The Big 3-6

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).

Happy birthday to me!

Happy birthday to me!

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).

"I said 'HUSH woman'"

“I said ‘HUSH woman'”

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.

In the days before leopard print and stilettos

Before leopard print and stilettos, there were ploughs

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 tip of the iceberg...

The tip of the iceberg…

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.

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Humor, Humour, Latvian men, Latvian women, Old age and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

105 Responses to The Big 3-6

  1. Pingback: Jānis gets Yummier | Expat Eye on Latvia

  2. Allison says:

    Happy Birthday! Sounds like you celebrated in style 🙂

  3. Happy Birthday Linda! Sounds like a fun, delicious birthday! I would have never guessed your age..nice work! 😉

  4. I’m a little late here, but let me wish you a belated Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a special day. I mean, a man baked you homemade treats? And they were good? That’s the definition of a win-win-win situation!

  5. polyglotfun says:

    You’re always teaching me things about yummy Latvians! 🙂

  6. Vanessa says:

    Hope you had a lovely birthday. Sounds like maybe you just found a reason to stay in Riga a while longer! 36????? I’ve got ten years on you, girl! enjoy still being young!!!!

  7. Happy belated birthday! My husbands was yesterday and we drank our fair share of local wine. 🙂 There is nothing better than receiving handmade goods as a gift, I treasure those acts of kindness. So … how’s your yummy Janis now?

  8. pollyheath says:

    Happy birthday! With your 15 minutes of fame upon you, I hope you got a taste tester for all of these gifts 🙂

  9. freebutfun says:

    We should have celebrated together as we celebrated on the same Saturday! But i’m still 5 days wiser ;), also quite a few janises poorer.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! Well, I still don’t technically have any Janises! 🙂 And I don’t think it takes much to be wiser than me 😉 Happy belated birthday to you!

  10. Daina says:

    Daudz laimes, Linda!!! May this year bring plenty of adventures (i.e. fodder for this blog)!

    Sounds like you had a lovely birthday! And Yummy Janis sounds like a keeper. 🙂 Of course, now that you’ve mentioned him, we will all breathlessly await updates on your relationship. 😉

  11. Happy Birthday! Good to hear the date went well. Bad to hear that you have a thing for younger men. I suppose you also like your men single? Woe is me….

  12. Nene says:

    Happy birthday fellow January woman! (Now that it’s over, I can safely congratulate you!) “Love” blogging – I can’t wait!

  13. alexraphael says:

    Sounds a wonderful birthday. What a nice thing to be able to say on a first message to someone.

  14. cantaloupe says:

    Happy birthday!!! And happy romancing, woo woo. Include more romance please. Especially dirty details.

  15. Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had a great day!

  16. Anna says:

    Thirty-six never looked so good 🙂 Happy Birthday, smarty-pants! But dont you dare complain about obligatory on the job drinking in the new year – you need to accept those things as a necessary and pleasant component of surviving those tough winters in Eastern – I mean, Northern – Europe!

  17. linnetmoss says:

    I’m disappointed! I thought Janis was going to be yummy for a whole different reason! But on second thought, you really can’t do better than a man who cooks for you. But inquiring minds want to know what kind of sweets.

  18. TRex says:

    You youngsters, always causing trouble. Happy Birfday!

  19. Cindi says:

    Happy Birthday!

  20. Happy Birthday, Linda! : ) Only you would have such a funny elevator story on your big day… your life seems to be made for blogging! 😛

  21. Happy Birthday, girl! Another 25th B-day that’s so niiice 😉

  22. C2C says:

    Happy birthday Linda! And wow, yummy jānis sounds….well yummy! I love all the homemade gifts, really very sweet. Sounds like you had a great time! Can’t wait to hear more about the guy who’s tall, dark, handsome, funny and bakes! ( and thank god I used the right persona this time!)

  23. June says:

    Happy Birthday, Linda! Hope you had a good day! That Janis of yours sounds too good to be true – tall, dark, handsome, funny, chatty and thoughtful enough to make homemade sweets? I’m with Lady of the Cakes – there’s something fishy behind it! (Go with it, though!!!)

  24. barbedwords says:

    Happy Birthday for Tuesday! 36 is definitely the new 25 😉 (not sure what that makes me…the new 30??) If you survive the slow-release poison in the sweets, I’m really looking forward to hearing more about Yummy Janis.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Still going strong so far anyway! 5 days on – must be really slow-release! He thought the post was very funny anyway so it’s good to know he doesn’t scare easily 😉

  25. Marianne says:

    Hahaha … Happy Belated Birthay, Linda 🙂

  26. bevchen says:

    Happy, happy birthday! Properly ancient you are now 😉

    In Germany, you wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate before the actual day. Apparantly it’s bad luck (as is wishing someone a happy birthday in advance!)

  27. Aussa Lorens says:

    Hey hey happy birthday! Love that you had awesome people around to shower you with fitting gifts (gosh I want a cupcake right now) but UM the elevator thing is terrifying. I watched a really long video of a guy who was trapped in one for like 24 hours or something… I’d read an article in the the New Yorker… it was in a skyscraper over a weekend. So scary. Glad you were able to lift your skirt and escape!

  28. Happy birthday – clearly celebrated with your typical aplomb of skirt lifting in lifts and fake home cooked meals, neatly rounded off with red wine! 😉

    I’m with Karen – go ‘warm’ next time and enjoy palm trees, warm gentle breeze… maybe even a little sand beneath your toes!

    Of course, if YUMMY Janis is THE Janis…. you may be cursed with many more winters!?

  29. Happy Birthday – and good luck with the Yummy Latvian!

  30. Happy belated birthday. Janis in January? Could be a lucky omen.

  31. Happy Birthday to my favorite Irish girl!

  32. But before “old age” you have to go through your desperate marathon-running phase. I’m a little new here, so forgive me if you’ve already done that one.

    Any research you want me to pass along about back ache, just ask.

  33. nancytex2013 says:

    Happy happy birthday lovely! And ooohhhh I can’t wait to see what develops with Yummy Janis. And also with Not Janis. 🙂
    Cheers Linda!

  34. I am delighted to find you alive! Must be a slow-acting poison in those sweets…

  35. Laura says:

    Many happy returns Linda! Sounds like you had a great time. Keep us posted on this Yummy Janis character! ;)xx

  36. aliciasunday says:

    Sounds great fun and much more interesting receiving home made presents…what talented and thoughtful friends you have.

  37. Judith says:

    Happy Birthday! I love the fact that you can have two birthdays in one year in Latvia; including the special name day. Perhaps we may read the recipe for lip gloss in forthcoming blogs, plus the better than body shop exfoliator. (No doubt a lot less chemicals than over the counter products western Europeans purchase).
    When I visited one of my very happy, friendly Latvians in Liepaja (just after every orchard in the forest was shaken by hand) I was delighted to drink freshly pressed apple juice, then move onto apple pie and departed with a large quantity of dried apple slices. No wonder all Latvians glow – teas from the forest, sap from trees (have you tried that?) and dried fruits. It is so much nicer to receive a gift hand made. Wonderful traditions.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi! Yes, I’ve tried the birch sap – I was pleasantly surprised! I might attempt to make the lip gloss – that would make for a more interesting post 😉

  38. Karolyn Cooper says:

    Happy Birthday! When you choose your next destination after Latvia, why not go somewhere that is warm and sunny in January? I loved celebrating my October birthday in India. Swimming outside in the daytime, sitting outside in the garden all evening – not going to happen in Belfast in October.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, it’s unlikely alright! I loved celebrating mine in Oz – that winter it didn’t get below 20 degrees – amazing! 🙂 Time will tell I guess!

  39. Happy Birthday for yesterday! I had no idea you were a fellow Jan baby. And more importantly, could this be THE Jānis you’ve been looking for..?

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