I was born 3 days after Donn’s parents welcomed him into the world. Of course, I didn’t realize this at the time. In fact, it wasn’t until we were already very good friends that we realized not only did we both have end-of-September birthdays, but that we knew about 10 other people whose birthdays fell on the two days between our own. The end of September is a VERY POPULAR time of year to be born! I thought about it for a while before I realized the obvious connection to New Year’s. A lot of couples want to start the year out right, apparently, and the results show up 9 full months later.

It’s weird, having virtually the same birthday as your husband. We’re sort of like twins, only not really at all. When we turned 30 (see what I mean? Doesn’t that sound weird and a teensy bit creepy?), Donn tried to have a surprise party for me, but of course it was for both of us. That’s the downside. On the other hand, it’s sort of like having a 4-day-long birthday. That’s definitely a positive thing. I’m old enough now to hate birthdays, but I do like presents, free coffee, and affirmation. So it’s a toss-up.

This year, Donn and I celebrated our birthdays in style. We combined it with our anniversary, which is in August but which we didn’t celebrate so that we could justify a night at a hotel in downtown Portland. We went yesterday, which was my actual birthday. In spite of that, when I had to sign something I had to think, “Now what is today’s date?” This is a sure sign of aging, which is of course the point of birthdays.

Valet parking was nearly $30, which seemed excessive to us, so we actually took public transportation to our special Night Away at what Ilsa called our “fantic-romantic” hotel. We only had one small case, so it made sense to us.

It’s been a long time since we took buses and MAX trains in this town, so we felt all student-age and romantic again. We refrained from making out, but we had a lot of fun eavesdropping. This is what we learned:

  • “These kids that were all punk last year? This year, they’re all either homeless or riding bikes.”

She presented it like a syllogism, but I don’t think it really is.

  • “So, we went over to these people’s house, and it turned out they were hippy, New-Age—not the dirt-bag stinky hippy, but the kind of trippy and candles everywhere and she sat so close to me on the couch! I was like, ‘The Bubble is here.’”

I was interested to learn there are different classifications for hippy. This could be useful information.

Once downtown, we went to the hotel and checked in. We had a great time, a fun celebration, and we really enjoyed spending time together.

One of my best presents was a phone call from our new landlord; we can move in tomorrow. This will tell you what saints our friends are: in spite of having the entire Nomad family, all 5 of us, living in their basement for a month now, they claim that they are sad we are leaving. I know that I would not be sad to lose the extra 5 people in the basement, even if they were very good friends. And it’s not like we’re going back to Africa immediately—we are just moving across town. But it’s been a fun month, like being in a college dorm all over again, except with responsibilities and small children. We stay up late talking; we leave the older kids in charge and go out, just the adults, for late-night “Happy Hour” snacks; we are nowhere near running out of things to talk about with each other. Our kids are sad; they love living with their “best friends in America.”

I love these people, and a small part of me is sad to leave. Most of me, however, is just looking forward to unpacking all those suitcases for the first time since July 12. Of course I’m not sure when we’ll have regular internet again. Again. Story of my life.

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