I generally try to post every day during the week, but I skipped a day or two because…it was Mark’s birthday! That’s right, he’s the big 3-7 now…So, how do you celebrate a birthday in Bulgaria?

Well, here’s how we did it. I wanted to do the usual–get a cake, buy some presents, go to a nice dinner. But not so easy! Shopping here is, ummmm, a bit difficult. Besides the fact that it is hard to find a store that sells what you are looking for, the sizes here are different. I wanted to buy Mark some slippers or some shoes, but what size should I buy him? And it would be REALLY difficult to return something if it didn’t fit. So, I decided against the shoes, or any clothing for that matter. What else? After trying to fit everything for one year into two suitcases, I knew that if I bought something he doesn’t really need, we’d never be able to bring it back to the United States. So, the present idea was OUT!

On to the nice restaurant. Mark had spotted a nice restaurant on one of our dog walks and he had been wanting to try it. So, we got all dressed and ready to go, walked to the restaurant, went inside the restaurant which seemed to be open (the tables weree set and the candles were lit), but nobody was there. I mean NOBODY! Strange. So, the nice dinner was also OUT!

The birthday was not so successful so far. I needed to save it. I had found a cute, cozy pizzeria place during my walks, so we ended up eating dinner there. Instead of a gift, I took dog walking duty for three days and gave Mark a foot and head massage. But, the cake. Oh, the cake. SUCCESS!

I had secretly called Mark’s partner, Niki, and asked where I could get a cake. He offered to get a cake for me and meet me in secret. So Niki picked out a beautiful, little cake with fresh fruit on top. I hid the cake inside the house, sent Mark to do some housework in the bedroom and set up the cake and a card. Now you know we didn’t have any candles. You know, us?who can’t even find a pencil? For sure we never found candles. But we did have incense sticks. So I stuck an incense stick out the side of the cake so the ashes wouldn’t fall on the cake, and…voila!..we had a birthday cake! Guiseppe and I sang, we removed the incense, and cut the cake. The inside looked like chocolate. Turns out, it was made with some type of dough and passionfruit (similar to guava). This wasn’t quite what we were expecting, but hey! we had a cake!

It felt a little like a Survivor-type birthday with just making the best out of what we had. I suppose we could have busted open a coconut and lit the incense inside of that. But all in all, we had some good laughs about the whole situation and decided we’d go shopping for slippers together this week.

!!!!!!!!!Happy Birthday, Mark!!!!!!!!