taco dip, a white chicken pizza (from scratch) and an original cake which….turned out to be birthday cake batter pancakes, layered with whipped cream in between each pancake and loaded with strawberries on top. It might not have looked good, but it sure tasted awesome! A few friends came over from school and we enjoyed all the food together and started watching all the various Brazilian Prank videos on YouTube. It was a relaxing Monday night but I enjoyed having all my friends over!