Today is my birthday...yep, happy birthday to me.
Last night Catalina said we should go out with friends, and asked me to suggest a restaurant. Well, I had no idea what to choose from, and no idea what really is available. I told her this, but she had picked up some magazines of sorts promoting local businesses and tourism....including restaurants.
I picked one, and she called and made a reservation for 8. The 8 being Catalina and I, her friends Ana and Raluca, their boyfriends Alin and Vlad, and her sister Laura and her boyfriend Cosmin.
Later that evening, people call Cata asking what I want as a present. I told her I really don't need anything, after all, what do I really need? And what do I really want to carry home with me? Besides, I know things aren't the best here economically and I would feel a bit guilty having them buy me stuff. Catalina insisted I come up with something.....her friends were insisting as well.
Catalina, Laura and I were sitting at their kitchen table discussing the meal, when one of them (not sure which) said "You do understand Jeff, that since it is your birthday, you are supposed to pay for the meal"
"Uh....huh....what?" was all I could say as my mind tried to grasp this concept. My birthday and I pay? How is that possible? Can we change this to McDonalds? No wonder they wanted to bring me gifts... I pay for the meal. It now sorta made since why everyone was so concerned about gifts.
Kinda worried about this. Okay...how much per person would this be? I had no idea, so I brough lots of cash just in case. Good thing I don't know many people here...imagine a party with 30? The mind reels.... It's the accountant in me that worries about cost. I can't help it....
I shouldn't have worried anyway. It was a nice dinner, and really not that expensive either. About $130 total, and for 8 people I can't complain. Good company and good conversation. Well, I think it was good conversation. Some was in English, most in Romanian. I can't complain... I go to a foreign country I shouldn't expect everyone to speak English all the time just for me. If it was important, they translated.
I really had a nice time, and I think the others did too. All in all, a very nice birthday....
However, my next birthday will be spent in the States. Someone else can pay!