I am an anticipation junky. I LOVE surprises – good ones of course. Wait, I didn’t say that right. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE surprises. I don’t know if I like receiving them as much as I do giving them – I haven’t had many good surprises to base that on, but giving surprises is SO MUCH FUN! It is the anticipation of knowing that you’re about to make someone so happy that they smile from ear to ear, cry, laugh, hug. Love it. Surprising one of my oldest, dearest friends for his birthday is still one of the coolest things I’ve done for my birthday, to date.
Thomas and I became fast friends when I was 17 and a student ambassador with the People to People Student Ambassador Program. His family liked to host PTP students. Thomas was the boy that all the other girls on the bus noticed in the parking lot as we arrived to be paired up with our families. Thomas and I were pretty shy around each other for the entire time I stayed with his family, but in a time when no one had ever heard of the internet or cell phones or email, when international calls cost about .50/minute and mail took about 2 weeks to get from Amityville to Rohrendorf, Thomas and I remained friends. The first day we IMed each other maybe 5 years ago, we had a good laugh over how cool it was to get instant replies and much easier talking had become!
And now we never talk… hmmm… might have to address that…
Thomas had the good fortune to marry Susanne, one of the kindest, most easy going Austrian women I have ever met. She has a way of seeing the world that those of us with monkey brains sometimes have to have pointed out to us. But, when she hatched the great plan for me to surprise Thomas with a visit for his birthday, which is 2 weeks after mine (and 2 weeks before hers), I was not convinced it was going to happen. Getting to Vienna isn’t cheap and I was in a job I loved (vs. a job that pays well), but travel PLUS being part of a surprise?? How could I NOT go?!
I was packed 2 weeks out, talked about it ad nauseam (I really do have some patient friends), and was DYING to tell Thomas! But the surprise was so much more worth sharing in the excitement.
To set up the surprise, Susanne called Thomas on the way home from the airport and asked him to come down and help her with groceries. I could hear him grumble through the phone, which made what was about to happen even funnier. When he arrived downstairs, there was a split second of grouchy husband before he looked up and saw me. And it was another second before he realized it WAS me. By the time he reached me for the hug, all the grumpy was gone, replaced by humble joy and two friends who have endured some shit together.
The next several days were filled with an awesome party to celebrate their birthdays – and a surprise from them to celebrate mine – spending time with their 2 children, preparing for Christmas (including a trip to Christkindmarkt!), talking into the wee hours, tasty wine, and his friends mistaking my German for someone who had been living in Vienna for a while (score!). It was SUCH a good long weekend…
This is the first of 2 Austrian birthdays that will appear in the 11 Days of Kristin’s Birthday, but definitely the better of the two. This is also one of 2 of the best birthday surprises that will be a part of this series.