Yup, I’m no longer a 35-year-old spinster, but a 36-year-old one (who’s been ‘horny too long time’, if you believe the hype).
My birthday was yesterday but as Tuesday is kind of a crap day to celebrate, I decided to have the main event last Saturday night. First up was a rendez-vous with… let’s call him Yummy Jānis, for reasons that will become apparent later.
Yummy Jānis discovered the blog via the Kas Jauns debacle, and in one of his comments offered to take his ‘new found idol’ out for a drink. He pretty much had me at ‘idol’ but, as he lives in Jelgava, it took us a few weeks to make it happen. I arranged to meet him on Saturday night at 7, knowing that I was meeting my girlfriends at 9. That way, if he turned out to be a typical reticent Latvian guy, I’d only have to listen to the sound of my own voice for around 2 hours (that’s more than most people can bear).
As luck would have it, he ended up being one of the chattiest, funniest Latvians I think I’ve ever met. We talked about everything but I think my favourite part was when he told me that Latvian women used to be used as horses, back in the day. Well, the men needed to find some practical application for the useless creatures, right? It may or may not be true, but I almost didn’t make it to my actual birthday I laughed so much.
The best part wasn’t even that he was tall, dark and handsome – the best part was that he had MADE ME SWEETS. Actually made. From scratch. A whole bag of them. Next time we meet, he wants to cook me dinner and, in spite of Lady of the Cakes’ warning that he might be a ‘Special Agent sent by the Latvian government’s Negative Publicity Eradication Unit’, I think I’ll take my chances… those sweets were goooooood.
Anyway, 9 o’clock rolled around all too quickly so I popped the remaining sweets into my bag, bade Yummy Jānis farewell, and trotted across the road to the wine bar I’d arranged to meet my friends in. Now I’ve mentioned before that Latvian women are a bit crafty, but I’d no idea just how crafty – and this time I mean it in an ‘arts and craft-y’ sort of way.
Having given up exchanging birthday gifts with my Irish girlfriends a long time ago, I wasn’t expecting anything (although one of those leopard print hats that seem to be all the rage right now wouldn’t go amiss). First of all, Lena showed up bearing a large jar of body scrub that she had made herself, and some home-made lip-gloss. I moved the sweets over a little in my bag and popped the new goodies in next to them.
Next was Una with a Tupperware container full of cupcakes – I carry a large handbag but large enough for Tupperware? I just about managed to fit it in, my bag groaning at the seams. Finally, Liga arrived with a huge bag of sweetened, dried apple peelings (not really sure how to describe them) and a massive jar of tomato salad mix – her mum’s speciality…
Next year, I think I’ll invite people around to my place first, as a plastic shopping bag full of homemade Latvian delicacies and toiletries doesn’t really go with anything I have in my wardrobe.
The day of my birthday finally dawned bright and around -5, which is actually pretty balmy for this time of year in Latvia. Unfortunately, as it was a Tuesday, it was a normal working day for me – and my busiest of the week. Having stopped to swear at a ladder in my tights for a couple of minutes on the way to my 8.30am lesson, I was already running a bit late as I got into the lift.
I hit ‘5′ and the lift groaned upwards. It stopped on the fifth floor but there was a slight technical hitch at this point – i.e. the doors didn’t open. I did what I imagine most people in this situation would and hit the ‘doors open’ button. Nothing. Then I hit ‘5′ again. Then ‘1′. Then ‘2′, ‘3′, ‘4′. Nothing. I tried to prise the doors open but, after several minutes of grunting, only managed to ascertain that at least there was carpet outside the doors and not cables.
Thankfully, my phone still had a signal so I called my student to let her know where I was. Unfortunately, we had never practised a ‘someone is stuck in a lift and they call you for help’ role-play so it took a few minutes to explain exactly what had happened. Finally, the security guard showed up and prised the doors open a little, managed to jam his foot between them, prised them a little more… and after hiking up my skirt (elegantly) and clambering up the distance between the lift and the floor, I was free.
I was lucky, seemingly, as this lift is very temperamental and people have been stuck in there for hours in the past. I shared my little adventure with my friend Simon upon returning home, who responded:
“It may be your birthday, but I don’t think you should still be lifting your skirt for a lift to work Linda! Honestly!”
I have such charming friends.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully enough, apart from one group of students singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me and making me drink champagne while on duty… I felt bad that I had to give them an exam after that, but I did it anyway.
After my last lesson, I made my way to my Danish friend’s house for a ‘home-cooked meal and some good wine’. (He’d said ‘tasting’; I heard ‘drinking’.) Unfortunately for him, I was 10 minutes early and just in time to catch him on the way out to pick up dinner from a restaurant across the street. This led to the best line a man can ever use in these sorts of situations:
The Great Dane: So, what is it again? Your 25th birthday?
Follow this with lots of excellent red wine, and you can’t lose.
And so, it’s all over for another year – apart from another two (maybe three) nights out. After that, I’ll settle quietly into old age… maybe.