The birthday madness started at midnight on March 4. I was watching some movie with my cousin, Virgilio, and brother, Guillermo, at the house. My host-mother, Patricia (or Pati), was on the computer chatting with her son in Alaska. At midnight, she came over and gave me a hug. She then made my cousin get up and give me a hug. She tapped my brother but he was sleeping so I didn't get a hug from him. She went and woke up my host-father, Olmedo, and he came and gave me a hug. It was just a late-night, happy hug-fest.
In the morning, Olmedo was home from work to check on the cake (with apples, raisins, nuts, and carrots). He's really into making desserts; he always seems to bring some to the Rotary meetings and they're really good. Pati was preparing the table. They invited some of my exchange friends over - the two other boys in Machala were in Guayaquil so it was just me and ten exchange student girls. Olmedo kept making jokes about that. We ate, then had the cakes. Two exchange girls (Lara R. and Lara C. both from Germany) brought cakes - one was a cake from Sweden and the other was an apple and nut cake. On Olmedo's cake, they put one fat candle. When they lit it, it was like a firework; I'm surprised it didn't burn a hole in the ceiling. After that, Pati started a game where the others would guess some question she made up about me, and she'd give them a mardi gras necklace if they answered correctly. This was pretty much awkward for everyone, but I'm sure we'll look back on this and laugh.
Later that night, my host-parents took me to a concert in Machala hosted by our Rotary club. Some of the exchange students were there, too. It started first with a band from a university in Machala, and then went to the main program: two men who call themselves Ars Duo that play a violin (from 1670!) and guitar. They started with classical songs - my favorite being Gymnopedie 1 - then went to songs by Spanish composers (I didn't know those). After the show, we talked with them, and the guitarist gave me one of their cds! Someone must have told him it was my birthday.
Host-parents: Olmedo and Patricia
President of my host-club with the 1670 violin
Security guard that looked like Goober from The Andy Griffith Show