Peter’s 40th Birthday~ Island Style!

While I was lucky enough to enjoy cider, cheese, huge amounts of chocolate, and American company on my birthday here in Vila, Peter’s birthday fell after we had been back on the island for several weeks. Since manples (locals) don’t generally celebrate birthdays–indeed they wouldn’t generally remember when to celebrate them–I figured it was up to me to make Peter feel celebrated as he enters his 5th decade. Luckily, I was completely wrong about that. I did a terrible job planning ahead, but our island friends and family more than made up for it!

 

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To begin, my counterpart and her mom and sister woke us up at 5am to deliver 5 BEAUTIFUL flower arrangements, made completely by their own hands out of local materials, and sing “Happy Birthday” to Peter. Anyone who knows how much of a morning person Peter is will understand how much he appreciated it right off the bat.

I forgot to get pictures in those early hours with the flowers AND the people, so I had my counterpart come back later for a snapshot. At this point Peter had been teaching for 4 hours and was slightly more awake.
I forgot to get pictures in those early hours with the flowers AND the people, so I had my counterpart come back later for a snapshot. At this point Peter had been teaching for 4 hours and was slightly more awake.
Later that evening, we headed over to our family's nakamal for dinner, where I snuck out the two cakes I had discreetly arranged for a mama to bake. She made them beautiful. Peter ate one single bite.
Later that evening, we headed over to our family’s nakamal for dinner, where I snuck out the two cakes I had discreetly arranged for a mama to bake. She made them beautiful. Peter ate one single bite…eventually.

 

What that moment looked like *with* a flash. That's Alikton on the right.
What that moment looked like *with* a flash. That’s Alikton on the right, with his mom Auntie Evelyn and our cousin Giana.

 

After being informed that Papa Joe was preparing his birthday kava, Peter sat down (as he was told) to wait. This time being the normal hour for homework and studying with the two whiteman to begin, the kids slowly start to move in.
After being informed that Papa Joe was preparing his birthday kava, Peter sat down (as he was told) to wait. This time being the normal hour for homework and studying with the two whiteman to begin, the kids slowly start to move in.

 

Getting the message, Peter assumes the position.
Getting the message, Peter assumes the position.

 

And away we go!
And away we go!

 

Eventually, I surgically extract him from the crowd of his crazed fans for his Birthday Kava.
Eventually, I surgically extract him from the crowd of his crazed fans for his Birthday Kava.

 

If this weren't so washed out, there would be a great kava face here. Oh well. That's Papa Joe on the left, and another uncle in the center.
If this weren’t so washed out, there would be a great kava face here. Oh well. That’s Papa Joe on the left, and another uncle in the center.

 

My turn! Luckily, he didn't catch my kava face either.
My turn! Luckily, he didn’t catch my kava face either.

 

And the next morning....
And the next morning….

 

Ready to get back to the primary school grind...or something. (hair credit to Auntie Yam, who attacked his mohawk with beads the night before.)
Ready to get back to the primary school grind…or something. (hair credit to Auntie Yam, who attacked his mohawk with beads the night before.)

 

The end! Or at least that’s all I captured with the camera. Hurry and enjoy before he gets into town and sees what pictures I’ve posted of him. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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