Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Twenty Three

First, I would just like to say that I was stunned and overjoyed with the incredible outpouring of birthday wishes and support I received today on my blog and on facebook and via email. I would love to give shout outs to everyone, but that would take up an entire blog post. There were many people who posted today that I didn't even know read my blog and it just feels amazing. I don't really know how to describe it. Thank you, thank you, thank you... and continue posting on my blog because I love reading all the comments!

Now, for the birthday rundown. As many of you mentioned in your posts, my birthday isn't usually known as one of the best birthdays around it's usually filled with some type of catastrophe. It's definitely no bar golf ala Kaitlyn. This birthday was one for the ages! It was amazing and I wish I could have shared it with everyone back at home.

I woke up and my internet didn't work so I was off to a bad start. Then I left my house to walk to one of my friend's houses and a group of school boys surrounded me and hurled racial slurs at me. Always fun. After these two little hiccups I had the absolute best day.

Emily and I met at our friend Kether's house (I usually call her the USAID intern) because she had an oven and my mom sent me a funfetti cake to make for my birthday. Unfortunately, Kether had never used the oven before and when we got there we realized that it didn't work. We didn't let this deter us and we let some good, old, genuine Peace Corps/ I have no resources ingenuity take over. We decided to create our own stove top oven. Now, people who know me well know that I don't really create things... I go shopping for them. And I must admit that I had little to no confidence in our combined skill, but Emily was undeterred and soldiered on... and it worked! How did we create a stove top oven you ask?

1. Take a gas tank. And by gas tank I mean gas tank that you put on a grill.
2. Attach a burner.
3. Take a huge pot and put water in it.
4. Take two disposable cake pans. Put batter in the bottom tin and use the top tin to create a seal/ box like effect.
5. Wrap towel around cake tins and place on top of big pot with water.
6. Take MASSIVE bowl and cover everything creating "oven"
7. Turn gas on as high as it will go.
8. Create cooking time out of thin air. We chose to double the cooking time.
9. Sit on kitchen floor eating rest of cake batter.
10. Laugh uproariously that this idea could possibly work.

An hour after we put our device into service we unraveled the package to find a perfect cake! This is not a joke. It was golden brown, moist, and delicious. Emily and I were literally screaming and dancing around the kitchen with our success. It was awesome.

Glowing with success and cake in tow we head off to the bar. Obviously. There we meet almost everyone in my region. All of my ladies who lunch girls and two of my good guy friends, Oliver and Thomas, from the stage ahead of us were all there... and were incredibly impressed with our cake. The Catholic bar as we call it, this is a very creative name since it's right next to a huge cathedral, was jumping with the lunch crowd and we had a great time. I hadn't seen anyone except Emily since New Years so it was really fun to catch up and see everyone. There may not have been any sharkbowls or getting denied from bars shenanigans, but a cold Gazelle always goes down smooth...

At three we made the big move from the bar... to CHICKEN DIBI!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the past week Emily and I have been going into Chicken Dibi everyday to remind them that they agreed to open 4 hours early for my birthday. We got a lot of "if God is willings," which didn't give us the greatest confidence, but Muhammad, my Chicken Dibi/ Arabic speaking friend, really pulled through. When we got there they were already cooking up delicious chicken, fries, and salad for us. We had the whole place to ourselves and put a bunch of tables together and talked until the room became deathly silent as we all attacked our plates of deliciousness. We also busted into the cake while we were there.

Thomas bought me magic sparkly candles at the market, these obviously didn't work (damn false advertising) and Katherine also got me candles so the cake was absolutely ablaze with 23 candles. Other gifts I received were equally amazing. I got a lovely toy squirt gun from Oliver, Ahmed obviously confiscated this from me as soon as I got home, a fantastic lolipop with a toy inside it from Christine, and Jackie who brought card making material all the way from the US of A made me a great birthday card. Fantastic gifts if I may say so myself.

Feeling almost sick from the ridiculous amount of food I had just consumed we all made the brilliant decision to go to another bar where I almost died from being too full as I attempted to drink another beer.

It was a truly awesome day. Everything worked out... I even got my internet back by the end of the day!

When I got home I made another cake for my Senegalese family. They laughed and laughed at me as I put together the make-shift oven, but were super impressed by the cake and really liked it. Although I doubt they could actually taste the cake under the vast amount of frosting they slathered on it!

I would just like to say THANK YOU one more time to everyone who contacted me in some way today - I was really blown away and to all of new PC friends here in Senegal who came to Thies to help me celebrate.

And please check out how we made my cake! New pictures are up.

Ps. A big shout out to my Aunt Diane's class for singing happy birthday to me on Skype.


  1. It's great that you had a wonderful birthday. I did too. Breakfast with your mom, then a manicure; movie with other friends (popcorn for lunch!!); wine delivery; and dinner out. Pretty fine!
    I LOVE your oven. Nice to know you're learning to improvise.

  2. Happy Birthday Alyssa! I hope you had a great day! I miss you tons!! I'll send a LONG email very soon. :)


  3. 23 years old...not that special, dont get to excited.
    happy birthday

  4. Alyssa so glad your day was fabulous but are you sure Matt didn't advise you on the oven construction because it sounds like a missile! Be careful for crying out loud!!!
    CJ you have to post more often Dad and I were in tears we were laughing so hard at your comment

  5. Happy Birthday Alyssa! As usual, I'm a little late, but it's for a good cause. We've just moved into our new apartment which we bought just so you and your mom will have a great place to stay when you visit NYC. You are doing an awesome thing, but I can't believe you and John are really 23! Much Love, Roz

  6. Sounds like an amazing birthday! I cannot believe that oven worked that well. I'm going to your pictures right now to verify its existence.
    Also, CJ wins Best Birthday Comment.

  7. Happy Belated Birthday

    Deb Grimm
    Beene Garter

  8. Sounds like you had a blast for your b-day...sooooo glad!!! I can't wait to check out the pictures!